Sunday 18 August 2019

The Tory "work until you die" dystopia

When I was younger I spent several years working in construction and roofing. I'm not even 40 and I'm glad I'm out of the industry now. As a young man it was fine, but the toll that this kind of hard physical labour takes on your body gets bigger and bigger with age.

Today I'm imagining what it would be like to be still working as a roofer at the age of 74, because that's what Iain Duncan Smith and the Tories are plotting for the working classes.

Iain Duncan Smith and his vile hard-right CSJ think tank are planning to hike the retirement age to 75 to create a work until you die dystopia for millions of British workers, especially manual workers with physically demanding jobs.

The UK government does remarkably little research into the life expectancies of specific professions, but from what little evidence is available, they know that hiking the pension age to 75 will mean that manual and low-income workers will end up contributing entire lifetimes of National Insurance payments, in return for little or no pension at all at the end of it.

The average age of death for males in routine and semi-routine trades are 76.6 and 77.9 years, meaning just a few paltry years of pension before death, if you're lucky enough to live to average age.

And that's before you factor in that forcing people to continue working in demanding physical labour jobs until their mid-70s is obviously going to significantly increase the death rate from factors like heart attacks and accidents.

The Westminster establishment class has already proven its willingness to steal people's state pension pots already with their attack on 1950s women, in some instances confiscating six years of pension payments whilst forcing them to continue paying six years extra National Insurance as an insult on top of the initial theft.

The theft from WASPI women adds up to £40-50,000 per woman, but hardly anyone even blinked an eye when this happened, because they weren't directly affected by this pension theft.

But now that the Tories realise they can get way with brazenly stealing people's pensions, they're coming for the entire pensions of following generations, hoping to work us to death before we even get to state pension age.

And the economic reasoning behind this Tory pension theft is just as economically-illiterate as the rest of their nonsense like "let's cut our way to growth" austerity 

They treat pension payments as if they're essentially "waste", but in reality they're economically beneficial.

When pensioners receive their state pensions they don't just burn the cash in their back yards, they spend it into the economy, which creates economic demand. It doesn't just disappear, it goes straight back into circulation.

And most pensioners in their mid-sixties to mid-seventies don't just sit there idly doing nothing, they look after the grandchildren, they act as carers for spouses and other elderly relatives, they contribute to their communities, spend money on the hobbies and activities they were too busy to do when they were working ...

If the Tories insist on working this generation to death intead, then the social good that they currently provide will have to be provided in different ways.

This means young families paying rip-off child care fees because granny is too busy cleaning hotel rooms or whatever at the age of 74, and too shattered from this living nightmare to ever help out in her spare time.

This means that if one partner becomes seriously ill or disabled, the state will have to pick up the tab for a full-time carer for one pensioner so that the other can go out to work!

This means elderly people will never get the final decade or so 
before stuff like extreme frailty and dementia set in to contribute to their communities, explore their hobbies and interests, and enjoy their retirement, unless of course they're wealthy, with a bumper private pension to live off ...

And that's the real Tory agenda.

The idea of ordinary people enjoying a few years of retirement before they die fills Tories with absolute fury.

In their minds a happy retirement is a valuable commodity to be bought by the rich, not a right to be enjoyed by the majority of people.

So they're determined to work the rest of us to death, even if it doesn't even make any kind of economic sense, because to them, the money we've all paid in National Insurance doesn't belong to us, it belongs to them, to lavish on corporate fat cats, and bankers, and the mega-rich in tax cuts and handouts, so they can make even more cash to stuff into their gold-plated pensions, so they can retire early to idle lives of luxury, while the rest of us break our backs until we die to pay for them.

The Tories believe that our pensions belong to them and their kind, and they're going to work us to death to make damned well sure 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.


Monday 12 August 2019

Who is in Caroline Lucas' all-female all-white Brexit-foiling "fantasy cabinet"?

The Green Party's only MP Caroline Lucas has completely and utterly lost the plot over Brexit.

