Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Isn't it amazing how short some people's memories seem to be?

Isn't it amazing how short some people's memories seem to be?

Of Course the Labour MP Jared O'Mara's bigoted comments about female celebrities and gays back in the early 2000s were unacceptable, and he's done the right thing by apologising for making them, explaining that his views have changed and then resigning from the Equalities Committee in shame.

However it's impossible not to notice the opportunism of point-scoring Tories like Sarah Wollaston who was literally dripping with hypocrisy when she decided to tweet "Hard to see how anyone with his views was selected and retains the Labour whip. Sheffield Hallam deserves a By-election".

Is it remotely possible that Wollaston has completely forgotten about the furore over the candidate the Tory party fielded in Darlington in the election just four months ago?

Has she really forgotten how it was revealed that the Tory candidate Peter Cuthbertson had written a load of quite extraordinary blog posts attacking the women's movement, LGBT activists and ethnic minorities, praising bigots and homophobes, criticising gay public figures, and whipping up outrage about gay couples adopting children?

Does she seriously expect anyone to believe that she's completely forgotten how Theresa May (who had even made personal visits to Tory target seat of Darlington in order to support Cuthbertson) leapt immediately to his defence by insisting that "Peter has made it clear that his views have changed"?

How, other than rank partisan hypocrisy, is it possible for points-scoring Tories like Sarah Wollaston to think it fine for Cuthbertson to remain their candidate in Darlington because his views from the early 2000s have changed, but bitterly attack O'Mara for his comments in the early 2000s, despite the fact he's apologised and explained how his views have changed?

If Wollaston is serious in calling for O'Mara to be punished by the Labour Party for what he wrote 15 years ago on a Morrisey fan page, surely she should have immediately demanded Cuthbertson's resignation as the Tory parliamentary candidate for the numerous displays of much more calculated bigotry he had posted on his blog "Conservative Commentary"?

Of course Wollaston would never have called for a fellow Tory party candidate to resign in the middle of a general election because it would have harmed the Tories' election campaign by drawing much more attention to a dirty little scandal the Tories were busy trying to bury.

It shouldn't really matter whether you think politicians should be harshly punished for the things they wrote on the Internet long before they became parliamentary candidates, or whether you think they should be given the benefit of the doubt when they express regret and state that their views have changed.

What matters is consistency. If you're going to howl outrage over the issue, then be consistent. Howl just as much outrage even when it's a member of your own political party. And if you're going to give your political allies the benefit of the doubt, then you absolutely must give the benefit of the doubt to your political foes too.

Anything else is just the worst kind of cheap partisan point-scoring. And worse too; it's an example of hypocritically piggybacking your personal political biases onto important issues like women's rights and the LGBT equality movement that affect the lives of millions of actual people.

In my view this kind of grotesquely hypocritical grandstanding from the likes of Sarah Wollaston is actually much more sickening than the fact that a couple of politicians said bigoted things years before they decided to stand for parliament, but now claim to have grown up and moved on from their bigotry. 

This kind of point-scoring hypocrisy is worse because it exists in the present moment, not in the early 2000s like Cuthbertson and O'Mara's bigoted comments, and because this kind of integrity-deficient and highly partisan party political point scoring is one of the ugliest and most apathy inducing things about the current state of British politics.

Another issue to consider is why nobody in the mainstream media has bothered to draw parallels between these two remarkably similar cases. It's almost as if there's a deliberate agenda to create a narrative of Labour Party bigotry, which means a remarkably similar story of Tory party bigotry from just four months ago needs to be flushed down the collective memory hole, because noting the similarities would obviously destabilise the intended narrative.

Aside from clocking the repulsive hypocrisy of opportunistic Tories cashing in on this O'Mara scandal when their own party leader was making excuses just four months ago when one of their own Tory colleagues got busted for posting much more calculated examples of bigotry, and the remarkably suspicious forgetfulness of the mainstream media, there's also an important lesson for all of us.

Be careful what you post on the Internet kids. Because who knows what direction your life might have taken in a decade or two, and who knows who might consider it beneficial to go trawling through your Internet history to find damning comments you'd all but forgotten about making.

Whether it's a future political opponent, a disgusting muck-raker like Guido Fawkes, a potential employer digging around in your past, or someone with an interest in forcing you out of your job or wrecking your personal relationships. It should be pretty damned obvious that any careless/tasteless/bigoted/intolerant/extreme-right comments you make today could always come back to bite you in the arse in the future, because the Internet doesn't forget.

