Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Jo Swinson is positioning herself as the Nigel Farage of Remain

Ever since Jo Swinson became Lib-Dem leader she's been shifting the Lib-Dem position ever further towards the extreme fringe of Remain, to the point tearing up the longstanding Lib-Dem policy of demanding another referendum and replacing it with a threat to stop Brexit without even holding a referendum.

Swinson's increasingly militant behaviour and language makes it pretty obvious that she's attempting to position herself as the Nigel Farage of Remain.

Here are ten similarities between Swinson's approach to politics and Farage's.

EU fanaticismThis first similarity is the most obvious. Swinson and Farage both promote fanatically one-sided views of the EU.

Farage's rhetoric tells us that the EU is irredeemably corrupt and corrosive to the British way of life, while Swinson's rhetoric holds the EU up as the essential and irreproachable source of all that is good and decent.

Both of these positions are extreme and over-simplistic. There's an element of truth in both, because there are dreadful problems with the EU like the undemocratic and austerity-pushing European Central Bank, and the passage of endless pieces of unashamedly pro-corporate legislation through the European Parliament, but the EU is also the source of many of our rights, liberties, and living standards (workers' rights, environmental laws, food standards, consumer protections, freedom from discrimination, and of course the right to move freely around most of the continent of Europe).

We don't live in a Star Wars universe of heroic goodies and irredeemable evil empires. We live in reality, where virtually all large organisations, including the EU, have a mixture of good and bad characteristics.

To focus exclusively on one side without acknowledging the other is profoundly dishonest, and in this regard Farage and Swinson are two cheeks of the same arse.


Besides adopting one-sided and profoundly dishonest EU militancy, both of these figures are also perfectly willing to resort to outright lies to push their agendas.

Farage has lies so many times it's impossible to compile them all here. Just think of his endless claims that the majority of British laws are made in Europe when the real figure is 13.2%, or his EU referendum lies about Turkey being on the verge of joining the EU, when in reality they've still only managed to complete a single one of the 33 chapters required for membership in 13 years!

Swinson proved her willingness to lie through her teeth on her very first day in the job as Lib-Dem leader, publicly accusing Jeremy Corbyn of taking a two week holiday during the EU referendum period.

In reality the longest break Corbyn took from an extensive campaign schedule was in the mourning period after the brutal murder of Jo Cox.

Meanwhile Swinson barely campaigned at all for Remain in 2016, making virtually no public appearances, in preference for sitting at home tweeting cat pictures!

Swinson has also been caught out telling other lies like supposedly opposing unlawful Tory employment tribunal fees when she actually voted in favour of them!

Both of these politicians have proven themselves such ideological fanatics that they'll resort to deliberate lies in order to con members of the public into supporting them.

DefectorsFarage and Swinson have both benefited from the significant publicity boost of attracting defectors from other political parties, however in this regard Swinson is clearly even worse than Farage.

When Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless defected from the Tories to UKIP in 2014, at least they put their decision to their constituents by resigning and calling parliamentary by-elections.

There's no such respect for democracy in the Lib-Dems, with Swinson welcoming six defector MPs into the Lib-Dem ranks (now making up a full third of their parliamentary party) without a single by-election being held.

It's extraordinary to think that a party with "democrats" actually in their name are demonstrably more averse to democratic accountability that the Ukipper extremists at the far-right fringe of the political spectrum!

Goalpost shifting
Another thing Farage and Swinson have in common is their disingenuous goalpost-shifting tactics.

During the EU referendum Farage repeatedly insisted that the UK could easily get a deal with the EU so that we could be like Norway, or Switzerland, but he's now shifted to No Deal militancy, and treats the basic idea of leaving with any kind of withdrawal deal or future trading arrangement as if it's treason.

Swinson on the other hand has spent the last few years loudly and repeatedly calling for an "another roll of the dice" referendum. But then suddenly at her first Lib-Dem conference as their divine leader, she's flip-flopped to the new, much more militant position of just cancelling Brexit without even seeking a public mandate to do so!

Both of these politicians have demonstrably shifted the goalposts on Brexit to more militant positions, so anyone with a grain of sense must be extremely wary that these slippery snakes will simply switch position on any of their other stated principles if they think it serves their interest to do so.

Political chameleons
In order to make excuses for lying and flip-flopping from one position to another, it's necessary to engage in reality-reversing Orwellian history revisionism, and both of these politicians are adept at changing their political colours at will.

Farage's chameleon-like behaviour is more obvious, having effortlessly switched from the purple and yellow of UKIP to the light blue of Brexit Party, but Swinson's is actually more pernicious because she adopts different colours at the same depending on who she's talking to.

One minute Swinson is justifying her new "screw democracy, just scrap Brexit" policy by saying we need to get on with reversing austerity, but then within hours she's appealing to hard-right fiscal conservatives in Tory/Lib-Dem marginals by attempting to outflank the Tories to the right with grotesque pro-austerity tropes like "magic money tree" and "tough economic choices".

