Monday, 18 May 2020

The gammons are incredibly easy to please aren't they?

Tory tax-dodger Michael Ashcroft has gone viral on Twitter posting a quite frankly deranged diatribe combining World War Two nostalgia and hard-right tabloid talking points.

The gammons absolutely lapped it up because WWII fetishism, spewing hate at minorities, and blasting anyone who dares criticise their beloved Tory lords and masters combines three of their absolute favourite things.

In this article I'm going to run through the whole thing, highlighting what a load of historically illiterate and quite frankly bigoted cobblers it is.

Firstly it's always important to establish what the source is. In this case it's the Tory tax-dodger Michael Ashcroft who is safely hiding away from the coronavirus crisis in the tax haven of Belize.

This is a guy who conned his way into the unelected House of Lords with commitments that he would end his non-dom tax status and begin actually paying his fair share of taxes in the UK, which he clearly never did.

Just look at his smug Tory face and ask yourself why the gammons love a Britain-hating tax-dodger like this so much.

Perhaps it's because somewhere deep beneath their faux patriotism, they also hate Britain too?

And why is it that the people who fetishise WWII the most egregiously always seem to be the baby boomers who weren't even alive when it happened?
The "Your Country Needs You" slogan was the most famous poster campaign from the First World War, so top marks to Ashcroft for getting his wars jumbled up whilst pretending to be a lover of British history and a patriot.

Probably the most famous Second World War slogan was "Careless talk Costs Lives", which was nice and clear. But imagine if the government had decided to replace this clear and intelligible statement with garbled gibberish like "Stay Alert By Washing Your Hands", which sounds more like the kind of thing a stroke victim would say before collapsing, than a government information campaign.

There would definitely have been complaints.

The thing with this coronavirus/Blitz analogy is that it completely falls to bits when you look at the contrasting government responses.

Back in 1940 the government threw everything it had at defending Britain from the Blitz during the Battle of Britain.

At the beginning of the coronavirus crisis Boris Johnson deluded himself into believing the world would celebrate him as the "Superman of Capitalism" for deliberately allowing the virus to spread, and then he told a confused looking Phillip Scholfield about how he was being advised to let the virus "move through the population".

It's easy to imagine that the British people would have asked questions like "why aren't you doing enough to prevent these air raids?" if the government policy of the day had been to allow the Nazi bombers to move freely through our skies!

In reality the air raid sirens didn't actually apply to everyone.

It was the job of people like Air Raid Wardens, anti-aircraft gunners, police, the fire service, the ambulance service ... to stay above ground and deal with the consequences, while the general public were expected to make their way to air raid shelters.

A similar situation exists now, with NHS and care home workers, the emergency services, retail staff, delivery drivers, bus drivers, utilities engineers and many others expected to work through the crisis.

You'd have to be dangerously mindless and politically illiterate not to have questioned who is affected by the lockdown measures and who isn't, or come to your own conclusions about who the essential workers in our economy really are.
A transparent dig at transgender people to rile up the gammon.

Why is it that the hysterical anti-trans droolers are so utterly obsessed with toilet facilities, to the extent of demanding that trans-women expose themselves to danger by using the male facilities?

And a comparison with the social norms of the 1930s and '40s shows us that all LGBTQ+ people were
subjected to horrific systematic discrimination, imprisoned, sent to mental institutions, and even tortured with barbarism like chemical castration.

Are we really going to accept this maudlin nostalgia for the good old days when queer folk were routinely persecuted by the state?
And now a dig at vegans.

This WWII/Coronavirus analogy has just descended into simple-minded minority bashing hasn't it?

But if we try to actually consider the analogy, the reality is that even eight decades ago, and fighting a desperate war for survival, the British government managed to provide the public with portable gas masks.

The current Tory government failed so badly at providing sufficient ventilators that they ended up sending Covid-19 infected patients back to die in care homes so that their deaths wouldn't be recorded in the daily death stats.

Another dig at vegans!