For years she was one of my absolute favourite politicians. She led the Greens when they were the only UK-wide party opposing ruinous austerity fanaticism (Labour pushed pathetic austerity-lite rubbish until this pathetic non-opposition cost them the 2015 general election and triggered the Corbyn fightback against the "centrist" policy of imitating Tory austerity fanaticism, rather than opposing it). Lucas has also consistently been on the right side of important parliamentary votes (alongside Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott, John McDonnell, and Dennis Skinner she was the only other MP with sufficient principles to vote against Theresa May's racist hostile environmentDavid Cameron's disastrous war-mongering in Libya, and Theresa May's enhanced state snooping powers, and George Osborne's welfare vandalism bill).

Over the last few months it's been bad enough watching the Greens voluntarily turning themselves into recruitment agents for the austerity enabling, privatisation scamming, welfare vandalising, workers' rights attacking, fracking tax cutting, disability persecuting, student impoverishing, electoral reform abandoning Lib-Dem warmongers, but Lucas' "fantasy cabinet" of herself and ten all-white, all-female MPs is an extraordinary blowout.

Here are details on the ten other women Lucas wants to orchestrate a "foil Brexit at any cost" coup with:

Anna Soubry: Ex-Tory Soubry talks a good game pretending to oppose Brexit, but when it came to the crunch she actually voted in favour of Theresa May's hard Brexit shambles of a Withdrawal Agreement! Soubry has also made it absolutely clear that she'd prefer a ruinous Tory-administered Brexit than stopping Brexit under a Corbyn-led Labour government. She also referred to the ruinous living standards destroying policies of the austerity coalition that laid the groundwork for Brexit as "marvellous".

Heidi Allen: Another ex-Tory. As a Tory she once cried in parliament about the devastating impact of Tory welfare vandalism to gather "compassionate Conservative" headlines, before wilfully marching through the lobby to vote in favour of even more of the welfare vandalism and devastating cuts she was crying over. She's also responsible for the stupidest and most dangerous Remainer idea yet, which is to just let No Deal go ahead, then try to magically undo it using retroactive legislation!

Jo Swinson: She isn't a Tory, but she might as well be, having been more loyal to the Tory whip during the ruinous austerity coalition than numerous Tory MPs (including recent Tory leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt!). Whatever horrible abuse and economically illiterate nonsense the Tories were pushing, Swinson wilfully voted it all through, refusing to protest by resigning as Employment Minister, even when they launched their vile and unlawful policy of protecting bad bosses by pricing low-income workers out of the justice system with £1,200 upfront Tribunal Fees. She's also bankrolled by the owner of a fracking operation and voted in favour of Cameron and Osborne's massive tax cut for onshore fracking (which makes her a very odd bedfellow for a Green MP).

Justine Greening: If you're going to stuff your "fantasy cabinet" full of ex-Tory austerity enforcers and Lib-Dem austerity enablers, you might as well include a sitting Tory MP just to hammer home the point that opposing the austerity fanaticism that caused Brexit in the first place will be an absolute non-priority. Aside from being a horrifying austerity-enforcer, Greening was also personally in charge of the mass privatisation of state schools in England. The vast majority of Brits believe that schools should be run as not-for-profit public services, but somehow Lucas wants to include a hard-right school-privatising extremist in her "fantasy cabinet".

Nicola Sturgeon: Sturgeon does occasionally let herself down with cheap partisan political point scoring (which is regrettable, but understandable given the tides of absolute filth that are spewed in her direction), but in general she's a really strong and popular leader. The main problem with the inclusion of SNP figures like Sturgeon and Kirsty Blackman is that Swinson and the Lib-Dems have outright refused to work with the SNP to stop Brexit because they actually see preventing another Scottish independence referendum as a much higher priority than stopping Brexit.

Liz Saville Roberts: Including Plaid Cymru's only female MP is an obvious choice if you're doing a stupid identity politics driven all-female "fantasy cabinet". She has been a hard-working MP since arriving in parliament in 2015, and she's on the decent side of parliamentary divisions the majority of the time. It's hard to see how an alliance between a Welsh independence MP and the ultra-unionist Lib-Dems could ever really hold up for very long though.

Sylvia Hermon: Again, there's nothing particularly wrong with the former UUP, now independent Northern Irish MP Sylvia Hermon. It's just an odd selection to pick a solitary independent MP from Northern Ireland, unless the reason is the tokenism of picking the only Brexit-sceptic MP in Northern Ireland (the DUP are hard Brexit militants and Sinn Féin refuse their Westminster seats on principle).

