Thursday, 10 August 2017

Which Dictators to Condemn?

The unfolding situation in Venezuela is certainly a worrying one. Madurno’s attempts to rewrite the constitution, put in place by his predecessor Hugo Chavez has resulted in the house arrest and removal of opposition politicians and the violent put down of protest. These attempts by the Venezuelan government to secure what seems like ultimate power. People who have been reading my blog for any length of time will know that I am not an authoritarian socialist, and events such as the ones happening in Venezuela are always deeply disheartening.

Yet the response from the mainstream media in the UK has not been to ask for solutions to the current crisis but to direct their anger towards Jeremy Corbyn for expressing support for Chavez and Madurno in the past and to shout at Corbyn to condemn the violence that is happening there. This is despite the fact that Corbyn has said that he condemns ‘All forms of violence’ presumably including the violence by the Venezuelan government in his admittedly broad answer. Yet if you personally think Corbyn should have been more specific and straightforward in his condemnation that is down to interpretation. It is not a point I am going to linger on.

So Why doesn’t Theresa May have to Condemn Saudi Arabia?

While we may be witnessing Totalitarianism taking tentative root in Venezuela, there’s already a well-established family tree of despots that our government supports. This is a country that goes out of their way to oppress women, views homosexuality or being transgender as immoral and views the appropriate punishment for disobeying its oppressive traditions as public whipping or execution. While the UK government may stop short of singing their praises, it certainly supports them in deed. I am of course talking of the Saudi dictatorship.
In a way that is not dissimilar to what Madurno is trying to implement in Venezuela,  Saudi Arabia is ruled by an absolute monarchy where the King rules and makes laws by decree and both the head of state and the government – an unelected leader and de facto dictator. There have been no criticism of his despicable activities by the current UK government.
Also like Venezuela, Saudi Arabia’s worth is also measured in barrels of oil, western powers have historically meddled there in order to secure a fulsome supply of gasoline that so much of economy is based on. It does this by enthusiastically supplying Saudi Arabia with a well-stocked and plentiful arsenal of modern weaponry, regardless of the fact that the weaponry we supply is then used to murder children in neighbouring states like Yemen. In addition to this, huge amounts of British made weapons sold to the Saudis regularly find their way into the hands of terrorist groups like ISIS.

We don’t just have deals with the Saudis

Its recently been reported that the British government have quite possibly directly helped Saudi Arabia by giving Saudi agents training from the British police. This would have directly assisted the Saudis in their suppression of peaceful protest and their arrest of more than a dozen people, facing potential execution.
Those arrested include Mujtaba al Sweikat who was arrested aged 17 for being the admin of a Facebook group critical of the government and photographing street protests and Munir al-Adam who was born with an eye and hearing deft and faces execution for saving messages from rioters on his phone. Other so called ‘juveniles’ who have received death sentences in relation to disagreeing with the monarchy are Ali al Nimr, sentenced to death by crucifixion, Dawood al Mahroon and Abdullah al Zaher both sentenced to beheading.
The arrest, detention and torture of these young people is bad enough, but the barbaric nature of their sentences is not something that any civilised county should support or ignore in their communications with Saudi Arabia.  Any state that supports and trades with a country like this needs to have serious words with itself. These are not idle threats, Saudi Arabia regularly carries out torture and execution, usually in public.

A Call for Action

Far from distancing themselves from Saudi Arabia’s horrific actions, the Home Affairs Select Comitee has been told that hundreds of Saudi Arabian police officers were trained by the royal college of policing.  According to the BBC, there are plans to widen the training from forensics to cybersecurity, mobile phone analysis and CCTV.
A number of MPs including former Labour Leader Ed Miliband have written to Theresa May to urge her to ‘personally urge’ the Saudi royal family to halt the executions. There are also numerous online petitions addressed to both Theresa May and Donald Trump, the most notable one being from the charity and anti-death penalty group Reprieve, asking them to intervene.
As you can tell however, these criticisms have entirely fallen on deaf ears. It seems our government would rather direct their anger at Jeremy Corbyn and his somehow half-hearted response to events in Venezuela. This is despite the fact that neither Corbyn nor our government have any real control over Madurno’s actions. Meanwhile they polish the ego of a rogue state in all but name. Standing passively by while they commit heinous atrocities on their own people.
Theresa May has even gone to the length of defending the Saudis activities on a global stage, suppressing a recent report into the funding of extremism whilst denying that her motivation is to protect arms deals. Arms that may very well find their way into the hands of terrorist groups that we and other western nations are sending our own troops to fight.