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Monday, 23 October 2017

Tory MPs are struggling to explain the abrupt Tory conversion to Corbynite investment economics

The Tory party have decided to openly pilfer one of Jeremy Corbyn's core economic policies, and in order to defend this astounding U-turn on borrowing to fund public investment, they've resorted to bizarre displays of meaningless economically illiterate jabbering.

This latest screeching U-turn came when the Tory Communities Minister Sajid Javid announced that the government should borrow money to invest in building affordable housing.

The reason this investment strategy is such a massive U-turn is that it completely contradicts the insane Tory austerity narrative, which relies on the economically illiterate fairy story that the only way to balance the national budget is to impose harsh across the board cuts in spending on public infrastructure and services.

After Ed Miliband and Ed Balls torpedoed Labour's chances of winning the 2015 General Election with their insipid and catastrophically uninspiring "austerity-lite" campaign, Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour leader and began to inject some actual economic sense into the political debate, including a clear manifesto commitment to invest money in the construction of affordable housing.

Under Jeremy Corbyn Labour have never suggested that the national finances can be resolved by just turning on the money taps and splurging on whatever, they've proposed a costed programme of investment in things that actually generate more economic activity in the long run than they cost. Stuff like affordable housing, public infrastructure, transport, and education.

The backbone of Labour's economic policy is the concept of the investment based recovery. The idea that you can't cure the economy by wildly slashing spending as if all forms of government investment are essentially waste, but that it takes a process of identifying which areas of spending create good returns on investment to invest more in, while restricting spending cuts to areas that create poor returns on investment.

It's astounding to see the Tory party come so late to the investment based recovery game after imposing their socially and economically ruinous austerity dogma for seven torturous years and overseeing the lowest rate of house building since the early 1920s.

By suddenly admitting that the nation needs to borrow to invest in affordable housing, the Tories are essentially demonstrating that the critics of their ruinous austerity agenda were absolutely right all along. And they're also proving that their ideologically driven cuts to housing, infrastructure spending, and public services were driven purely by ideology, not by need.

We all know that had Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party announced a strategy of borrowing some £50 billion to create affordable housing last year, the Tories and their bully boys in the right-wing press would undoubtedly have all shrieked in unison "reckless spendthrift Marxism", but because this kind of investment economics is suddenly a Tory policy, they're completely wrong-footed and floundering.

This latest screeching Tory U-turn has created confusion and panic amongst Tory MPs. For seven years they've been defending their ludicrous "let's cut our way to growth" austerity agenda and slandering anyone who talks of investment economics as if they're crazed far-left madmen. So they're now struggling desperately to align their anti-Labour propaganda with this complete reversal of their own position in order to actually imitate Jeremy Corbyn's headline economic approach.

The Tory MP Nick Boles exemplified this confusion and panic over this Tory adoption of a Corbynite economic strategy in an absolute mess of a Tweet in which he said "[The] key difference between borrowing to build houses and borrowing to fund deficit: house building creates new assets which can act as security".

The first thing to note is that "borrowing to fund deficit" is absolutely meaningless gibberish because funding or creating a deficit is precisely the result of borrowing, so he's comparing the suddenly pilfered Labour policy of borrowing to invest with the policy of borrowing for the sake of borrowing which he's just plucked straight out of his arse.

The next thing to note is that the borrowing to invest strategy he's suddenly found himself having to defend is precisely the kind of economic strategy the Tories were ferociously attacking during the 2017 election with demeaning economic baby talk like "there is no magic money tree" and absolute idiot fodder like comparisons between the national economy and a simple household budget.

The next thing to note is that Boles' actual reason supporting this sudden Tory conversion to Corbynite investment economics is pure gobbledygook. There are many good reasons that investment in affordable housing is good for the economy, not least jobs growth (architects, engineers, builders, electricians, plumbers, labourers ...), increased demand for building materials and tools (secondary job growth), and increases in aggregate economic demand (as the people employed to build the houses spend their wages, and younger generations are released from the penury of rip-off private sector rents as they move into affordable housing).

Boles' clever-sounding "new assets = security" reason on the other hand is precisely the kind of half-arsed drivel you'd expect from someone who has been completely wrong-footed by suddenly having to defend the kind of economic strategy he's spent the last seven years furiously attacking.