Emily Thornberry: Reaching out to a serving Labour Party cabinet minister to engage in a plot to sideline Labour from the anti-No Deal fightback is a bold move, but Thornberry is surely far too sensible a political operator to ditch her career by joining this ludicrous identity politics publicity stunt.

Yvette Cooper: Cooper is one of the oddest picks of all. Yes she's involved herself in opposing Brexit, but she's stopped short of calling for another referendum (unlike Labour front bench MPs like Diane Abbott, who has repeatedly made the case for a final say referendum on Brexit).
  • The inclusion of a load of pro-austerity, pro-privatisation, pro-fracking, Heathrow expansion-supporting, solar subsidy slashing MPs in Lucas' "fantasy cabinet" just goes to show how wildly she's lost her way. She won so much admiration for her principled stances on austerity, welfare, privatisation, and the environment, and now she's bulldozing the lot into a fire pit in order to cavort with hard-right austerity enablers and fracking advocates!
  • The idea of gender exclusion is absolutely terrible too. Anyone who is genuinely opposed to Brexit must understand that a ludicrous identity politics dick-counting exercise is a pointless distraction. Anyone who thinks an unprincipled loudmouth like Anna Soubry is more of an asset to the Brexit fightback than Dominic Grieve or Keir Starmer, simply because she's female, is absolutely out of their god-damned tree.
  • An all-white cabinet which includes several Brexit enablers, whilst excluding significantly more anti-Brexit BAME women like Diane Abbott, Dawn Butler, Marsha de Cordova, and Rupa Huq is extraordinary. And their exclusion makes no sense either. Lucas reached out to Thornberry who is in Corbyn's shadow cabinet, so she could have reached out to Abbott and Butler too, and she reached out to Cooper who is a Labour back bencher, meaning there must be some other reason she decided not to involve BAME Labour backbenchers like Huq and de Cordova.
  • One of the most worrying things is that nobody in the Green Party seems able or willing to take her to one side and ask her to stop this increasingly erratic and damaging behaviour. There's absolutely no way that this all-female all-white "fantasy cabinet" idea including a load of austerity-enablers, privatisation fanatics, and environmental vandals was approved at Green Party conference, so she's not only making a fool of herself, she's also making a mockery of the Green Party's claim to be the most democratic and accountable party in UK politics.
  • The whole thing seems to be a desperate last-ditch effort to exclude Corbyn and the Labour-left from the process, even though it's absolutely obvious that the support of the Labour-left would be absolutely vital if Lucas ever gets the "another roll of the dice" referendum she's expended so much energy on demanding (whilst ignoring the role austerity fanaticism played in causing Brexit in the first place).
  • And last but not least the whole idea of a "foil Brexit at any cost" cross-bench coup is absolutely terrible anyway. If you wanted to think of the ideal way of empowering Boris Johnson to seize the moral high ground and romp to a general election victory, an unelected Westminster establishment clique overturning Brexit without even a General Election or Referendum result to give them a mandate would be pretty much exactly what the Brextremists would be wishing for!
Caroline Lucas is far from the only person to have been driven to absolute insanity by Brexit, but seeing a strong and principled woman I really admired degenerate to the point of proposing ludicrous unworkable nonsense that burns all of her preexisting principles to ashes is definitely the saddest case of Brexit Brain Worms yet.

 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 11 August 2019

Remainers have come up with their stupidest idea yet

Just a few days ago I warned that it was only a matter of time before Remainers came up with an even stupider idea than cobbling together some kind of unelected "foil Brexit at any cost" coalition led by some Remain-fixated backbencher that virtually nobody has heard of, and allowing Boris sodding Johnson to colonise the moral high ground.

Within days my prediction has come true. They've done it again!

Painting yourselves as the avowed anti-democrats intent on foiling Brexit by any means and allowing Johnson to stroll onto the moral high ground would be extraordinary strategic ineptitude, but ex-Tory constituency squatter MP Heidi Allen has come up with an even stupider strategy: Let Boris Johnson and the Brextremists crash the UK out of the EU in a ruinous No Deal Brexit meltdown, then simply undo the damage later using retroactive legislation!

