Thursday, 18 January 2018

The Tory EU Withdrawal bill is such a shambolic power grab Labour had to vote against it


Last night 243 Labour MPs voted against the Tory government's Brexit bill.

The Tories tried to make as much capital out of this vote as possible by whipping up their Brextremist followers into a rage with outright lies that Labour were "blocking the delivery of a smooth Brexit", which are a tad difficult to accept at face value given that the Tories and their bigoted DUP backers actually won the vote!

In reality the Labour Party (and other opposition parties) tried to do everything in their power to amend the Tories' basket case European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, and when virtually all of these amendments were defeated by the Tories and the DUP extremists they bribed into supporting them, Labour had no choice but to vote against this cynical and shambolic power grab the Tories have cobbled together under the guise of leaving the EU.

It's vital to understand that Labour and the opposition parties tried really hard to improve the EU Withdrawal bill, but the Tories and the DUP fanatics simply scrapped all the changes.


Here are just a few of the amendments that the Tories refused to make to their shambolic legislation:
  • Labour tried to ensure that no EU derived consumer protections, environmental standards, and workers' rights are scrapped during the process of quitting the EU. The Tories scrapped that amendment.
  • The SNP and other opposition parties tried to ensure that the Tories couldn't use the extensive law-rewriting powers they were giving themselves to revoke powers from the devolved parliaments (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland). The Tories scrapped that amendment.
  • Labour tried to stop the Tories from using the EU Withdrawal Bill to reserve all repatriated powers directly to Westminster, rather than to the devolved parliaments.  The Tories scrapped that amendment.
  • Labour tried to ensure that the Tory government carry out economic impact assessments on whatever Brexit scenario they decide on (a Brexit agreement or a "no deal" flounce) before parliament votes on whether to go ahead with it. The Tories scrapped that amendment.
In light of this just ask yourself why the Tories scrapped all these amendments to protect human rights, environmental laws, consumer protections, animal rights, the integrity of the devolved parliaments, and to ensure the government carries out economic impact assessments before they plough ahead with whatever they decide to do?

If they have no intention of using Brexit as a Trojan horse to attack all of these rights, protections, and laws - then why did they scrap the amendments that would have prevented them from doing so?

If they have no intention of using Brexit as an excuse to attack and undermine the powers of the devolved parliaments in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland - then why did they scrap the amendments that would have prevented them from doing so?

And if they have no intention of ploughing ahead with a shambolic "let's make it up as we go along" hard-right Brexit - then why did they scrap the amendments that would have made them at least conduct economic impact assessments on the final Brexit situation they decide on before moving to enact it?

Labour and the other opposition parties tried to co-operate and improve the Tory Brexit legislation, but the Tories and the DUP lackeys they bribed into supporting them just trashed all the amendments.

This Tory intransigence left Labour with no choice but to vote against the shambolic legislative mess the Tories have put forward.

When historians look back at this time, nobody will blame Labour for at least trying to amend the Tory Brexit legislation to make it fit for purpose.

However now that the Tories have demonstrated their intention to use Brexit as an excuse to attack our rights, scrap our consumer protections, erode our environmental laws, undermine our devolved parliaments, and do so in a reckless make it up as we go along manner with no economic impact assessments to justify their actions, nobody (aside from the 'we want Brexit at any cost' extremists) could possibly argue that Labour were wrong to vote against the EU Withdrawal Bill.


The next stage for the EU Withdrawal Bill will be the unelected House of Lords, which will make an interesting spectacle as a bunch of unelected peers attempt to amend this absolute shambles of a Tory power grab to make the bill itself more democratic, and the Tory govenrment more accountable for their actions.


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Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Theresa May is letting Ben Bradley keep his job


As the rest of us were celebrating the New Year, the Tories decided to quietly sneak out an announcement that they'd appointed the vile hard-right polemicist Toby Young to their new (and supposedly impartial) universities watchdog.