Conclusion

It is true that all forms of tyranny, whatever form they take, should be condemned. While you may or may not be convinced that Corbyn has done that with Venezuela, I know wholeheartedly that he and other political leaders have rallied bitterly against the actions of the Saudis. Yet May and her government continue to turn a blind eye to the facts that are laid out before them.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

A.1 What Does Libertarian socialism mean?


This first section of my guide to Libertarian Socialism will look at what Libertarian Socialism is and what it stands for. Ultimately it aims to create a society where individuals can cooperate freely together as equals. It follows from this that Libertarian Socialists oppose the unjust or unnecessary exercise of authority, instead emphasising more cooperative, non-hierarchical types of social, political and economic organisation.
 
However, Libertarian Socialism is a usually misrepresented idea. Many people think that giving people more power over the economy and political systems means ‘chaos’ or ‘disorder’. This process of misrepresentation is not without historical parallel. For example, in countries which have considered Absolute Monarchy necessary, the entire concept of democracy or republicanism must have been seen to imply disorder or confusion. Those with a vested interest in preserving the status Quo will obviously wish to imply that opposition to the current system cannot work in practice, or that a different type of society will lead to chaos.
Libertarian Socialists wish to change this view so that people will see that Cooperative and mutually beneficial organisation are both possible and desirable. This guide is part of a process of changing the commonly held ideas regarding these concepts and there meaning. Libertarian Socialism is not an extremist ideology and our only enemies are the charlatans in power, bigots and exploiters.
We have seen the damage that misrepresentation and distortion of certain ideologies can do. In 1927 in the US, Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco were executed for a crime they did not commit. Essentially, they were killed because they were foreigners who held the value of Libertarian Socialism. So this FAQ will attempt to correct some of the misunderstandings or distortions that Libertarian Socialism has come under by people who do not understand our ideas, large sections of the media and ideologues who wilfully misrepresent our ideas for political gain.   
What Does Libertarian Socialism Mean?
One Common misconception about Libertarian Socialists is that we are against authority in all aspects of life. While this is true of egoists (a small section of the individualist anarchist movement) you get very few Libertarian Socialists who believe in Stirners theory that all rules and regulations are fictional ‘spooks’. Instead many of us just reject the unjust use of authority. You will see what this means later.   
For a full definition of Libertarian Socialism we need to look at these terms in isolation from one another, paying attention to their historical meaning.
LIBERTARIAN: someone who believes in freedom of action, expression and thought. Basically someone who believes in free will. Understandably then, Libertarian may also refer to general scepticism of authority. Specifically authority that seeks to limit peoples free will. 
SOCIALISM: a social and economic system where the producers possess a means of influence over their workplaces and are able to reap the rewards of their labour. Socialism in a political sense also refers to giving people equality in the way decisions are made.  
So, put simply, Libertarian Socialism is a political idea that believes in freedom of action and thought, in which all people have a say over the political decisions that effect their lives, as well as the right to reap the benefits of their labour.
Yet this is still somewhat vague so let’s elaborate. Arguably the most obvious source of hierarchy we face today is hierarchy from government. Again, as a movement based on freedom of thought Libertarian Socialists will have different views on government. However, we will all be opposed to forms of government that limit liberty such as mass surveillance or war. Many of us are happy to support candidates like Jeremy Corbyn who offer a safety net to protect against the worst excesses of capitalism. Yet as democratic, non-Hierarchical networks of mutual aid grow, governments should play gradually less and less of a role in society, and issues such as transport, housing, health and the environment should be put more in the hands of the ordinary people that they directly affect.
 
We apply the same logic to capitalism. We support unionisation for higher wages and better working conditions of course. Yet we are in favour of the establishment of more cooperative enterprises where thee people who do the work have a direct say over working conditions, and how the produce is manufactured and distributed. In this situation, wealth is distributed amongst the people who create it. Again, Libertarian Socialists support the minimization of hierarchy and the strengthening of democracy in the workplace as well as in daily life. I aim to elaborate on our views on government and capitalism later in this series.

Overall, Libertarian Socialism is in favour of the strengthening of equality and freedom in all aspects of public life. In the next Instalment, I will explain some of the attempts to distort both the terms 'Libertarian' and 'Socialism' and why the ideas name makes sense in the original context of both these beliefs.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Libsoc Blogs: In Retrospect

I want to begin this blog post by offering a short note of thanks to my followers, while there may not be many of you I appreciate you taking some time out of your lives to read what some random blogger on the internet has to say about politics. My audience is a mixture of libertarian socialists, Marxists, social democrats, anarchists, one or two of you might even be open minded liberals. While I don’t expect all of you to always agree with what I have to say, having a space to voice my opinions is important to me.