As an ex-Tory you can see why she thinks this is a solution, after all, she repeatedly voted in favour of using retroactive legislation to cover up their own criminality, from retroactive legislation to magically make Iain Duncan Smith's unlawful forced unpaid labour schemes lawful, to the emergency retroactive legalisation they used to retrospectively legalise the UK state's unlawful snooping on its own citizens.

The problem of course is that the idea of retroactively reversing No Deal is dangerously legally-illiterate gibberish.

If Remainers simply allow Boris Johnson and the Brextremists to conduct a 'No Deal by default' meltdown, the UK will have legally left the EU, and put itself in an extraordinarily weak negotiating position.

Even if the UK parliament does cobble together some absurd retroactive legislation aimed at retracting our departure as if it never happened, it quite obviously wouldn't bind the EU into letting us back into their club under the previously favourable conditions.

Even if retroactively pretending that we didn't actually leave wasn't wishing for unicorns from a legal perspective, why on earth would the EU just let us back in when we'd have put ourselves in the unprecedentedly weak position of having no trade deal with them, and no trade deals with anyone else either?

If we wanted to get back in, we'd be in the position of pathetically begging them, and they'd be under no obligation whatever to give us back the extremely favourable deal we'd just thrown away.

And ludicrous retroactive efforts to force them to give us back what we just threw away would serve as a further national humiliation as the rest of Europe laughed away our impotent legally-illiterate efforts to bully them from our self-imposed position of weakness.

Even if it wasn’t legally-illiterate gibberish, the idea that No Deal could simply be undone is as delusional as the idea that the damage from austerity fanaticism could just be undone by stopping the cuts. 

The shattered businesses, and lost jobs, wasted £billions, and millions of hours mitigating the chaos under a No Deal meltdown wouldn’t just magically grow back, just like the 130,000 dead from austerity cuts to the NHS and social care won’t magically rise from the grave.

This idea of retroactively cancelling No Deal is utterly absurd from a legal and practical perspective, but it's also incredibly dangerous.

It's dangerous because it creates the impression among Remainers that a No Deal Brexit meltdown can just be undone using a bit of legislative trickery.
'Just legislate that our decision to leave didn't actually happen and the whole thing just goes away!'

'No Deal Brexit isn't really a threat because we can magic it away in the future!'
'Let's just let Boris Johnson and the Brextremists push the UK economy over a No Deal cliff edge, then we can retroactively fix all the damage later!'

These are staggeringly dangerous, complacency-breeding, lines of thought.

If you're gullible enough to take centrists like Lib-Dems and CUK squatters at their word that stopping No Deal is their main priority, then letting No Deal happen based on the absolute fantasy that it can supposedly be reversed later via legislative trickery seems like utter nonsense.

But it's actually fairly easy to see what this utterly lamentable gibberish is motivated by.

Pro-austerity, privatisation scamming, welfare-vandalising, disability-persecuting, Corporate Tax cutting, public service trashing, workers' rights attacking, orthodox neoliberal centrists fear the idea of Jeremy Corbyn derailing their gravy train even more than they fear a No Deal Brexit (which will mainly hammer the poor and ordinary, not the Westminster establishment club and the other gilded classes).

In order to justify their outright refusal to work with Corbyn and the Labour left to stop a ruinous Tory-administered No Deal meltdown, they're selling themselves the ridiculous idea that No Deal is actually 'not that big a problem at all', with the impossible and legally-illiterate fantasy that it can be easily reversed with retroactive legislation after it's been done.

So next time you see any Remainer deceitfully accusing Corbyn and the Labour left of "enabling Tory Brexit" or "secretly wanting a No Deal meltdown" (despite all of their votes against it in parliament, and all their condemnations of the Tory No Deal threats), just remind them of Heidi Allen's ludicrous plan to simply allow Tory No Deal Brexit to happen based on the nonsense fantasy that it can be magically reversed at some point in the future with retroactive 'let's pretend it didn't happen' legislation.

Ask them to explain the sense in this absolute nonsense, and why she’s an irreproachable hero to Centrist Remainers despite wanting to allow Tory No Deal, while Corbyn and the Labour left-are hate figures to Centrist Remainers despite repeatedly attempting to actually block Tory No Deal chaos.