First: Vegan milk is a good thing. If you haven't tried almond milk before, give it a go. I'm not vegan, but I actually prefer it to ordinary milk these days.

Second: If the UK government could have got away with replacing the milk in some people's rations with manufactured ersatz milk, they would have been absolutely delighted. If some 10% of the population wanted milk alternatives instead of milk, that would have meant less demand on farmers, and more dairy produce to share between the rest. A win-win for everyone, and a boost for the war effort too.

But let's all hate vegans eh? 
 Bloody hell!

He's finished with the LGBTQ+ community and the vegans, so now he's going after 'the blacks'!
He's clearly having a dig at skin tone plasters here, as if they're some kind of assault on decency and common sense.

A white person's reaction to skin-tone plasters tells you all you need to know about their attitudes.

Some will say "oh, that's cool", and easily grasp the fact that it's a good thing that non-white parents will now have the option of using plasters that don't imply that their kids' skin is the wrong colour, and wonder why this simple innovation didn't happen a lot sooner.

Others will adopt a culture war attitude and treat the concept of choice in plaster colours as if it's some kind of barbaric assault on Western Christian culture, even though they'll endlessly point to extravagant (to the point of being confusing) levels of choice elsewhere in the economy as evidence that their beloved capitalism is a good thing!
The fact is that the UK government spent the pre-war years rapidly building up stockpiles of weapons and ammunition because they saw the threat of Nazi expansionism coming.

In contrast the Tory government were repeatedly warned that stockpiles of medical equipment and protective gear were shockingly inadequate in the case of a viral respiratory disease, but they ignored the warnings, because ensuring adequate supplies for an emergency contrasted with their crackpot "let's cut our way to prosperity" austerity agenda.

Yet another astoundingly weak analogy that actually ends up making his beloved Tories look worse, if you know anything about the subject at all, which he apparently doesn't.

The gammons absolutely love this kind of ignorant, history-rewriting, minority-bashing, pro-government drivel don't they?


Digging beneath the inaccuracies, the brazenly inaccurate historical revisionism, and the multiple examples of minority-bashing, the core messages here are don't dare to be different, and don't criticise your government, no matter how badly they screw up.

But this also falls down spectacularly when we remember that widespread public dissatisfaction led to the departure of Britain's first war leader Neville Chamberlain, and his replacement with Winston Churchill.

If Britain was the kind of intolerant, fanatically right-wing, history-rewriting, dissent-crushing, minority-persecuting, leader-worshipping, autocracy that Ashcroft and the gammons so desperately want it to be today, Churchill would never have become Prime Minister, we would probably have lost the Second World War (or negotiated peace with the Nazis), and we'd have been just about as bad as the Nazis were anyway.

Aside from the fact it's almost always baby boomers doing the most egregious WWII fetishism, it also often tends to be people who have far more in common with the ideology of the Nazis than with the Allies doesn't it?

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Anonymous said...

It's never gonna end, is it? I remember somebody saying the essence of the universe is fundamentally evil. I thought it sounded a bit doom and gloom, but it stuck with me. Now I know why. There's a lot of good in this world, but it's all for nothing when there's so much stupidity and evil. As a species, we're fucked. And we deserve it.

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Anonymous said...

The right wing like to evoke war metaphors.

In the case where individuals are manipulated into protesting to re-open big businesses on a grand scale by Murdoch (et al.) media at the behest of stock market losses ...because freedom.

In one way there are similarities. In a Blitz situation, they would be the village idiot running down a built up street with a lantern during a black out. While they are temporarily free, they will end up getting everyone else killed too.

Gulliver Foyle said...

If Ashcroft really wants to reference WW2 as some sort of allegory of the current Tory shambles, he could have cited the “Keep Calm and Carry On” campaign of 1939, conceived as a way of bolstering morale ahead of expected heavy bombings. Despite posters printed in the millions it was effectively scrapped before it was commissioned and hardly anyone saw them (almost all the posters were pulped to reclaim the paper although, like the PPE stockpiles, they would have just rotted away otherwise) . Those that did see them called them insulting and divisive (a bit like Ashcroft himself).