So to the main point of this blog post, for that is what it is. I am not going to beat you over the head with a 2000 word essay style piece. And as time moves on I will be endeavouring not to do that particularly frequently in the future. Those of you that have read my blog post for any amount of time will know that they tend to be (over?) long and meticulously researched. I am slightly disappointed with the standards of my very early blog posts and have since endeavoured to make my posts as comprehensive as humanly possible.

However, I do have a life outside of libsoc blogs. Without going into too much detail, I am now going into my final year of university, and have other worry’s I need to think about. In addition to this, I want to explore other creative endeavours other than libsoc blogs. I have hinted in the past that I am a huge fan of music and film, and aim to develop my skills and knowledge of these subjects.
Libsoc Blogs is not going anywhere, it is just that I aim to make my blog posts snappier and…just…well…BLOG LIKE!! For those of you that enjoy the essay style pieces, there will be times when a political issue comes up that is so big that I can’t contain it in 500 words, so look out for them! Also I am still going to be putting lots of research into my blog posts, but I am not going to let it consume me.
There are also some thematic changes that I want to introduce to this blog. If events going on in the world would only calm the fuck down a little bit, I could write more theoretical posts on subjects like ‘explaining the political philosophies’ or ‘understanding libertarian socialism’. That said, we could have another general election soon so I wouldn’t hold your breath on that one.
I am not about to start taking a back seat on politics, changing my opinions or begging for donations. But I am going to change the way I do things here.
Once again, thank you for all your support and keep up the good fight!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Theresa Mays First Queens Speech is an Absolute Shambles

Theresa Mays first (and very possibly last) queen’s speech was very clearly an absolute disgrace for anyone who read it. As we expected from Theresa Mays weak and unstable minority government, the speech contained a notable absence of stuff they promised in the manifesto, an absence of details on the Tory-DUP deal, posturing over the subject of Brexit and, as one might expect from a government led by two holistically right wing parties, a sizable dose of authoritarianism. It really was nothing more than the dying breath of a directionless charlatan with no ideology other than the desperate desire to cling on to power.

The Tory – DUP deal

Theresa May delayed the queens speech in order to buy herself time to make a deal with the DUP. The queens speech took place last Wednesday, and at the time of writing Theresa May has only just finished off cobbling together a deal with the Northern Irish far right fanatics, that we don’t even know the full details of yet.
Regardless of the timing however, the fact that Theresa May is willing to make a deal with the DUP says a lot about her priorities. John Major, Gordon Brown and David Cameron have all refused to do deals with the Democratic Unionists in the past: this is partly because the party have frankly Stone Age views on many subjects including gay rights. It is in larger part due to the fact that making a deal with any Northern Irish party would risk throwing the northern Irish peace process between the unionists and the nationalists into chaos.
By forming this coalition, Theresa May has decided to stick two fingers up to her more politically neutral predecessors and the architects of peace in Northern Ireland, so that she can gain a short term advantage of staying in power before her own party inevitably boot or out or a general election has to be called. Also, by making a deal with the former Ulster Defence League, May is making a complete U-turn on her accusations that Jeremy Corbyn is a terrorist sympathiser for speaking to the Sinn Fein. She really is willing to sling anything on her bonfire of vanity to stay in power.

Tearing Pages Out of the manifesto

Theresa May actually started ripping pages out of her manifesto a long time before the election result. As soon as it started to look like the Dickensian policies on social care would lose them voters The Conservatives started back peddling with all the force they could muster on these policies, basically by pretending they never existed. It was not until the queen’s speech however that the manifesto started looking like such a wafer thin document.
The Speech contained no mention of the Tory’s depraved plan to impose a 100% stealth inheritance tax on people who dare to commit the ‘crime’ of getting Dementia in their old age. Also scrapped, as far as social care is concerned, were the plans to scrap the pensioners triple lock and to means test winter fuel payments. Presumably this is because if the Tory’s actually carry through on these plans, they will isolate their core demographic to such an extent that they continue to lose seats.
It wasn’t just the social care policies that were missing. The pledge to scrap free school meals and provide infant school children breakfast at 6.8p per day was also bunged into the ‘to cruel to win support’ policy pile. The plot to bring back fox hunting was predictably erased out of existence, as most voters rightly view the practice of ripping wild foxes apart with packs of dogs to be too barbaric.
Other things that were dropped were the promises of 10,000 more mental health nurses (impossible after Theresa Mays scrapping of NHS bursaries drove 10,000 trainee nurses out of the profession in a single year), the plan to nick Ed Milibands energy price cap idea, and the plan to scrap the independent Serious Fraud Office in order to give the Tory’s control over financial corruption cases