 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 8 August 2019

13 reasons you'd have to be absolutely cracked to believe the Tories are "the party of law and order"

The Tories absolutely love to pose as "the party of law and order" so in this article I'm going to detail the policies they've pursued in relation to policing and the justice system since 2010 (much of it wilfully enabled by their Lib-Dem chums).

21,000+ police jobs axed: 

You'd have to have been living under a rock for the last decade not to have heard about the Tories austerity cuts to the police force, not just slashing all those jobs, but shutting down 600 police stations, and absolutely gutting police budgets too.

The resulting violent crime wave and surge in gang culture was widely predicted as they were making these cuts, but Theresa May and the Tories dismissed all the experts' warnings about their police cuts agenda as "crying wolf" and "scare-mongering".

Privatised front line policing:

If you ask the British public about privatisation of public services, the things they're most vehemently opposed to are privatisation of the NHS, schools, military, and police.

Just 4% of people who expressed an opinion thought that privatisation of the police sounds like a good idea.

This public revulsion at the idea didn't stop the Tories and their Lib-Dem sidekicks privatising a bunch of front line police services (and other massive swathes of the criminal justice system) during the austerity coalition.

This police privatisation frenzy included a £200 million deal for G4S to take over Lincolnshire police (G4S are the useless tossers who screwed up the 2012 Olympic security preparations and had to be bailed out at the public expense by drafting in off duty army and police officers to clear up their mess - more on them later).

Forensic Science Service privatisation:

During the austerity coalition the Tories and Lib-Dems decided to take the extraordinary step of privatising police forensic science services, meaning crucial stuff like the processing of crime scene samples and DNA evidence was handed over to a bunch of profiteering private corporations.

The result was ridiculously predictable: Chaos, delays, mix-ups, and deliberately tampered evidence.

One private forensics lab in Manchester was caught manipulating forensic results, which meant 10,000 cases, including rape and murder cases, had to be reinvestigated. Nobody has gone to jail over this outrageous scandal.

Nobody charged in 91% of crimes: 

It beggars belief when the Tories do their "tough on crime" posturing to whip up their right-wing authoritarian base.

Their unprecedented police cuts since 2010 mean there are fewer police per head of population than at any time since the 1970s, with an ever growing percentage of crimes involving complex and time consuming IT investigations.

Is it any wonder that such a vast percentage of crimes go entirely unpunished these days?

How on earth is it possible to pretend to be "tough on crime" when you're letting more criminals get away with it than ever?

Dodgy facial recognition:

The Tories have been extremely keen to burn mountains of cash on unproven facial recognition technology instead of actively tackling the staggering backlog of uncharged crimes they've created.

These trials have resulted in farcical levels of inaccuracy of up to 98% of people being identified as the wrong person.

They have however built up a facial recognition database of an estimated 16-19 million people, many of whom have never been charged with a crime in their lives, despite a high court ruling that the police have no right to retain such images. 

Who cares about ensuring the police comply with the law eh?

The tagging fraud:

In 2013 two private outsourcing contractors (Serco and G4S) were caught running two of the biggest frauds against the British public finances ever recorded. The fraud involved submitting thousands of fake invoices for the monitoring the electronic tags of offenders, many of whom were made up, living abroad, or even dead!

All these companies had to do was pay back what they stole (£89 million stolen by Serco, and £109 million stolen by G4S) and nobody ever went to jail for it.

In fact, within a few years the Tories brought G4S back in to run another £25 million electronic tagging contract, so as long as you're stealing out of the public purse, the Tories are keen to ensure that crime does pay!

Privatised prisons:

Most of the Tory prison privatisation agenda went on below the radar during the Tory/Lib-Dem austerity coalition. The media only really started to notice when shocking mismanagement and extraordinary staff shortages in privatised prisons like HMP Birmingham led to massive prison riots.

Surprise, surprise, the private operators that reduced HMP Birmingham to such absolute chaos they had their contract to run it rescinded were our old friends G4S.

Legal Aid cuts:

One of the most devastating Tory/Lib-Dem "reforms" to the criminal justice system was their devastation of the Legal Aid budget, which has caused all kinds of problems by denying legal representation to those unable to afford it.