The big problem the Tories are facing now is the exactly the same kind of problem faced by Ed Miliband and Ed Balls back in 2015. 

When the two Eds came up with austerity-lite, the average punter was left wondering why on earth they should vote for Labour's meek imitation of austerity when they could have the real thing from the Tories. 

Now that the Tories are openly mimicking Jeremy Corbyn's investment economics with investment-lite, the average punter is surely going to end up wondering why they should pick the Tories' weak and opportunistic ersatz version of investment economics when they can have the real thing from people who actually believe in it.

Presumably Nick Boles and his ilk believe that ordinary people are such uneducated halfwits that they won't even spot that by 
encroaching on Jeremy Corbyn's economic territory the Tories have performed yet another massive screeching U-turn, and furthermore they clearly imagine that us plebs must be so thick we'll just forget all about seven years of socially and economically devastating Tory austerity madness because they've rapidly cobbled together some half-arsed pseudo-economic gobbledygook on Twitter to justify its sudden abandonment. 

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Sunday, 22 October 2017

What's worse than 7 years of impoverishing women with discriminatory austerity dogma?

I'm going to start off by saying that Labour's Clive Lewis did something really stupid. It doesn't matter that he said the word "bitch" to a man, any elected politician should be aware that gender specific insults are not fine.

It's important to note that Lewis has admitted his mistake, issued an unequivocal public apology and he certainly won't be making the same error of judgement again. 

Now we get to some of the people kicking up a stink about Clive Lewis' use of the word "bitch".

I'm certainly not the first to point out that the right-wing slobs at the Guido Fawkes blog have built a castle on quicksand when it comes to manufacturing outrage about the use of the word "bitch". The Guido Twitter feed is absolutely littered with uses of that word, and they have a sickening track record of dishing out misogynistic abuse against women, including Paul Staines posting a picture of himself in bed with a cardboard cutout of Diane Abbott, attempts to ruin the lives of two very young female Labour Party activists (1 & 2), and an absolute tide of misogynistic abuse hurled at Dawn Foster by Guido acolytes just because she was sitting next to Clive Lewis at the time.

The synthetic outrage from the Tory benches is even more sickening than that of the hypocritical Guido Fawkes shit-slingers.

Tories don't actually give a damn about women and feminist issues, if they did they wouldn't have imposed 86% of the burden of their hard-right austerity dogma onto women. They wouldn't have introduced the vile "rape clause", and they certainly wouldn't be championing a misogynistic throwback who believes in forced pregnancy for the victims of rape and incest as one of their frontrunners to replace Theresa May when they finally decide to stop using her as a human bullet shield.

All the Tories care about is weaponising feminist language in order to smear their political opponents. 

If they really care so much about use of the word "bitch" that they want an urgent debate on Clive Lewis for using the word at a man, where were all the calls from Tory MPs for an urgent debate on misogynistic language when the Scottish Tory MP David Mundell was filmed calling Yvette Cooper a bitch last year? Where were the calls for an urgent debate on misogyny when Theresa May decided to quote a vile misogynistic extreme-right Twitter troll in parliament in order to score cheap political points against Jeremy Corbyn?

Of course these opportunistic Tories don't care that one of their colleagues was filmed calling a woman a bitch, or that their leader thought it fine to quote a depraved extreme-right misogynist in parliament. Because to them countering misogyny isn't the point.

Of course the Tories don't care that Clive Lewis has already apologised. Because to them a man learning a lesson about the continued pervasiveness of sexism and sexist language in the 21st Century and apologising about it isn't the point.

Of course the Tories don't care that Clive Lewis has done more to try to actually improve women's lives than they ever have (or ever will) by consistently opposing their ideological obsession with misogynistic austerity dogma. Because to them actively working to improve the lives of ordinary women isn't the point.

They don't care because literally the only value feminist issues actually have to them is as an excuse to launch opportunistic political attacks on one of their opponents before they immediately get back to their day job of actively and consciously impoverishing millions of ordinary women through their obsession with austerity dogma, and forcing rape victims to recount their trauma or face financial punishment.