Brexit U Turn

Theresa May has been warned in no uncertain terms by dozens of her Europhile Tory backbenchers that an economically ruinous ‘no deal’ Brexit strop is now firmly out of the question. As a result of this internal Tory rebellion the Queens speech makes absolutely no mention whatsoever of her diplomatically inept ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ threat to sabotage our own economy if the EU don’t cave in to our ridiculous demands. Instead, all we get is another platitude about making a success of Brexit.
The problem this is left Theresa May with is that she is now Torn weather to do the bidding of the hard right Eurosceptic MP’s like Ian Duncan Smith or Michael Gove or to tow the line of the Europhile Tory MPs. She can’t support one faction without severely upsetting the other. What this means is that If Theresa May manages to get her queens speech through parliament, she is going to have to perform some serious political acrobatics to try satisfy two ideologically incompatible factions, both of which will have the power to bring Theresa Mays weak and unstable government down at pretty much any point.

Attacking democracy

One particularly horrifying announcement in the Queens speech is that the Tory’s are actually intent on continuing their anti-democratic effort to completely bypass parliament and rewrite the laws of the land as they see fit, despite this being initially struck down in courts.
"A bill will be introduced to repeal the European Communities Act and provide certainty for individuals and businesses’’
The anti-democratic Tory repeal bill is an affront to democracy in so many ways. Amazingly though the Brexiters who never stopped banging on about the importance of parliamentary sovereignty, are now cheering Theresa May’s efforts to bypass the UK parliament on Brexit, in another astounding display of doublethink. The only defence the Brexit minister David Davis has offered to support this anti-democratic power grab is that there isn’t time to do it properly so we should time to do it properly, so we should forget about Democratic scrutiny and trust the Tory government to rewrite laws with no democratic oversight. Only the most hypocritical of Brexiters could possibly try to argue that this is a price worth paying to end the supposedly anti-democratic influence of the EU. Either you believe that parliament should be sovereign, or you believe that government ministers should be allowed to make up laws as they go along. You can’t just simply believe both unless you are immune to cognitive dissonance.

Attacking Internet Freedom

Theresa May is absolutely fixated on controlling the internet. She piggybacks this right wing authoritarian agenda onto every single terrorist attack, even when there is no evidence whatsoever that the attacks could have been prevented by revoking internet freedom. There was yet more of this authoritarian posturing littered throughout the queens speech
"A commission for countering extremism will be established to support the government in stamping out extremist ideology in all its forms, both across society and on the internet, so it is denied a safe space to spread."
If Theresa May had any real concerns over public safety from terrorism then she would use existing legislation to prosecute the appalling hate speech and glorification of terrorism that goes on in places like the Britain First hate group, and she certainly would not have let known jihadists to go completely unwatched as they planned and executed their deadly terrorist attack.
The true reason Theresa May hates internet freedom is because it gives ordinary people the chance to debate politics, express their opinions and talk about subjects deemed to be outside of the mainstream media bubble of acceptable subjects for political debate. May lost her majority because alternative news sources are allowing people to break down right wing propaganda tropes, and find out the truth from themselves. Stamping this media revolution out now is an impossible fantasy, but since when has realism been something that Theresa May has ever considered in her calculations before?

Britain for Sale

Anyone who understands the woeful Tory track record on investment should realise that the parts on investment in The Queens speech are blatantly dishonest. Since 2010 the Tory’s have ruthlessly and recklessly cut back on infustructure meaning that the UK is getting left further and further behind in the global economy.
The UK spends only 1.7% of GDP investing for the future, when the average amongst developed nations is 3%. This deliberate ideologically driven under-investment will have devastating consequences for our future economic prospects. When the Tories talk about ‘attracting investment’ they don’t mean they’re going to invest in the UK economy at all. It means they’re going to go around the world begging countries like Qatar, Oman and China into buying our public infustructure.
In November 2016, Theresa Mays government handed our publicly owned aviation fuel distribution network directly to the governments of Oman and the UAE. In March 2017 the Tory’s handed the Southwest rail franchise to  the government of Hong Kong, and later in March 2017 Theresa May begged and grovelled in front of the Qataris for them to buy more British infustructure. Don’t Trust the Tory’s on investment. 