Legal Aid was originally introduced in order to level the scales ever so slightly by helping those who couldn't afford legal representation. The system was still massively stacked in favour of those who could afford to hire teams of expensive lawyers, but at least the poor had any legal representation at all.

The Tories couldn't abide this so they absolutely vandalised the Legal Aid system, leaving huge numbers of people without legal representation from family courts, through victims of crimes, to appeals tribunals against obscene "fit for work" judgements and ridiculously unjustifiable welfare sanctions.

Instead people are left to represent themselves, resulting in huge amounts of wasted court time because they don't even understand the absolute basics of legal proceedings.

It's impossible to explain the absolute horror and injustice of these Legal Aid cuts in just a few paragraphs. Here are some more links for further reading (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Unlawful tribunal fees:

In 2013 the Tory/Lib-Dem coalition introduced upfront £1,200 Tribunal Fees designed to price low income workers out of the justice system and prevent them from seeking compensation from bad bosses who had abused and/or exploited them.

In 2017 these fees were declared unlawful by the Supreme Court because of the unfair barrier to justice they so obviously represented. This ruling necessitated the reimbursement of everyone who had paid these "barrier to justice" fees, but nothing could be done to reimburse those who were priced out of the justice system between 2013 and 2017. They just had to swallow the fact that they'd been unlawfully denied the right to seek compensation from their bad bosses by a party that loves to style itself as "the party of law and order"!

Privatised Probation Service:

Perhaps the most devastating Tory reform to the justice system of all was their unbelievably dangerous and shambolic privatisation of the Probation Service.

Somehow the Tories and their Lib-Dem sidekicks decided that it would be a fabulous idea to carve the probation system open for privatisation, leaving only the most serious (and costly) cases in public hands.

police, crime experts, and legal professionals all warned that handing probation services over to a bunch of corporate regional monopolies would represent a danger to the public, but the Tories and Lib-Dems did it anyway, because ideology apparently trumps evidence.

Then lo and behold, the probation system collapsed into chaos, mass resignations of experienced staff, soaring recidivism rates, virtually unsupervised offenders, unacceptable risks with public moneyand clearing up the mess ended up costing a whopping £500 million.

Abolition of choice:

One of the most extraordinary assaults on the criminal justice system during the Tory/Lib-Dem coalition was the move to scrap the right for criminal defendants to choose their own solicitor, instead being assigned one from a government approved list of mega-contractors including the usual suspects like Serco, G4S, and Capita as well as Eddie Stobart (yes the haulage firm).

This new policy would have driven hundreds of small and specialist legal firms out of business by preventing potential clients from choosing a local or specialist firm, because they've been automatically assigned representation by one of the corporate giants who bid for the regional monopoly in their area.

Thankfully this ludicrous nonsense was eventually scrapped, but the fact that it was even proposed is horrifying. There are enough ludicrous financial conflicts of interest with private companies running front line policing, forensic science, private prisons, the probation system, and electronic tagging, without them providing legal services to the people they'd profit from in their private jails if they were found guilty!

The prison book ban:

If we look back at the four previous justice system disasters, one man's fingerprints are all over every single one of them; the spectacularly incompetent Chris Grayling.

Another one of Grayling's brainwaves was the policy of banning books in prisons.

Anyone with the faintest appreciation of the fact that prisons need to rehabilitate as well as punish, must see that banning books is the kind of venal authoritarian nonsense of dictatorships, and that book bans are obviously an impediment to rehabilitation.

Like Grayling's shambolic effort to abolish legal aid choice, and his spectacularly failed probation system privatisation, and his unlawful tribunal fees, his ridiculous book ban was eventually scrapped too, after it was ruled unlawful.

The fact that the Tories allowed a serial incompetent like Chris Grayling anywhere near the justice system is proof of their utter contempt for "law and order".

The hiring 20,000 police deception:

Even when the Tories claim to be helping the police by hiring "another 20,000 police starting right now", it's an absurd deception.

The natural attrition rate of police retiring, changing careers, or quitting in exasperation at the under-funded chaos they're working in, means that the UK will need around an additional 20,000 police officers over the next three years just to keep the numbers where they are.

The Tories have dressed this police hiring process up as some kind of marvellous recruitment drive, but in reality they're doing little more than the bare minimum to prevent police numbers collapsing even further.