Hopefully this desperately cynical opportunism backfires on them. Firstly because feminism is the kind of "social justice warrior" stuff that sickens the regressive tabloid-reading hard-right Blue-kipper demographic (which makes up a significant proportion of their voter base these days). And secondly because any remotely sensible feminist knows that a Labour politician using the word "bitch" at a man and then apologising for it is absolutely outweighed by the disgraceful Tory track record of spending seven punishing years actively discriminating against millions of ordinary women with their sexist austerity policies.

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Imagine if the Catalan situation was happening in Scotland

One of the easiest ways to get an idea of how extreme the situation in Catalonia is, just imagine if the same scenario had been playing out in Scotland.

If this was happening in Scotland

Imagine that Nicola Sturgeon had used her democratic mandate from the Scottish parliament to unilaterally call another independence referendum, and that Theresa May's responses were to launch a sustained campaign of cyber attacks against the Scottish government and pro-independence websites.

Let's say that the cyber-attacks were an inconvenience, but the referendum went ahead anyway, so on the day of the referendum Theresa May sent thousands of police from English forces into Scotland to steal ballot boxes, drag women out of polling stations by their hair, beat up Scottish pensioners, and brutally attack crowds of non-violent Scottish civilians, all recorded by onlookers and broadcast to the world via social media.

Let's say that Theresa May refused to condemn, or even acknowledge the violence.

Then let's say that the Queen makes a speech in which she also refuses to condemn the violence, and blames the Scottish government, and the Scottish people for what is happening, and in front of a portrait of Henry VIII (who sent Edward Seymour to pillage and slaughter in Scotland).

Now let's say that a loud-mouthed member of Theresa May's cabinet decided to issue a veiled death threat against Nicola Sturgeon, but Theresa May and the Tories refuse to reprimand, let alone sack the blabber-mouthed gibbon who made the threats.

Now let's say that the ruling establishment in London decide to arrest the heads of civic Scottish independence groups (Common Weal, Radical Independence Campaign) and imprisoned them without trial.

Let's say that in response to calls for dialogue from Nicola Sturgeon, Theresa May's next move is to continue refusing to talk, and to actually collude with Jeremy Corbyn in order to shut down the Scottish parliament, take over control of the Scottish police force, and impose direct Westminster rule on Scottish broadcast media.

Do you think this sequence of events would crush Scotland into submission to London rule, or do you think it would probably have completely the opposite effect?

Similarities and differences

Of course it's not possible to draw exact parallels, but the similarities are uncanny. Both Theresa May and Mariano Rajoy are hard-right Prime Ministers with too few MPs to form a majority government. Both are far too weak to sack ministers who speak out of line (Boris Johnson and Pablo Cascado who issued the veiled death threat against the Catalan President spring to mind). Additionally both the Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon have established clear democratic mandates from their own parliaments to hold referendums on independence.

There are a few obvious differences too though. Although Scotland has obviously suffered tragic levels of economic neglect at the hands of the Westminster establishment, and been used as a testing ground for vile Tory policies like Poll Tax and the Bedroom Tax, they haven't suffered anything like the scale of repression that Catalans have. It's important to remember that within living memory Catalonia was ruled from Madrid by the fascist Franco dictatorship who banned the Catalan language, executed the Catalan President (Lluís Companys), and tried to eradicate the Catalan cultural identity.

Another major difference is that although I believe in the abolition of the British monarchy, I'm reasonably confident that the British royal family would not be anything like as foolish and unstatesmanlike as king Felipe. Although their inclination would obviously be to side with the Westminster establishment, there's no way they would make such an obviously biased political intervention. Even if Theresa May pleaded with the Queen to do it, she would be unlikely to agree to dramatically escalate the situation by spewing British nationaist rhetoric, condemning Scotland and the Scottish people, and actually doing it in front of a portrait of one of her ancestors who attacked and repressed the people of Scotland.

And one other obvious difference is that although Jeremy Corbyn opposes Scottish independence, there's absolutely no way he'd imitate the mistake of the Spanish socialist leader Pedro Sánchez by colluding with Theresa May to shut down the Scottish parliament, seize control of the Scottish police, and impose Westminster rule on Scottish broadcasters. Love him or hate him, Corbyn has stuck by his principles for decades, so anything other than calls for dialogue and deescalation would be a massive betrayal of the hundreds of thousands of people who have flocked to the Labour Party to support his leadership.


Although it's obviously impossible to draw an exact parallel between what is happening in Catalonia, and what could be imposed on Scotland if Nicola Sturgeon were to push on with another independence referendum, there are many similarities.