Conclusion

Any MP with the good of the UK at heart will vote against Theresa Mays shambolic Queens Speech. However, most Tory’s will put their own interests ahead of the nation a whole, meaning that it is only rouge Tory and rogue DUP MPs who have the power to prevent May from forming a government that is both full of malicious intent, but also so weak and unstable that they will be completely unable to run the country or the Brexit negotiations effectively.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Why the Grenfell Tower Tradgedy is Political

I have been cautious writing this article, as it clearly involves ‘politicising a tragedy’. At least, that is the impression I get from all those demanding we completely separate the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy from the numerous political issues which surround it. Of course, what the phrase ‘don’t politicise a tragedy’ is usually used to do is to silence anyone trying to hold the government to any sense of responsibility for a tragedy.
Throught this blog post I aim to point to how the Tories sickening ideology of pandering to rich, private investors and their neglect towards investing in public safety played a large part in causing the Grenfell tragedy, and how unless we learn from such gross negligence, tragedies like this will happen again. To clarify, I am not saying that these were the only factors in causing the fire. A statement like that would be practically impossible to prove. However, it would also be completely unreasonable to refuse to hold anyone to account over this terrible tragedy.

The ignored Block Fire Safety report

The Block Fire Safety report was produced after the Lankanal House Fire in Camberwell cost the lives of six residents. It recommended the instillation of sprinklers in 4,000 tower blocks across the UK and was completed in 2013. Since then, a series of Conservative housing ministers, including the current chief of staff Gavin Barwell, as well as Brandon Lewis, Kris Hopkins, and Mark Barwell, have constantly sat on this report and ignored concerns, giving the pathetic excuse of ‘we are looking into it’ every time they are cornered on it. The Grenfell Tower fire is exactly the kind of tragedy the ignored report was intended to prevent.
Aside from this report into the measures the government could take to prevent tower block fires, there is also a heart-breaking blog post from the Grenfell Tower residents group warning about the lack of fire safety measures in the block and the fact that residents had actually been advised to remain inside their properties in the case of fire, which would have almost certainly cost residents their lives.

Fire Service Cuts

Since they first got in power in 2010, the Tory Party have been slashing the nation’s fire service. Between March 2010 and March 2016 the Tories axed 9,668 fire services jobs and the cuts have been going on since. The Tories have already slashed the fire service by 30% since the 2015 general election. By the time of that election, the Tories had closed 39 fire stations, including 10 in London that were shut down the same week that the taxpayer owned RBS announced an outrageous £607 million In bonuses for their staff despite having lost £5.2 billion that year.
The closure of fire stations and the significant reductions in staff and vehicles at remaining stations mean that response times have been soaring all over the country, the average response time now in cities has increased from 10 minutes to thirteen minutes. As is clear by the Grenfell tragedy, people are dying because of these cuts. It isn’t just Kensington. The government’s own statistics reveal that the number of fire related deaths soared by 17.4% in a single year between 2015/16.
Whatever benefit people think they are getting when they vote for a Tory government, must at least realise that people’s lives are more important. If the Tory’s again fail to learn from their mistakes we will see a repeat of Grenfell.    

Making Homes unfit for Human Habitation

In January 2016 The Tories notoriously voted down a Labour Party Amendment to their bill that would have required landlords to ensure that the properties they rent out are ‘fit for human habitation’. 71 of the 319 Tory MP’s to shoot this requirement out of the water, are registered as landlords on the Parliamentary register for members interests. For a list of all the MPs who voted down this requirement I recommend taking a look at political scrapbook’s post on the issue.
In light of the Grenfell tower fire and the fact that a succession of Tory housing ministers sat on a report into Tower block fire safety, its abut time people woke up to the fact that the Tory party doesn’t give a damn about housing. They oversaw the lowest rate of housebuilding since the 1920sand the most unaffordable house prices in history, but to them that’s all good because the higher the demand for housing, the faster the inflation of their own personal property portfolios, and the higher rents they can charge. These people are far too removed from reality to give a damn.

The Sprinkler Question

It has emerged since the Grenfell Tower fire that a former Tory housing Minister, Brandon Lewis, warned MPs about beefing up fire safety regulations, because it could discourage housebuilding. This was despite the fact the Lewis openly admitted that introducing sprinklers could literally save thousands of lives, yet didn’t want the government to encourage sprinkler use because ‘that is the job of the fire services’.
So by Tory logic, the first duty of government should be to allow private housebuilders to build houses, rather than to ensure that some of the countries vulnerable and poorer residents don’t fry to death in a horrendous tragedy like Grenfell. All Lewis’ statement amounts to is that ‘I would like to save the lives of thousands of citizens, but I think some private housebuilders might be a bit put off if we tell them that they have got to make the buildings safe’. Classic case of the Tory’s putting their own interests, above the interests of the nation.    