Within a matter of hours it became clear that the Tories had failed to do even the slightest due diligence on the guy they were handing a job to. Not only did Toby Young have a disgusting back catalogue of misogynistic, homophobic, and downright disgusting Tweets, he'd also been attending secretive pro-eugenics conferences full of white supremacists and paedophilia apologists, and writing articles attempting to rehabilitate the concept of eugenics.

Eventually, after a nine day shit-storm over his repulsive comments and views, Toby Young resigned, and any sensible and/or vaguely competent political party would have looked into how they managed to appoint someone with such an appalling track record, but not the Tories.

On the very same day that Toby Young resigned over his back catalogue of despicable articles and Tweets, Theresa May appointed the recently elected Tory MP Ben Bradley as Vice Chair for Youth.

Apparently his job would be to get more young people to engage with the Conservative party.

Had they bothered to check Bradley's Internet history before appointing him, they would have come across a truly disgusting blog post calling for the sterilisation of unemployed people, as if unemployment is some kind of genetic disease, rather than a necessary condition in capitalist economies. 

I mean just think about it, how else are the exploitative capitalist class going to extract as much profit from the labour force as possible if there isn't a permanent pool of unemployed workers ready to replace any worker who agitates too loudly for pay raises or better working conditions?

One of the most shocking things about his elitist views on unemployment is that Bradley is the first ever Tory MP in the former mining town of Mansfield.

If anyone should know that unemployment can be thrust upon people, families, and even entire communities through no fault of their own, then surely it's people in a former mining town that was socially and economically decimated by the closure of the mines (as well as the textiles industry and the Mansfield brewery)?

But no, they've actually gone and elected this elitist Tory prig as their MP.


How someone with such vile elitist views about the sterilisation of the poor ever made it through the selection process to become a Tory parliamentary candidate is bizarre enough, but his appointment to Theresa May's government as a kind of youth engagement officer, well it just defies belief doesn't it?

Bradley and his right-wing backers have attempted to defend his comments by making out they happened ages ago, but 2012 wasn't that long ago, and his comments were made in defence of Iain Duncan Smith's welfare cuts, as if sterilisation of the unemployed is somehow a natural extension of Tory party welfare policy.


We all know that if Labour (or any other political party) had appointed someone with such vile views to an official position, the Tories, the right-wing dominated print media, and the Guido Fawkes smear-mongering operation would be in all out attack mode over it. But because this guy is a Tory, they're churning out excuses, and pretending that the Tory mask hasn't slipped.

Theresa May has decided that someone who has so recently expressed such vile elitist views is an appropriate person to try to engage young people with right-wing politics.

But the truth is obvious for everyone to see. Not only did the Tory party welcome Bradley with open arms and promote him to an official position within the party, and either they did no due diligence on his background at any state, or they did do due diligence and concluded that sterilise the poor blog posts are well aligned with the Tory party ethos.

The Tory mask has well and truly slipped, and Theresa May's decision to let Bradley keep his job could well backfire. Perhaps he has more extreme pro-eugenics views lurking around in his past, and even if not, any youth Bradley tries to get hooked on right-wing politics can be easily warded off with warnings "don't listen to him, he's the sterilise the poor guy".



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Monday, 15 January 2018

The Carillion collapse is a textbook example of Tory economics


The collapse of the construction and outsourcing giant Carillion is a textbook example of the Tory privatisation ideology in action.

We now have 43,000 workers worrying over their jobs; hundreds of public services at risk (including hospitals, schools, prisons & other public infrastructure); a government in chaos because they carried on handing out £billions in contracts to this stricken company even after three profit warnings; and a pension fund with a £600 million black hole in it (which will be bailed out by the taxpayer).

Meanwhile executives at the company stand accused of rewriting their bonus rules in 2016 (when the company was already in huge trouble) so that they could keep all their bonuses, even in the case of corporate collapse.

A bunch of private profiteers has walked away with stacks of cash, leaving the public to pick up the bill for sorting out the chaos they've created.

However, the problem is that the Tories are pro-privatisation extremists. There's no way they'd bring the services back in house to protect jobs and public services. Their fanatical hard-right ideology prevents them from doing that, so they'll scrabble around trying to get other private sector profiteers to take over Carillion's contracts, and likely pay extortionate inflated prices, because other private sector companies know that the Tories need them to take over the contracts more than they actually need the contracts themselves.