Just imagine for a moment that the Westminster political class responded in a similar manner to the way the Spanish nationalists in Madrid have (cyber war, violent repression of non-violent Scots by English police, taking of political prisoners, Tory government ministers issuing death threats, abolition of the Scottish parliament, and politically motivated take overs of the Scottish police and broadcast media).

Do you think the Scottish people would take this lying down and meekly submit to continued London rule? Or do you think this kind of violent and profoundly anti-democratic display of British nationalism would have precisely the opposite effect and fuel the campaign for Scottish independence?

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Saturday, 21 October 2017

The reinvention of Rupert Myers as a far-left Corbynist

It's obvious that whether a man is a a self-entitled sex pest or not has pretty much nothing to do with his professed political orientation, but the way the political left and the political right deal with accusations of sexual misconduct differ wildly.

The most obvious high profile examples to chose from are the different fates of the liberal film producer Harvey Weinstein who is being shunned and ostracised by the liberal-left after the torrent of allegations about his appalling behaviour towards women, and Donald Trump who was actually elected President with the support of right-wingers and even evangelical Christians, despite numerous allegations of sexual misconduct against him and an actual recording of him bragging about how he feels entitled to grope and molest women.

The contrast between the American liberal-left's rejection of Weinstein and the conservative right's continued embrace of Trump, even after his taped confession became public, couldn't be starker.

In Britain a very similar scenario has played out with two journalists who have been outed as creepy sex pests, one from the left and one from the right.

Admittedly Sam Kriss and Rupert Myers are hardly household names, but the very different reactions to their behaviour are very telling indeed.

Both men have been accused of sexual misconduct, both issued cringeworthy apologies for their completely inappropriate behaviour, and both have been dropped by at least one of their employers (Kriss was dropped by Vice and Myers by GQ magazine).

There is very little sympathy for Sam Kriss from the left, with several high profile members of the trendy lefty set condemning his behaviour and expressing solidarity with the victim of his inappropriate sexual conduct, but the reaction on the right towards Rupert Myers has been an absolutely bizarre propaganda effort to reinvent Myers as a lefty!

Make no mistake about it, Rupert Myers is a right-winger. Not only has he written for numerous intensely right-wing publications (Daily Mail, Telegraph, Spectator), he's also served as the Deputy Chairman of the Bermondsey & Old Southwark Conservative Association and written numerous blog posts for the Tory party website Conservative Home.

Yet now that he's been outed as a creepy sex pest the Internet is suddenly crawling with right-wingers attempting to pretend that Myers is some kind of extreme-left Corbynist social justice warrior!

Instead of accepting that the problem of sexual harassment isn't actually a left/right issue at all, many on the political right are determined to weaponise the issue as an attack on the political left, even if that means redefining an actual Tory party activist as some kind of hard-left militant in order to spew their partisan venom.

I'm not aware of anyone at all on the left who has tried to suddenly disown Sam Kriss and pretend that he was always some kind of raving hard-right Ukipper because his creepy behaviour has been made public, but a lot of people on the right have no such willingness to accept the fact that one of theirs is a sex pest too.

Just look at these ridiculous examples of right-wing revisionists (James Delingpole and Breitbart) suddenly trying to pretend that the active Tory party member Rupert Myers was on the far-left of the political spectrum just because he's been publicly accused of being a sex pest.

But to get an idea of how many right-wingers are actively spreading the ludicrous lie that Rupert Myers is some kind of spokesperson for the far-left, take a look at the comments beneath the execrable Spiked article about the pair entitled "The Twittermob just went from irritating to dangerous" by the victim-blaming Spiked editor Brendan O'Neill. Here's a selection:

So according to the kind of furious right-wing blowhard male who hangs about in Spiked comments threads, we're all supposed to believe that an active member of the Tory party and former Daily Mail columnist is actually a "puritainical left-wing", "social justice warrior", "middle-class lefty", "Corbynist blowhard" just because he got caught out being a sex pest!