The Cladding Question

If you haven’t heard flammable cladding was stuck all over the surface of the Grenfell Tower block. This was manufactured by a company called Omnis Exteriors. In 2015/16 Omnis reported profits of £1.2 million. The kind of plastic filled cladding Omnis has profited from selling has been banned in countries like Germany and the US for years, and has been implicated in high rise fires all over the world, but somehow the British Government never saw fit to ban the practice of sticking highly flammable materials over high rise buildings.
What makes this more outrageous is that Omnis promises flammable cladding for just £2 extra, per square metre which rises some serious questions. These are 1) why did Omnis continue selling highly flammable cladding when they had the capacity to produce a non-flammable alternative? 2) Why was flammable, plastic filled cladding not banned in the UK, when it has been implicated in fires all around the world and banned in other countries with advanced economies 3) who signed off on the decision to save an estimated £5,000 in renovation costs by choosing the flammable cladding for Grenfell tower, rather than the fireproof version?
The answer to the first question is that there was nothing to stop them. The answer to the second question is that public safety is terribly incompatible with Tory Lazzeiz Faire ideology. The answer to the third will surely come out at some point during the criminal inquest.

Conclusion

If you can’t see how the Grenfell fire tragedy is tied to politics in so many ways, then you must be so wrapped up in the blanket of ‘don’t politicise a tragedy’ that you are blind to the reality around you. People have died because of apathy from the elites to the effects of their monstrous cost cutting exercises. Politicizing this tragedy isn’t a choice, but a necessity.   

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Weak and Unstable

If anyone received a Tory flyer through their door you will remember that it contained big letters containing the words ‘Theresa Mays team’ on the front rather than the somewhat less inspiring sounding ‘Conservative Party’. You will also remember that it had the supposedly reassuring words ‘strong and stable’ plastered all over the document, like a profoundly  dishonest version of the Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy (for those of you that get the reference, your welcome). Of course this is nothing surprising, the Tory campaign was full of reality defying propaganda. Another of the terms that the Tory’s kept using to discredit their opponents is the bitterly ironic ‘coalition of chaos’. At the time this may not have seemed as obvious to the people who actually voted for Theresa May, but how obvious is it now?

Theresa Mays Team

When Theresa May won the Tory leadership contest following David Cameron’s resignation by default after bullying her rival out of the leadership race, May attempted to re-do Thatcher’s infamous St Francis of Assisi speech by saying how much she cared about the under privileged in society. This was before immediately scrapping university grants as one of her first acts as Prime Minister.
Six months later, after repeating ‘Brexit means Brexit’ a million times, Theresa May went into full Blue-KIP mode by launching her propaganda coup to the EU that if they don’t cave in to her demands for market access for her corporate buddies, she would collapse the negotiations altogether and turn Britain into a giant offshore tax haven. The tabloid press absolutely adored this, and started labelling anyone demanding a softer approach to the negotiations ‘Saboteurs’.
After calling her self-serving snap election, presumably eager to distance herself from her own party’s record, May rebranded the conservatives ‘Theresa Mays team’ with all mention of the word conservative either reduced to small fonts or eradicated. This was clearly a move by Lynton Crosby and other PR consultants to appeal to Labour and Lib Dem voters who would normally never dream of voting Tory. This ranked of insincerity and relied purely on the presumption that centrists and left leaning voters are so stupid that if you change the words on the propaganda, they will forget which parties they are voting for. On top of that Theresa May was adopting this image whilst telling her friends in the media that the Tory’s intend to launch an ultra-hard Brexit. Not only was this an insincere attempt at political marketing that millions have come to despise, but it is shockingly at odds with the Tory’s own stated Brexit strategy.

Strong and Stable

Theresa May called this election with the supposed aim of ‘strengthening her hand in the Brexit negotiations’ and ‘stopping opposition parties from obstructing Brexit’. Never mind the fact that the largest opposition party in the House of Commons voted in favour of triggering article 50, the lie was successfully constructed that Theresa May needed to strengthen her hand and many conservative voters fell for it.
Of course there are plenty of people who didn’t fall for this obvious propaganda strategy and decided to vote against Theresa May and the Tory’s, reducing the Conservatives number of seats and increasing Labours, resulting in a hung parliament. This forced the conservatives to think fast and form minority government with help from the far right, Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Adding the Tory and DUP seats together puts Theresa May just over the majority mark by two MPs. This clearly puts the conservatives in a desperate lose-lose situation with the opposition currently in a stronger position than the government.
The Tory’s could try and remedy this by calling another election. The problem with this option is that it would almost certainly result in a strong labour majority because if Labour managed to cause a hung parliament with the mainstream media against them all the way and the Tory’s a phenomenal 25 points ahead of them in the polls, just imagine what another surge from a +5 could result in.
The other option means a pathetically weak government clinging on to power for as long as possible, while public opinion steadily turns against them.  Pretty soon they will be seen as putting the interests of themselves above the interests of the nation. This means that when a general election does happen public opinion may have turned so significantly against the Tories to outright wipe them out as a political force.
My advice would be for them to take the hit as soon as possible, just so we can get the Tory’s out of power and get a real strong and stable government. That said, I don’t mind the idea of the Tory’s clinging on a little bit longer and wiping themselves out. The choice is really theirs.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