The corporate executives got rich. The shareholders were handed dividends every year as the company drained vast sums out of employees' pension schemes. And now the scam has collapsed, the Tories are going to ensure that the taxpayer covers the cost by bailing out the pension fund, and by re-tendering all the contracts at inflated prices.

From a taxpayers' perspective, or from the perspective of good governance, the Carillion collapse is an absolutely scandalous failure.

However from a Tory party perspective it's actually another success story, because it's yet another example of the private sector soaking up all the profits at the taxpayers' expanse, then dumping the debts onto the taxpayer when the hollowed-out husk of the company collapses into liquidation.

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Sunday, 14 January 2018

Are you gullible enough to believe Theresa May's latest deception?


If you ever needed a demonstration of what a pathetic bunch of charlatans the Tory party are, look no further than Theresa May's lamentable Tweet attempting to steal all the credit for the ban on secret credit card charges that is being rolled out across all EU member states.

It's important to see this latest credit-pilfering effort from Theresa May and the Tories in context. It's absolutely clear that Theresa May turned herself into a puppet of the most rabid hard-right Europhobes in Britain with her ludicrous vanity election. 


After losing her parliamentary majority and her authority her every move is dictated by the secretive and fanatically right-wing hard Brexit cabal within her own party, by the DUP bigots (who get a veto on her every Brexit move), by Paul Dacre and the Daily Mail mob, and by the fickle hard-right ultra-nationalist Blue-kip demographic who abandoned the wreckage of UKIP to prop up Theresa May's shambles of a government.

This disgusting rabble would obviously have erupted in outrage if Theresa May had told the truth; that the ban on sneaky credit card charges is one of the many positive aspects of EU membership. 


But instead of taking the coward's way out and simply saying nothing about this new legislation for fear of enraging her hard-right backers, May has actually decided to create the absurdly misleading narrative that it's the Tories we should be thanking for the ban on sneaky credit card charges.

The absolute brass neck of it!

According to Theresa May we should be thanking the party that are making an absolute shambles of ripping us out of the organisation that actually gave us this new consumer protection in the first place!


One of the most incredible things of all is that this is the second time in the space of a week that Theresa May and the Tories have tried to steal all the credit for the implementation of EU legislation after they tried to present the extended 5p plastic bag charges as their own policy, rather than the implementation of a piece of EU legislation that Tory MPs actually voted against and worked hard to undermine and obstruct as it made its way through the European Parliament!

Just think about the absolute contempt the Tories must have for the general public (you) that they think that they can get away with repeatedly re-branding pieces of EU legislation as their own achievements.

They're assuming that we're such a bunch of gullible halfwits that we'll just mindlessly absorb their propaganda without clocking the deception, and that nobody is going to capitalise on such obvious deceptiveness by sharing the evidence they've just handed us proving what an outrageously dishonest bunch of chancers they are.


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Saturday, 13 January 2018

If you hate socialism, then you hate the NHS


Millions of people in Britain have allowed themselves to be conditioned into hating the concept of socialism by the toxic influence of the hard-right billionaire propaganda merchants.

The way they do this is by steadfastly ignoring the reality of what socialism actually means, and continually offering absurd caricature definitions of socialism like "spending other people's money" or "jealousy at other people's success" instead.

In reality socialism is about making sure public infrastructure and services (like schools, hospitals, public transport, the police and judicial system, libraries, roads, and energy infrastructure) are run for the public good, and kept out of the hands of private profiteers.

It's all about getting people to hate a ridiculous caricature of socialism, rather than explaining the political situation using accurate definitions.


The polling data shows that a clear majority of British people who express an opinion either way strongly support the fundamental socialist principle of public ownership when it comes to police services (96%), schools (93%), the NHS (89%), the Royal Mail (76%), the railways (71%), the water companies (70%), and the energy companies (63%). [source for statistics]

Given that the socialist policy of public ownership is so overwhelmingly popular with the British public, it seems incredible that so many British people have allowed themselves to be conditioned into hating "socialism" so much that they go out and vote for a radically right-wing political party that is hellbent on ignoring public opinion, scrapping public ownership, and continually transferring the operation of our police services, schools, NHS facilities, and Royal Mail into the hands of private sector profiteers.