What seems obvious now is, in the context of WW2 “Keep Calm and Carry On” is on the same level as the “Stay Alert, Control the Virus" messaging is today. Ambiguous to say the least and a far cry from the sort of cut through communications that were prevalent during WW2 (as our blogger describes).

Somewhat ironically “Keep Calm and Carry On” has been re-born in modern times and is often used by the right as some sort of “stiff upper lip” cry to rile up the left, oblivious to its true origins and abject failure.

And if Ashcroft thinks the country was uncritically united behind government policy during WW2 he might also look at the “Norway debate” of 1940 which lead to the resignation of Chamberlain and Churchill forming the cross party coalition government that lasted until the end of the war and included, as de-facto deputy Prime Minister, one Clement Atlee who, as a recognized administrative genius, effectively ran the civilian economy and laid the foundations for his eventual electoral victory in 1945 and the creation of the welfare state, that Ashcroft and his mates have been busily dismantling for the last 40 odd years.

unbelievabletekkers said...

There's more than enough big cocks in politics mate.

Anonymous said...

Gulliver Foyle 13.08

I think you are over analysing. I think Ashcroft's piece reflected the views of the majority of the general public in taking the pee out of "journalists". I think the public want journalists to report the news ... rather than trying to do the opposition's job of holding the government to account all of the time by pursuing "gotcha" type questioning.

I know your personal politics wont allow you to accept it, but most of my friends, of all political persuassions, generally believe the government are doing a decent job in very difficult circumstances. No one (accept you and a few other numpties on here) believes that the likes of Corbyn could or would have coped done better. Could they have done better? Probably. Did they try to do the "right thing" at the right time with the information to hand. Yes.

As you keep finding to your amazement (whether its GEs, Referendums, negotiations with the EU, etc) your views are very "fringe" and usually way out of step with the general mood in the country.

There's nothing wrong with that of course, it just means that we should read your comments on that basis.

I love that you do the "people are too stupid to understand the Stay Alert" messaging. It demonstrates your contempt for us plebs whilst allowing you to continue to maintain your "liberal elite" credentials.

As you go about your life this week, what is it that you are confused about? What is it that you are not sure you should or shouldn't do? Maybe I can help you?

Gulliver Foyle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gulliver Foyle said...

Do you know what I find astonishing? we have the highest death rate in Europe, the second highest in the world. Our per capita death rate is fourth highest (but doesn’t include care home data). Far from throwing a “protective ring” around the most vulnerable we’ve sent infected people back into care homes to die and infect others. Despite promises before the start of this pandemic (which we had a 2 week head start on over many other European countries) that we were “well prepared”, we discover that warehouses full of PPE were out of date and useless, that opportunities to bulk buy PPE equipment and ventilators were spurned (after lying that we knew nothing about such opportunities) and that we’ve built field hospitals that we knew we didn’t have the staff to make them useable (after years of running the NHS at capacity to save a few bob). We then learn that, in order to “massage up” the quantity of PPE we have we have to count each individual glove and each wipe in a box of 100. But no, these are just honest mistakes aren’t they. Evidently all this is “doing the right thing at the right time”.

And as soon as the leader of the opposition starts to ask a few probing questions of our worse than useless prime minister (who had to lie again to get himself out of the immediate hole he was in), and starts to change the opinion polls in his favour, our abysmal legacy print media publishes a hatchet job on him full of outright lies and inuendo to deflect attention away from their own lazy and incompetent man. I mean, people get their news, and have their opinions formed, from a multitude of sources but when one of the major sources is a right wing press whose sole purpose seems to be to prop up one particular political party and deflect any bad press away, it’s not really a surprise when said political party gets favourable polling is it?

But apparently to criticise this absolute shower of malicious ineptitude makes someone part of the “liberal elite” as if declaring someone you nothing about as being part of a mythical “liberal elite” somehow invalidates their criticism.