10 General Election Issues that we Must Not Forget

The general election was indeed very interesting. As I said I my previous blog post it went from being an election where the Tory’s were inevitably going to win, to a genuinely close race. Although I think that Labours impressive performance was largely down to the fact that they offered a radical manifesto of hope, a few trip ups and outright lies from the Tory party undeniably allowed them to be cornered by Jeremy Corbyns campaign and caused some people to turn from the Tory’s to labour.

A lot of the post-election focus has understandably been on Theresa mays efforts to cling onto power by throwing her two closest advisers under the public opinion bus, pleading to her MP’s not to get rid of her, and sucking up to the most right wing people in parliament. All these are important issues that I will be talking about myself in due course, but we must not forget some of the key issues from the campaign

Security

During the election, extreme security lapses led to two avoidable terrorist attacks. One was committed by an Islamist fanatic known to be plotting a terrorist attack in the UK who was allowed to come back through the UK border and was left unwatched as he planned and executed the attack on innocent children. The next attack was committed by a well-known extremist featured in a Channel 4 documentary called ‘the jihadists next door’
As Home Secretary Theresa May oversaw the longest and deepest cuts to per capita policing levels in British history. She slashed the number of police by 19,000. The police chiefs warned at the time that they were getting stretched beyond their capacities, but Theresa May condescendingly accused them of ‘scaremongering’. Now that we have got army deployed on the streets, I think it is fair to say that that accusation has not aged well. 
During the Election, Theresa May refused to release a report into the funding of terrorist networks in the UK, presumably because it allegedly implicates Saudi Arabia.. If it’s revealed that terrorist networks operating in the UK are receiving funding from our supposed allies, that undoubtedly the stuff that can bring governments down. What we don’t know is whether or not Theresa May was aware of this report when she was hawking them weapons as home secretary. So the question has to be, is anyone in the mainstream going to attempt to hold Theresa May to account?

Healthcare

After the previously mentioned terrorist attacks much attention was understandably given to our security services. However we should not let this overshadow the incredibly important issue of NHS funding.
Our doctors paramedics, nurses and surgeons were absolute heroes after the terrorist attacks, and NHS staff like mental health specialists and physiotherapists will be heroes of the recovery. The evidence is absolutely clear that the NHS cannot afford another five years of Tory vandalism. Don’t believe me? Ask anyone you know who works in the NHS about whether services have got better or worse over the past five years. 
Many argue that the chaos in the NHS is being deliberately pushed in order to push more privatisation. This might sound like a conspiracy theory but the chairman of conservative health Paul Charlson even explained that the purpose of this ruinous Tory NHS agenda is to scrap the ‘free at the point of use’ principle and replace It with a US style private insurance model. Anyone who thinks that a private model would be preferable, really needs to go to their local hospital and ask how cost cutting has served them.

Dark ads

The Tories ran an unprecedented campaign of dark ads, spending millions on spewing their propaganda all over social media, front loading YouTube videos with political attack adverts and hijacking political google searches with paid ads. This might seem at first glance like normal behaviour for a political party but there are numerous factors to consider.
In my view the specific targeting of particular voters in particular constituencies with dark ads should be declared under local, rather than national campaign budgets. It should be seen as absolutely necessary to copies of every political advertisement are checked by the electoral authorities. Many of these Tory dark ads, such as one they used to hijack searchers for the Labour manifesto, contained outright lies about the opposition parties and politicians. The electoral authorities really need to explain to the public what they intend to do to stop the dissemination of outright lies.

Lies

Aside from the Dark ads campaign, numerous Tory politicians were guilty of just blatantly lying to the British public. Theresa May herself being among them.
Theresa May outright lied about Diane Abbott’s stance on the DNA database, by saying to a packed question time audience on national television that the shadow home secretary advocated the removal of the DNA samples of ‘criminals and terrorists’ from police databases. Abbot has of course done nothing of the sort. She has advocated the removal of the DNA of people proven to be innocent.
May also lied that Labour proposes ‘uncontrolled immigration’ when in reality their manifesto pledged clampdowns on all kinds of harmful migration and increased funding of services for areas that have large immigration influxes. The labour programme is actually far more sensible and reasonable than the Tory approach of recycling their twice broken promise to reduce immigration to an arbitrary number.
After Brexit, and now this something really needs to be done to prevent our politicians from deliberately lying to us.