Around nine in ten people support the socialist policy of running the NHS as a not-for-profit public service, so mainstream media propagandists have to use all kinds of deceptions to confuse people into hating "socialism".

One of the most important tricks they use to get people spewing bile like a pack of slavering Pavlov's dogs at the mere mention of "socialism" is to completely whitewash the positive aspects of socialist policy.

The political right hate the NHS with an undying passion because the concept of prioritising health care on the basis of need, rather than the ability to pay for it, is a fantastic demonstration of socialism in action.

Right-wingers are smart enough to realise that the British public love the concept of universal health care, so instead of attacking the NHS directly, they undermine it on the sly whilst pretending that they actually love it.

You'll never hear a Tory admit that the NHS has been a shining example of socialism in action ever since it was founded by the Labour Party in 1948. Neither will you see right-wing columnists and political commentators admit that the NHS that they pretend to support is actually an unmistakably socialist endeavour.

This refusal to define the NHS as an example of socialism in action is deception by omission.

Right-wingers want people to immediately think of stuff like bread queues in communist Russia or their ridiculous caricatures of socialism as "spending other people's money" whenever the subject of socialism comes up. 


They definitely don't want people thinking about the fantastic hard-working NHS staff who have helped them and/or their family members through accidents, illnesses, and/or child birth.

However it's vital to understand that even though the political right are unwilling to describe the NHS as the socialist enterprise that it is for fear of demonstrating that almost everyone in Britain has been a beneficiary of socialism in action at some point in their lives, they hate it with an unbridled ideological passion.

These elitist right-wing ideologues don't want to identify the NHS with socialism for fear of giving the "lower orders" the idea that socialism is actually a good idea. So they just quietly work to wreck it through massive funding cuts, service closures, deliberately manufactured staff shortages, and an ever accelerating privatisation agenda.
  

Then when their wrecking agenda comes to fruition, and the NHS is reduced to a hollowed out and under-funded wreck that is incapable of dealing with public demand, they'll suddenly reverse their embargo on describing the NHS as socialism, because once it's been reduced to ruins by the right-wingers who always hated it, they can use the wreckage they've created to support their deceptive argument that socialism doesn't work.

As long as the Tories and the right-wing press continue their strategy of obscuring the fact that the NHS is an example of socialism in action, we can be fairly sure that they fear that it's somehow still working well enough to actually give socialism a good name.

But when they suddenly start spewing propaganda about how the NHS is failing because socialism doesn't work (rather than as a result of their deliberate wrecking agenda), we'll know that they're on the brink of completing their project to run the NHS into the ground in order to justify their decades-long dream of privatising the remains and scrapping the "free at the point of need" principle.

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Friday, 12 January 2018

The British extreme-right sure do seem to hate Britain a lot


Donald Trump's staggeringly dishonest Twitter rant about cancelling his trip to London triggered a gleeful display of quintessentially British piss-taking on Twitter via the #ICancelledMyTripToLondon hashtag.

Trump lied that he was cancelling his trip to London because Barack Obama and the Democrats supposedly did a deal to move the US Embassy to a new location, but the plan to move out and sell off the old embassy was actually drawn up in 2008 by the Republican George W. Bush administration.

Everyone could see that Dotard had just made up a ridiculous lie to cover for the fact that he's afraid of facing the large public protests the British people would undoubtedly put on against his near constant stream of bigoted rhetoric.

Here are a few of the more amusing examples.




What could be more British than ribbing someone after they've huffed off in a strop?

Well there are many on the British extreme-right who clearly feel a much stronger affinity for Donald Trump than they do for their own nation, because they were so upset at people taking the piss out of their beloved right-wing idol that they set about trying to hijack the #ICancelledMyTripToLondon hashtag to humourlessly denigrate Britain, and especially London.