I’m off now to stay alert spotting a deadly, highly contagious yet invisible virus’s.

Anonymous said...

Gulliver Foyle

.... I note that you didn't need my help in letting you know what you should or shouldn't be doing under the latest guidlines?

BTW, you can't actually spot invisable and deadly viruses generally speaking. What you can do though is take sensible steps and precautions to reduce your chances of being infected or infecting others.

Similarly, if you want to eliminate all risk of being seriously injured in a road accident (about 2000 people a month in the UK), don't go on, or near, any roads. Alternatively, you could use the roads as safely as you can, drive carefully, follow the rules of the road and wear a seatbelt whenever possible. Your chances of survival will then be better. If, however, you choose to get in a car at 11.00 pm with a pissed up 17 year old driver - then your chances of being injured increase enormously. Sage Advice Gulliver.

As an aside, just so you can "keep up" I wrote that Mr Ashcroft's piece was, in my view, taking the pee out of Journalists. I specifically stated it is the Oppositions job to hold the Government to Account. Kier Smarmy should be free to say whatever he wishes and the public will be free to cast their judgement in the future.

I recall telling you some time ago that there would be a "reckoning" come the GE. There was. Politicians, of all persuassions, are judged eventually by the electorate. If you spend the next 4 years in "Tory Bad"/"Labour Good" mode then I fear for your health.

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Gulliver Foyle said...

I think something unremarked upon in the article above is that what Ashcroft is also trying to do is legitimize certain voices, eg Vegans (and by inference those concerned with sustainability, climate change etc). This is a tried and tested tactic of the right and we have seen it very recently with the way those in front line NHS positions who commented adversely on the Governments handling of this crisis in the recent Panarama program effectively being themselves investigated by Paul Delaire Staines and his rabble (and repeated in the more mainstream right wing press). If you cannot counter the facts on the ground (and they couldn't), let's call into question those offering their opinions in the hope it will fog the issue. Shoot the messenger as it were. With side order of "and if anyone else in a similar position criticises our deal leader we'll rifle through your bins and social media profile as well".

I mean, let's be honest, it's a lot easier to hold unelected members of the public to account than actual powerful politicians and that's exactly what Ashcroft is helping with here. In the BLT comments on this blog you can see it in action, our resident Tory troll, unable as he/she is in offering a coherent critique of either the topic of this post or those commenting on it, resorts instead to accusations that those critical of this government actions are members of some sort of "liberal elite" as opposed to the actual elite headed by a man called Alexander Boris DePfeffel Johnson. I mean, it's incredibly lazy and exposes the weakness of any arguments they may have but it's also a very effective way of nullifying legitimate criticism of what, by any measurable standard, is a fundamental failure by a government whose primary function is to protect the people of this country.

Gulliver Foyle said...

And to add to what I've written above and re-iterate another comment, the legitimizing thing is also applied to members of the opposition, see the recent MoS non story on Starmers disabled mums donkey sanctuary. I mean, by any standards of common decency it's below the belt but it falls well within the "nudge nudge, wink wink" tactics used ad nauseam by the billionaire owned press. "look at this guy, with his land that's (possibly, maybe if he gets planning permission but he won't) worth a few quid, he doesn't speak for you does he, and/or he's a hypocrite.... or something".

That the story falls over immediately when confronted by reality is irrelevant, for those that want to believe, it makes perfect sense and if you get all or most of your information via this medium what else are you supposed to think. And you can bet your own donkey sanctuary that when the Government is on the back foot again, and behind in the polls, this or a similar story will be regurgitated once again. I'd reference my favourite Swift quotation about the truth but you get the picture.

Anonymous said...


You are just ranting now. Firstly, I assume the "resident troll" comment was aimed at me. In terms of "resident", I havent commented here for months and in terms of "troll" I assume you mean someone that holds different political views to you and, in line with the "cancel culture" of the left, their views should not be allowed to be heard?