I would never use the sexual misconduct of a creep like Myers to attack the political right because they give us plenty of real ammunition with stuff like their obsession with socially and economically ruinous austerity dogma, their systematic abuse of disabled people, and their zeal for flogging off public assets to their mega-rich mates

However the reality-reversing propaganda that right-wingers are spewing all over the Internet about how Tory-boy Myers is some kind of extreme-left Corbynist just because he got outed as a creepy sex pest illustrates the frankly delusional lengths these right-wing revisionists will go to in order to maintain their childishly absolutist fantasy that absolutely everything nasty is by definition left-wing, even if the nasty thing is clearly, obviously and demonstrably one of their own.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Friday, 20 October 2017

How mainstream media churnalism works

One of the most common complaints about the mainstream media is the way that instead of holding the powerful to account, a significant proportion of these so-called journalists are more than happy to act as mouthpieces for governments, corporations, bankers, arms dealers, and billionaires.

Here's a fantastic example of a mainstream media hack lazily regurgitating a press release from a press agency representing the interests of the multinational biotechnology corporation Monsanto, and presenting it to readers as if it's news.

Here's a screen shot of the press release (link here)

And here's a screen shot of the article published in The S*n (no way am I posting a link to that vile right-wing propaganda rag, Google it yourself if you really want to look at the whole thing)

Notice how the S*n article copies the rhetoric of the press release word for word. If you take the time to look at the whole article, the entire thing is cut n' pasted from the press release, without the slightest effort to introduce any balance or critical analysis whatever.

Aside from the fact that the S*n writer Carl Stroud is absolutely taking the piss claiming a salary for apparently doing nothing more than cut n' pasting press releases instead of actually writing articles himself, this is about as clear a demonstration of what is wrong with modern mainstream media journalism as it's possible to see.

If mainstream media journalists are prepared to simply cut n' paste press releases from major corporations, then it's beyond obvious that they do it with press releases from the government too.

Tony Blair and Alistair Campbell were masters at manipulating the press, because they realised that if they fed journalists press releases in the form of pre-written articles, they'd just lazily rehash the government message instead of doing any real investigative work.

The Tories continued this tactic when they came to power, and that's why it was so uncommon to see anything resembling sustained criticism of the Tories' economically ruinous obsession with hard-right austerity dogma, because loads of so-called journalists were just lazily rehashing government press releases instead of actually doing the hard work of trying to hold the ruling class to account.

There's a growing level of groupthink amongst mainstream media pundits to furiously attack independent media or anyone who dares criticise the woeful standard of so much mainstream media journalism, but rather than bitterly attack their critics and self-righteously pose as the poor innocent victims, maybe mainstream media hacks should take a good long look at examples like this to get an idea of why more and more people are getting completely hacked off with mainstream media outlets, and are turning to independent media sources for their political analysis instead?

Credit to George Monbiot for originally spotting that the press release and the article in The S*n were identical.
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The Spanish political establishment are plotting to attack Catalan political and social autonomy

The right-wing Spanish governing party (PP) and the pseudo-socialist opposition party (PSOE) have announced that they've concocted a plan to seize control of the autonomous region of Catalonia.

Just days after the Catalan President Carles Puigdemont decided to disappoint the secessionist movement by appealing for talks with the Spanish government instead of unilaterally declaring independence (like he said he would before the referendum), the response of the Spanish political class has been to completely ignore the calls for dialogue, and to further escalate the situation by threatening to launch a Spanish nationalist power grab in the region.

The Article 155 plan that the two main Spanish political parties have concocted isn't just to scrap the Catalan parliament and impose Madrid rule until new elections are held, they've also decided to take over local Catalan language TV and radio stations (TV3 and Catalunya Ràdio), and take over running of the Catalan police force (los Mossos) [source - in Catalan].

The reason the Spanish political establishment in Madrid want to exert control over the Catalan police is obvious. They're furious that the Mossos didn't join in with the Guardia Civil and Federal Police to violently repress the October 1st independence vote. In fact the Mossos were actually seen protecting non-violent civilians from the brutality of the Spanish police, and the head of the Mossos was hauled to Madrid to be questioned on trumped up "sedition" charges. 

The reason the Spanish nationalists in Madrid want control of Catalan media is even more obvious. They want to exert as much influence as possible over the Catalan public in order to influence the outcome of the election they're forcing.

They're obviously trying to claim that they're only planning to take over these broadcast organisations to "enforce neutrality", but the extreme lack of neutrality of those plotting this move was betrayed by the PSOE polotician Carmen Calvo who accused the Catalan President of "mounting a revolution against democracy"

It takes a massive amount of chutzpah to make an accusation like that when you're the one who is plotting to force the closure of a democratically elected parliament and to seize control of broadcast organisations, and just weeks after your allies in the plot sent police in to brutally attack non-violent citizens and actually steal ballot boxes!