Even if nobody retired from the police for the next three years, where would all the extra police be placed given the fact the Tories have closed down over 600 police stations since 2010, and how would their operations be funded given that the current force is reduced to the absolute bare bones after nine years of ruinous Tory austerity cuts?

The problem of course is that there are an awful lot of dangerously under-informed dupes out there who still, despite all of the vandalism detailed in this article, imagine the Tories to be "the party of law and order", and willingly believe their ridiculous false promises to restore the police services they've just spent the last nine years deliberately wrecking.

Maybe reading this article would cure them of their delusion, or maybe they'd simply refuse to read it because they don't want their political preconceptions challenged in any way.

All we can do is try, and hope that they're not so far gone that they outright refuse to engage with information that clashes with their Tory tribalist worldview.

 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 6 August 2019

Another Tory antisemite to be widely ignored

One of the weirdest things about the politically motivated antisemitism witch hunt is the fact that so many of the self-appointed witch hunters are brazen antisemites themselves.

From accusations that left-wing and peace activist Jews are "self-hating Jews" (an ancient anti-Semitic trope) or "kapos", to the really obvious antisemitism of speaking about 'the Jewish Community' as if it's some kind of right-wing pro-Israeli, socialism-hating hive mind, rather than hundreds of thousands of individual people with incredibly diverse political views, and outright attacks on the Orthodox Jewish people, it turns out that a lot of antisemitism witch hunters are repeatedly proving themselves to be more antisemitic than a lot of the people they're accusing.

Sol Wielkopolski is the Tory councillor for Newbarns and Parkside in Barrow, and he's stumbled stupidly into the antisemitism debate with an egregious display of antisemitism.

He's found a video featuring Jeremy Corbyn explaining that millionaire Tories and their mega-rich backers won't suffer the terrible consequences of rising food prices in a No Deal Brexit scenario (see below) and disingenuously reinterpreted it as "inciting hatred of the wealthy".

If he'd stopped there it would have been bad enough, given that it's just a fact of life that the wealthy are more financially insulated from the dire consequences of economic hard times than the poor and ordinary, but he decided to go a step further by linking this ludicrous accusation that Corbyn "incited hatred of the wealthy" into the antisemitism witch hunt, by claiming it's "consistent with his hatred of Jews".

Anyone who knows anything about Corbyn knows that the accusation that he hates Jews is a ludicrous smear.

Why would a man who "hates Jews" ever have campaigned to save a Jewish cemetery in Islington in the 1980s, or called on the government to accept Jewish refugees from Yemen in the 2000s, or signed dozens of parliamentary motions standing with Jews and condemning antisemitism, or organised resistance to the National Front when they tried to hold a neo-Nazi march in the Jewish neighbourhood of Wood Green in the 1970s.

But then Wielkopolski's effort to link Corbyn's justified criticism of the mega-rich Brextremists with supposed antisemitism is antisemitic itself because it invokes the age-old antisemitic trope of wealthy Jews controlling the world.

According to this utterly ridiculous argument, if anyone ever criticises the mega-rich beneficiaries of the capitalist system, they're supposedly being antisemitic because the mega-rich beneficiaries of capitalism are 'nasty Jews'.

The only person being antisemitic is Wielkopolski, but he's too damned stupid to even understand that he's invoked an antisemitic trope for no other reason than to smear a political rival.

The Tory party won't investigate or suspend him for invoking antisemitic tropes.

Why would they?

They sided with every extreme-right and neo-Nazi party in the European Parliament last year to stand in solidarity with Victor Orbán's antisemitic regime in Hungary last year and got a free pass on it, so why would they give a damn about one of their councillors lazily spreading antisemitic tropes?

And the mainstream media certainly won't give a damn, because "what if the antisemitism witch hunters are more antisemitic than the people they're accusing of antisemitism?" runs entirely contrary to the mainstream media groupthink that antisemitism is the Achilles Heel that will finally bring down Jeremy Corbyn, reverse Labour's return to democratic socialism, and restore the neoliberal orthodoxy that mainstream media journalists have benefited so handsomely from over the years.