Yes First Strike

One of the most bizarre aspects of the general election was the way Jeremy Corbyn was constantly ganged up on by members of the public and by the mainstream media, because of his reasonable No First Strike policy on nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, Theresa May didn’t seem to receive any criticism at all about the announcement of her absolutely mad Yes First Strike policy.
I oppose the renewal of trident, but I at least understand the deterrent argument that people put up in favour of them. Yes first strike makes no so sense. Its total and utter madness that, in times of global conflict, would actually make the problem worse by significantly increasing the chances of a strike against London in order to eradicate the insane strike first leader, before they can launch a nuclear attack.
The Tory government need to be pressed a lot more on their Yes First Strike policy, because I’m pretty sure that most members of the public (even those that support trident) would be strongly against Theresa May essentially triggering Armageddon by using nukes as attack weapons.

 Austerity

Tory austerity dogma resulted in the slowest recovery from a recession since the South Sea Bubble Burst in the 18th century, the lowest levels of housebuilding since the early 1920s, the worst wage collapse since records began, and the least affordable house prices in history. Not only that but for seven years we have been pitifully left behind on the world stage because the Tories have been investing far less in infrastructure than any other developed nation. All because of the Tory’s ideological fixation with their economically inept and self-defeating cost-cutting exercises.  
For seven ruinous years the mainstream media have time and time again failed to hold the Tories to account over their ideological fixation with austerity dogma. However, after more voters supported anti austerity parties than pro austerity parties in this election and the Tories are even claiming that they want to backtrack on austerity, surely now is the time for austerity dogma to be subjected to proper public scrutiny?

Dementia Tax

The Tories Dickensian policy of stabbing their core demographic in the back by threatening to assest strip their family homes if they dare to commit the ‘crime’ of getting dementia or one of the other horrible diseases, has not disappeared. They have simply announced that there will be a limit on how much wealth they can extract from frail old people and other disabled people. They have not said how much that limit is going to be, nor whether it would be an overall cap (a weak incentive to suicide) or an annual limit that rolls over indefinitely (a strong incentive to suicide).
What will happen to the Dementia Tax policy in future Tory manifestos is anyone guess, they certainly took a gamble with it this time. Nevertheless, questions need to be asked about the details that Theresa May has failed to disclose, and also over the morality of this policy. How is it remotely humane or decent to assest strip frail old people whilst simultaneously giving tens of billions in handouts to corporations and your mega rich chums? 

Tory self interest

Theresa May could have maintained political power until 2020, but she clearly and undeniably put her own self-interest above the good of the nation by calling a snap election when her poll lead was at an all-time high.
After the failure of David Cameron’s EU referendum gamble, wagered in order to poach a few UKIP voters in 2015, Theresa Mays vanity election is the second time that the Tories have thrown the whole country into chaos by putting their own self-interest first. Instead of conducting Brexit in an amicable way, by taking the views of opposition parties and devolved governments into consideration and forming some kind of UK wide consensus. She wanted to crush all political opposition to be crowd the undisputable and unchallengeable queen of Brexit, so she could dictate the whole process of exiting the European Union herself.
It’s now abundantly clear that the Tory party simply cannot be trusted to consider the good of the nation as a whole, above the self-serving opportunism of their leaders.

Press Corruption

 One of Theresa Mays most despicable manifesto pledges was to throw the leveson report onto the fire as if Rupert Murdoch’s minions had never hacked into the phone of a murdered teenage girl.
During the election, the billionaire owned propaganda rags went into absolute overdrive with an unprecedented smear mongering campaign against the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn. Thankfully, the smear mongering didn’t pay off. Neither did it deliver Theresa May the super majority she was expecting when she called her self-serving snap election, but the malign influence of the billionaire press barons was still enough to help her avoid an astounding defeat, which means that there’s still the possibility that the Tory’s will try and bin the leveson investigation as a favour to their faithful mainstream media attack dogs.

Rights and Freedoms

Despite the wailing from Tory’s that we shouldn’t try and politicise attacks when they happen, Theresa May didn’t half opportunistically piggybank her hatred of human rights on to the terrorist atrocities.
She is just so incapable of thinking things through that she doesn’t even understand that the destruction of our western justice-based human rights would be seen as a massive ideological victory for the Islamist extremists. These depraved fanatics absolutely hate our liberal values and our non-sharia court systems. If we scrapped our human rights after one suicide bombing and a couple of sick rampages through the streets of London, they would obviously see it as a huge victory and wonder what could be achieved with a more concerted series of attacks.