The problem is that this plot to seize control of TV stations and radio waves is a very 20th Century approach to mass indoctrination.

There's absolutely no way Catalans are going to take this attack on their autonomy lying down, and if their local TV and radio stations suddenly begin spewing endless pro-Madrid propaganda, they're hardly likely to remain silent about it on social media, or in the streets, cafes, and bars of Catalonia.

Sure, seizing control of broadcasters worked a treat back in the 1970s for the likes of the brutal Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet, but in order for the indoctrination efforts to work these days the Spanish political establishment are clearly going to have to significantly increase the cyber-warfare tactics that they deployed against the referendum organisers in September 2017, including the kinds of social media clampdowns witnessed in dictatorships like Turkey and Egypt.

In any other country this kind of anti-democratic scheming would be seen as a political coup d'etat, but somehow there is very little outrage over this outright attack on Catalan political and social autonomy that the Spanish nationalist parties are plotting.

The EU have continued to do nothing to intervene, even after the grotesque displays of state violent state repression of EU citizens during the October 1st independence referendum, and neither have the governments of other supposedly liberal democratic European states like Germany, France, the United Kingdom or Italy.

The craziest thing of all is that this continuous escalation from the Spanish nationalist establishment (cyber-warfare, violent police repression, the taking of political prisoners, veiled death threats from Spanish government ministers, the abolition of democratic Catalan autonomy, seizure of Catalan broadcast organisations ...) is exactly the kind of behaviour that is likely to drive more and more non-partisan Catalan civilians into the welcoming arms of Catalan secessionist parties, who can easily position themselves as the moderate non-violent democrats in this kind of situation.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


A simple question for pro-Brexit Tories

Here's a simple question for pro-Brexit Tories.

Let's assume for a moment that the Tory strategy of continually talking up how great a "no deal" Brexit would be is a simple ploy to frighten the EU27 into giving the UK a good Brexit deal.

Of course many would argue that a ruinous "no deal" cliff edge Brexit is actually the desired Tory endgame, because it would cause a de facto coup (the Tory government would have total free rein to scrap citizens' rights and liberties, and to rewrite thousands of laws to their own benefit) and it would trigger an unprecedented frenzy of disaster capitalism (mega-rich speculators picking up distressed British assets on the cheap like vultures stripping a carcass). But let's leave this suspicion to one side, and pretend that the only possible reason for Tory ministers to continually talk up how fantastic a "no deal"  Brexit would be is to goad the EU into giving the UK a great Brexit deal.

If this is true, and there are no ulterior motives (rights-scrapping, asset-stripping ...), perhaps some Tory Brexit supporters could explain why the Tory government is steadfastly refusing to release any of the economic impact assessments they've done on the economic consequences of a "no deal" Brexit?

If the "no deal" Brexit scenario is as fantastic as Tory ministers keep claiming, then why won't they back up their assertions by showing us some supporting evidence?

Oh - and don't use that pathetic excuse the right-wing propaganda rags have been peddling about "not revealing our hand" in order to avoid weakening the UK negotiating position.

If "no deal" would be as fantastic as Tory ministers keep claiming, some actual evidence to that effect obviously wouldn't weaken the UK negotiating position at all.

Providing some evidence to back their stance would actually significantly strengthen the UK negotiating position by showing that the alternative to the EU providing a favourable deal to the UK would be perfectly fine for the UK economy, meaning there would be no point at all in the EU offering a bad deal.

I'm not asking this question to be some kind of smart arse. I'm genuinely baffled by the Tory negotiating stance. If they have actual evidence to back up their assertions that "no deal" would be fine, then it would make absolute sense to publish it. However if they don't have any actual evidence that "no deal" would be as great as they keep claiming, then they're lying to the EU27 (a completely empty bluff is a shockingly poor negotiation strategy) and they're also lying to the British public (which is likely to cost them dear if they back themselves into triggering a "no deal" Brexit and it turns out to be an economic disaster).

So, being careful to avoid glib and fundamentally nonsensical excuses about "not revealing our hand", could you explain why the Tories are refusing to release the impact assessments they have (or haven't) done on the economic consequences of triggering a "no deal" Brexit?

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