It's absolutely remarkable how much hatred and denigration is being aimed at Britain and it's capital city by this extreme-right rabble.

It's even more remarkable that this odious hate mob have the absolute cheek to pose as pro-British patriots, and even use British and English flags in their Twitter handles and biographies.

It's beyond obvious that this disgusting mob hate their own country with a passion, because not only do they openly and shamelessly denigrate Britain, they've also attempted to hijack a quintessentially British display of ribbing with their displays of hateful and pathetically humourless extreme-right ranting.


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Dominic Raab is a liar


The new Tory housing minister Dominic Raab is a liar. He appeared on BBC Question Time on January 11th 2018 and told a glaring lie to the British people.

His lie was an absurd claim that the NHS has more beds than ever.

Anyone who has paid the remotest attention to the Tory vandalism of the NHS that has been going on since 2010 will have been aware of the dozens of NHS facilities that have been shut down and downgraded under their so-called cost-cutting measures.

How could there be more beds than ever as Raab claimed when the Tories have been closing and stripping back so many NHS services you may well ask.


The answer is that Dominic Raab was lying through his teeth, and that there are actually 17,000 fewer hospital beds than when the Tories came to power in 2010.

In fact the current collapse in the number of NHS is the second Tory wave of bed closures following their previous funding assault on the NHS between 1979 and 1997. In reality the number of available NHS beds has almost halved in the last 30 years.


So at a time of rising demand for NHS services as a result of our ageing population, the Tory government has overseen a dramatic decline in the number of NHS hospital beds. But rather than apologise for it, Raab decided to reverse reality and lie that there are more hospital beds than ever.

Ever since Raab's (brazen and obvious) lie was exposed, he's been refusing to apologise or offer any attempt to clarify the truth that the number of NHS beds has actually plummeted by 17,000 on his party's watch.

One of the big problems here is the attitude of the mainstream press who repeatedly allow government ministers to get away with endlessly spewing this type of easily disprovable lie.

If government ministers were faced by a barrage of demands that they admit the truth and apologise for lying, they'd pretty soon learn to be more careful about what they say.

But the next time Raab is interviewed or appears on the television you can be almost certain that the interviewer won't remind him of the lie he told to the British people or demand that he apologises for it.


If throwaway lies like this costed politicians and their party more in negative publicity than they could ever gain by using them, they'd soon stop lying of their own volition, or be pressurised into avoiding such brazen lies by their political parties.

The problem of course is that the mainstream media is rammed full of wealthy privileged toffs from the same elitist backgrounds, private fee-paying schools, and Oxbridge colleges as the politicians they pretend to be holding to account.

Mainstream media hacks know that forcing politicians to apologise for their provable lies would make great telly in the short-term, but they also know that they'd get soon blacklisted and denied special access to the Westminster elitists if they behaved like that.


If mainstream media hacks want easy access to politicians, and strategic leaks, and the latest word on rumours in the Westminster village, then they know they have to act with the deference and subservience demanded of them by the political elitists.

The subservience of the mainstream media is one of the main reasons government ministers like Dominic Raab feel so at ease lying to the British public, and the main reason you're highly unlikely to see any mainstream media interviewer forcing him to admit that he lied and suggesting that he apologise for it and set the record straight by admitting the truth.


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Thursday, 11 January 2018

Why is Nigel Farage suddenly talking in favour of a second EU referendum?


The former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has propelled himself back into the headlines by announcing that he's coming around to the idea of a second referendum on EU membership.

This is obviously quite a sensational announcement given the absolute bile Brexiters generally fling at people who suggest that perhaps the British people deserve a democratic vote once the terms and conditions of Brexit are actually known.


Most Brexiters strongly resist the idea of a second referendum because they know that the 2016 referendum was a freak result, won with a tiny minority against a backdrop of collapsing public services and stagnating wages caused by ruinous Tory austerity dogma.

Brextremists are understandably afraid that a second vote would result in a reversal of Brexit, especially in light of Theresa May's catastrophic, increasingly unpopular, and profoundly anti-democratic handling of the Brexit process so far.