Anyway, back too to your rant. As is your style, you are just projecting as usual. You feel it necessary to take some quote in MoS (who reads the MoS?) and somehow try to connect me to that. We started out Gully with me saying that journalists are the ones that that are getting it wrong!

For what its worth, I think that Starmer is a capable politician albeit one whose political views I will often oppose. I think that he will probably struggle and be tainted by his approach and actions with regards to Brexit but, hopefully, that will be in the past by the next GE and then he might have a chance. We wait to see what your loony left colleagues do in the coming months though. Doubtless they will have learned nothing and will be back babbling on about socialism again very soon.

BTW, as a piece of general advice Gully, if you want to avoid providing perpetual confirmation of the "liberal elite" tag, perhaps you might think about whether mysterious references to unquoted quotes by Swift helps or hinders that characterisation.

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The toffee (597) said...

Are you sure it's the gammon sector responsible for all those likes & retweets?

Old folks aren't the best at IT. And we've seen just how woefully shite the toerags are at social media...

Anonymous said...

Trolling was originally harmless piss taking aimed at non-savvy internet types, then the MSM took it and turned it into something dark to be aimed it at non-savvy at everything types (boomers & gammon who no wot's wot coz it woz in the sun/mail... you know the type). Then it was tossed aside after years of abuse by the kind of right-wing gutter monkey's (I refuse to call them journalists for obvious reasons) who fall about laughing when a human being mentions integrity, originality, a job etc.

That was a brief history of the origins of the internet troll for the benefit of the Anonymous modern day troll ((would-be) smart-ass piss taker who uses words in a malicious fashion) who was dumb enough to use one of the dumbest right-wing pejoratives in existence (loony left) while unintentionally revealing that he has green skin and lives under a bridge.

That is all.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1.48

.... “loony left” is a very accurate description of a relatively small, but very influential part of the Labour Party.

They are the ones that believe, despite every scrap of history, ever, that socialism is the political system that will improve the health and wealth of our citizens.

So yes it is a pejorative but aimed specifically at a subset of Labour supporters that make Labour unelectable. Is any of this “news” to you?

Anonymous said...

News is a tool for controlling the masses, it's only ever what they want you to think and very rarely the truth. Hammer the plebs with the kind of lies that make them gossip and drool, then wait for the feedback and ply them with more of what they want to hear. Keep at it and you have millions of drones living under a false illusion of being free and in control, ready to be activated when necessary. The fact that the country is under the control of a bumbling idiot who doesn't have a clue what he's doing is proof that it works.

And working towards improving the health and wealth of ordinary UK citizens is the polar opposite of loony. Would you rather they just bent over for stupidly rich tax dodging tory donors before taking it on the chin?

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Anonymous said...

Anonymous 21.48

Reading between the lines, I am guessing a bit here, but you may be one of the loony left?

Are you one of the loonies, despite all the evidence we have, of every socialist project failure ever, often including the murder of millions by the state, that you can offer some tweaked version of Socialism that will work? Oh dear!

Anonymous said...

Well for a start, your shit line of defence isn't only irrelevant in 2020, it's also really feckin dreary. You must get sick of your own voice.

A tweaked version... bla... bla... bla... Oh how's this... what about an adept government that doesn't laugh in the faces of all the people who have died, all the people who have lost family and friends, all the people who are shit scared to visit family or leave the house because Dom and Boj said they're not to break the same laws that they've happily been breaking themselves.

Loony left did you say?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3.35

"Defence" not relevant in 2020? Firstly, I am not defending anything (other than democracy, freedom and the rule of law). I am stating, factually, unless of course you will give me an example to the contrary, that Socialism simply doesn't work. We know it. When I say "we" I mean anyone with even the slightest knowledge of history. As for 2020, I give you China and Venezuela.

I note, when put on the spot, that rather than continue to discuss the matter at hand (i.e.Socialism) you prefer to attempt to change the subject and prefer to rant about the conduct of a Government Spad where you judge that the actions of Mr and Mrs Cummings as disgraceful in getting their 4 year old looked after and that, somehow, this is indicative that Socialism is the way forward.