Admittedly Wielkopolski is hardly a senior figure within the Tory party, and he's obviously too damned stupid to even realise that he's plucked an antisemitic trope out of nowhere to use it as a political smear, but he'll get away with it because that's just how things work.

If the antisemitism isn't useful for the primary purpose of attacking Corbyn and socialism, then it's widely considered to be irrelevant.

Which just goes to show how debased the whole thing has become.

Any genuine anti-racist should condemn racism because it's racism, not selectively call it out only when it's conducive to a partisan political agenda, like undermining Labour's return to its founding democratic socialist principles.

And the fact that witch hunters like Wielkopolski are invoking antisemitic tropes themselves in order to smear others as antisemites, with absolutely no fear of repercussions, is downright Kafkaeaque.

 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 5 August 2019

Sajid Javid is totally unfit to be Chancellor of the Exchequer

Boris Johnson's cabinet is full of extraordinarily inappropriate people like Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Gavin Williamson, and Liz Truss, but perhaps the most egregious appointment of all is Sajid Javid as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Before his move into politics Javid was a banker at Deutsche Bank, where he sold complex financial derivatives called Collateralised Debt Obligations (CDOs).

In order to have any coherent understanding of what caused the 2008-09 global financial sector insolvency crisis, you need to know what CDOs are, otherwise you could end up believing any old economically illiterate shit (like "Labour bankrupted Britain" for example).

CDOs were economic alchemy schemes designed to turn toxic bad debts into fake gold-plated investments.

The way they worked was to collect together thousands of bad mortgages (the kind of mortgages people are highly likely to default on if there's any kind of economic downturn) then grade them into bands from worst to least bad.

The lower ranked bad mortgages remained risky investments, but the top tranche of "least bad" sub-prime mortgages were packaged up together and sent to the Credit Ratings Agencies to be classified as AAA rated investment grade financial products, meaning that major banks, insurance funds, national and local governments, and pension funds bought them up in their £billions believing them to be safe investments rather than carefully repackaged junk.

The whole thing defied economic logic: High return investments are riskier, low return investments are safer.

But Sajid Javid and the other financial sector alchemists selling these toxic products convinced their customers that they'd managed to rewrite the basic laws of investment to create these high return + supposedly low risk investments.

But while they were singing their praises to their customers, loads of CDO merchants were secretly referring to them in the most derogatory of terms, like "shit breather" and "piece of shit" in private chats, because they knew they were junk investments that were bound to implode sooner or later.

Furthermore, several of the banks selling these ticking time bomb CDO "investments" were secretly buying up £billions worth of financial insurance on the products they'd just sold, looking for huge payouts when the junk products they were selling finally exploded (this special insurance is called CDS and you can find out more in this article).

So given that it was an open secret amongst CDO merchants that they were selling toxic junk that's bound to fail, and that several of the banks selling this stuff were opportunistically speculating on the inevitable failure of the junk products that they were selling to unsuspecting customers, what was Sajid Javid playing at?

There are only two explanations, neither of them good.

If we're charitable to Javid, then we could argue that he was a clueless dupe, naively selling a load of toxic junk in good faith simply because he was too stupid to investigate the products he was actually selling, and so poorly connected within the CDO industry that he was unaware of the open secret amongst his peers that the products he was selling as safe investments were actually bound-to-fail financial Weapons of Mass Destruction.

So what on earth is Boris Johnson doing promoting a clueless idiot like this to the most important economic job in British politics just a decade later?

The other explanation is, of course, much worse. If Javid was smart enough to realise that the CDOs he was selling were bound-to-fail junk, and he was in on the open secret within the trade that they were certain to implode one day, yet he carried on selling them as safe investments to oblivious customers like other banks, pension funds, local and national governments, and insurance funds as low-risk investment opportunities, then he's a cynical and duplicitous fraudster.

If he didn't know, he was an idiot and certainly shouldn't be running the UK economy, but if he did know, then he's a fraudster and should probably be in jail for wilfully selling toxic junk to unsuspecting customers, rather than running the UK economy.

It's absolutely extraordinary that Boris Johnson and the Tories have promoted one of the shady derivatives traders who caused the economic crisis to the top economic job in British politics, and whichever way you look at it, his damning history clearly indicates his unfitness to hold such a crucial role.

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