The fact that Farage is going against the position held by the majority of Brexiters by suggesting a second referendum raises the obvious question of why?

If we take Farage at his word, he's claiming that a cancel-Brexit campaign fronted by the likes of Tony Blair and Nick Clegg would fail spectacularly, and anyone with a grain of political sense must be able to realise that Clegg and Blair are now so politically toxic they would undoubtedly damage any 2nd Remain campaign by association.

However, it's also worth noting that the likely leaders of the 2nd Leave campaign would also be politically toxic too. Only a fool would put their trust in the likes of Boris Johnson and Michael Gove after their "£350 for the NHS" lies, and Theresa May would be at the forefront of the whole 2nd Brexit campaign trying to argue in favour of whatever lamentable deal she's managed to cobble together.

Even taking into account the fact that Blair and Clegg are politically toxic, a second EU referendum campaign looks like an almighty risk for Brexiters, given that their likely figureheads are just as politically toxic as the their opponents.

Aside from saying that he's coming around to the idea of a second referendum, Farage said something else telling. He said that the idea of a multiple choice referendum would confuse the British people.

This is interesting because he's clearly envisioning a binary choice between just two options.

Obviously the hard-right Brextremist mob have jumped on this idea saying that the choice should be a fake Brexit or Brexit choice between whatever hard-right Tory Brexit Theresa May manages to cobble together, and a totally catastrophic "no deal" flounce out of the EU.

But this kind of ridiculous false choice is clearly not what Farage has in mind, because it's impossible that Blair or Clegg would front either of those campaigns.

Farage clearly wants to re-fight the battle all over again and win a decisive Brexit victory against those who wish to remain in the EU.

This is interesting because it indicates that he's willing to shackle himself to whatever deal Theresa May and her three Brexiteer charlatans come up with. This seems like a pretty bold gamble given the chaotic and incompetent shambles the Tories have been making of the Brexit process so far.


Farage also doesn't seem to have considered the fact that that a second Brexit vote could be seen as a way of slapping the government in the face. 

Just as huge numbers of people saw the 2016 Brexit vote as an ideal opportunity to slap David Cameron and George Osborne in the face by voting Brexit, a second referendum could easily be seen as a means of slapping Theresa May in the face, but this time by voting to lob her chaotic Brexit shambles onto the scrapheap.

One of the more compelling explanations behind Farage's U-turn on the idea of a second referendum is pure self-interest.

Ever since Farage felt the euphoria of winning the Brexit vote in June 2016 his star has been fading. He's gone from being a leader of one of the most consequential political rebellions in decades to begging unsuccessfully to be made Donald Trump's butler, backing Marine Le Pen's failed National Front presidential bid in Francespeaking at extreme-right rallies in Germany, and backing an alleged paedophile who actually managed to lose an election for the Republicans in Alabama!

Perhaps Farage wants a second referendum because he wants to be back in the limelight again?

Then there's Farage's financial backer Arron Banks who managed to build up a huge social media propaganda empire through the last EU referendum. Unlike the official Vote Leave campaign that folded up after the 2016 referendum, Banks' Leave.EU operation has continued churning out extreme-right propaganda and links to Banks' own Westmonster propaganda site ever since.

A second referendum campaign would obviously allow Banks to further expand his extreme-right propaganda empire, no matter what the final result.

All in all Farage's confidence that a second referendum would result in a landslide for Brexit seems massively over-optimistic given that such a scenario would offer the British public a chance to step back from the cliff edge, and to give Theresa May a massive slap in the face in the process.

However, whether Farage is motivated by exuberant over-confidence, or by self-interest, or just by a desperation to push himself back into the limelight, one thing is for sure; whether he intended it or not he's done a huge favour to those of us who believe democracy would be better served by a serious and properly informed Brexit referendum once the terms and conditions have been made clear, than by the hastily rushed and profoundly dishonest farce of a debate that happened in 2016.

Like him or not, Farage has completely shattered the Brextremist trope that a second referendum would be anti-democratic and against "the will of the people", because we now have one of the leading Brexiteers arguing that a second referendum would actually be a democratic opportunity to decide the situation once and for all.



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