Media fawningAnother similarity between Farage and Swinson is the way the mainstream media seem to fawn over the pair of them, endlessly affording them airtime to flip-flop around, and spout their deceptions, and smears, and distortions, and outright lies, almost always unchallenged.

Farage usually gets more pushback from random members of the public who call into his radio show than from the mainstream media hack pack, and Lib-Dem tribalists responding to fact-based criticism of Swinson and her disgusting voting record with torrents of abuse, whataboutery, excuses, smears, and mental health abuse just goes to show how unfamiliar they are with the idea of their divine leader actually being held to account on anything.


One of the most interesting similarities between Farage and Swinson is the way that both of them are entirely unwilling to admit that years of ruinous austerity fanaticism laid the groundwork for Brexit to happen.

Their reasons for refusing to acknowledge reality are very different, but the wilful austerity ignorance is the same.

Farage is loathe to admit that the domestic austerity policies of the Tory/Lib-Dem coalition were responsible for collapsing living standards prior to the 2016 EU referendum, because the main Brexiteer shtick during the EU referendum was to blame the consequences of austerity fanaticism (collapsed wages, huge NHS queues, unaffordable housing, failing public services, failing local services, failing social safety net) on immigrants and the EU.

Swinson is even more loathe to admit the link between austerity fanaticism and the Brexit backlash, because to admit that austerity laid the groundwork for Brexit would be to admit her own role in causing this Brexit chaos.

Not only does she consider it to be politically unwise to admit fault, she's also far too much of an egomaniac to apologise for her outrageous living standard-annihilating actions in the past.

Overseas allegiances
One of the weirdest things about the pair of them is their unmistakable loyalty to overseas political figures.

Farage is quite obviously enamoured with Donald Trump to the point where you wonder whether his obsession with forcing a calamitous No Deal Brexit meltdown actually has more to do with forcing Britain into subservience to Trump, than it has to do with Brexit purism.

Swinson on the other hand is full of adoration for Guy Verhofstadt, who was the leader of the ALDE group in the European parliament for 10 years, and is a man who personifies pretty much everything that's wrong with the EU.

Just consider the appalling speech Swinson invited him to give at her first Lib-Dem conference as party leader. Verhofstadt claimed that the reason the UK should stay in the EU is that the world is dividing up into empires, and that Britain would be safer within the European mega-empire.

Reject Brexit not because it's an ill considered and chaotically administered mess, but because it would cause Britain to miss out on the game of Liberal neo-imperialism Verhofstadt envisages for the future of mankind!

It's such a disturbing view of the world on so many levels, but Swinson adores the guy, and he even got a rousing round of applause from the Lib-Dem audience for his Liberal neo-imperialist fearmongering!

One of the starkest similarities of all between the pair is the way they resort so willingly to the divisive rhetoric of "betrayal".

Farage constantly bangs on about betrayal of the leave vote, but Swinson uses the exact same divisive rhetoric to attack Jeremy Corbyn for supposedly betraying Remainers.

Who cares that Labour is offering the referendum that the Lib-Dems spent years demanding, as far as Swinson and her ilk are concerned, attacking Corbyn is even more important than opposing Brexit, to the point that they're using the Brexiteer-style rhetoric of betrayal to attack him.

One suspects that even if Corbyn got the EU flag tattooed on his face and leapt into a volcano humming Ode to Joy, Swinson and her mob would still be screeching "betrayal" at him.

Fringe politics

Another of Swinson's attacks on Corbyn is that he supposedly exists at the fringe, or the sideline of political debate, but anyone with the slightest acquaintance with political reality can see that Farage and Swinson are the ones positioning themselves at the fringes of the Brexit debate, both screeching "fuck off" at half the voting electorate who didn't vote the way they wanted, while Corbyn is trying to position himself near the centre in order to try and clear up the mess, rather than spewing hyper-partisan rhetoric to deliberately exacerbate tensions for party political advantage.

But according to Swinson's absurd reality-reversed logic, the militant fringe intent on ignoring one half of the electorate or other, is the "centre ground" and Corbyn's attempts at compromise and deescalation are the militant fringe!


Jo Swinson continually pretends that she's positioned on the sensible centre-ground of politics, but her grotesque track record of enabling ruinous austerity fanaticism, her outright refusal to acknowledge that austerity dogma laid the groundwork for the Brexit backlash, or to apologise for it, her willingness to lie through her teeth, her increasingly militant Remain tactics, and the remarkably easy ride she's afforded by the mainstream media demonstrate that she's just as much a political extremist as Nigel Farage.

Additionally the unquestioning cult-like loyalty of the Lib-Dem tribalists to her ever-changing position, and the torrents of abuse they spew at anyone who dares question their divine and irreproachable leader suggests that she's every bit as dangerous too.

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Unknown said...

An excellent summary

John said...

Bang on as always

Jason said...

Swinson has also repeatedly smeared Corbyn as leading a party full of anti-semitism, ignoring the pleas of various Jewish progressive groups to stop doing so.

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