Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Do Brexiters love sinister corporate power grabs or not?

I'm pretty sure we all remember how Brexiters chose to fearmonger about TTIP in order to sell the case for Brexit. The argument against the TTIP corporate power grab is a very strong one, so it's no wonder Brexiters jumped on the anti-TTIP bandwagon.

One of the worst aspects of TTIP is the inclusion of sovereignty destroying ISDS components that would allow multinational corporations to completely bypass the democratic and judicial systems of any countries that have signed up to it in order to sue governments in secretive transnational tribunals. This means that if any democratic government introduces new legislation that multinational corporations don't like (plain packaging on cigarette packs, environmental protection laws, product safety standards, consumer rights, improved workers' rights ...) then the multinational corporations could extract £billions in compensation from the taxpayer in secretive transnational tribunals operated by a tiny band of extremely highly paid, mainly US based, corporate lawyers and arbiters.

It didn't matter how many times people like me pointed out that although TTIP is a very bad idea, it would have to be approved by every national government in the EU before it could be implemented. It didn't matter that we pointed out that the Greek government had already sworn to veto it. It didn't matter that we pointed out that the left-leaning governments in Portugal and France would be extremely unlikely to endorse it either. It didn't matter that we pointed out the massive scale of pan-European opposition to TTIP ... it was a fabulous anti-EU attack point for the Brexiters to use, and they did in their thousands.

Brexiters opportunistically jumped onto the anti-TTIP bandwagon despite the fact that the Brexit movement was driven by hard-right fanatics like Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, John Redwood and Iain Duncan Smith who would just love to see British sovereignty completely over-written by a corporate take-over charter like TTIP. Before the Brexit vote the Tory party was one of the biggest cheerleaders for TTIP in the whole of the EU. Boris Johnson even wrote articles lavishing TTIP with praise and savagely condemning anyone who dared to criticise any aspect of it!

It should have been absolutely clear to any anti-TTIP Brexiter that handing even more power to the hard-right fringe of the Tory party by voting for Brexit would give them a perfect opportunity to ram through hard-right corporate power grabs to make TTIP look like a walk in the park, and without any democratic avenues to fight back against it either. Sadly lots of Brexiters just bought into the anti-EU rhetoric and chose to believe that that people like Boris Johnson (who so loved the idea of TTIP until a few weeks before his Brexit conversion) are genuinely concerned about protecting British sovereignty and "taking back control"!

Fast forward a few months and the adoption of another EU transnational corporate power grab called CETA is being stalled by three regional governments in Belgium. Three of the six Belgian federal parliaments have objected to this deal with Canada (the Wallonia region, the Brussels-Capital region, and the French community) so Belgium will not be able to sign up to it.

This deal between the EU and Canada contains exactly the same kind of shady ISDS tribunals as TTIP. It's precisely these sovereignty destroying ISDS components that are the main objection of Belgian politicians like Paul Magnette who have led the opposition to CETA.

The reaction from Brexiters has been comically hypocritical. They're now trying to claim that the CETA is a great thing and that the EU is a basket case for allowing regional democratic parliaments to obstruct this supposedly marvellous deal!

Before the referendum it was pretty much impossible to find a Brexiter who would argue in favour of TTIP because criticising TTIP conformed with their anti-EU agenda. Just a few months later it's pretty much impossible to find a Brexiter who will admit that CETA is exactly the same kind of sovereignty destroying corporate power grab as TTIP. Additionally the facts that regional parliaments in Belgium can obstruct it, and that all national governments will have a veto on its implementation are suddenly signs that the EU is "utterly dysfunctional", not conclusive proof that the EU isn't half as anti-democratic as the Brexiters were shrieking a few months ago.

What the hell do these Brexiters want? A few months ago they were telling us that corporate power grabs were evil and unacceptable attacks on our democratic sovereignty in order to push their anti-EU agenda. Now they're telling us that giant corporate power grabs are the absolute bees knees and the EU is a totally dysfanctional basket case because individual member states and federal regions can assert their democratic sovereignty to obstruct them!

Either the EU is a giant anti-democratic behemoth which imposes sinister corporate power grabs against member states' wills, or it's a democratic organisation that allows member states to obstruct wonderful, amazing. brilliant, marvellous corporate power grabs. It just can't be both.

It seems to boil down to this. If progress towards a massive corporate power grab can be used to attack the EU, then hoards of Brexiters will do it ... but if the democratic obstruction of another massive corporate power grab by Belgian regional parliaments can be used to attack the EU, then hoards of Brexiters will do that too.

The double dose of hypocrisy is absolutely searing. Before the referendum Brexiters told us that corporate power grabs are terrible, but now they're out in force to describe CETA as the bees knees, and before the referendum they wouldn't shut up about the importance of democracy and national sovereignty, but now that Belgium is asserting its democratic sovereignty within the EU they're shrieking "dysfunctional", "basket case", "red tape nightmare", "the EU is broken" ...

This multi-layered Brexiter hypocrisy is a perfect illustration of the blinkered and anti-intellectual ideological puritanism that is toxifying British politics. Screw the facts, screw the politics, screw the economic indicators, screw the experts, screw the evidence, screw rational consideration, screw ideological consistency, screw the consequences ... As far as millions of people are now concerned the EU is pure evil and they are determined to attack it from every angle, 
no matter how utterly hypocritical they make their cause look in the process.

 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.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Are the Daily Mail deliberately ridiculing their own readers?

The Daily Mail has been stirring up outrage and hatred about the fact that some of the tiny number of teenage refugees accepted into Britain look older than they are.

The idea of inciting hatred against refugees who look older than they are is bad enough in its own right, but to run a front page story inciting outrage about teenagers who look older than they are alongside a story that celebrates a 15 year old girl for looking older than she is and drools over her "sophistication" and "jaw dropping bone structure" is extraordinary stuff.

There seem to be two possible options here.

Either the Daily Mail editorial staff are so stupid that they were incapable of spotting the cognitive dissonance inducing juxtaposition of their hate campaign against old-looking teenage migrants next to a piece that drools all over a 15 year old girl for looking grown-up and sophisticated.

Or the Daily Mail editorial team are deliberately taking the piss out of their readership by juxtaposing the two things so they can have a good laugh about how Daily Mail readers are so damned stupid that they're completely immune to cognitive dissonance.

Show them pictures of foreign teenage boys who look older than their age and they'll seethe with xenophobic hatred, but  show them a pretty teenage girl who looks older than she is right next to the hate campaign and they'll get so hard over her that they'll fail to even spot the hypocrisy.

Either the Daily Mail staff are too thick to spot their own hypocrisy, or more likely they're deliberately taking the piss out of their readers by demonstrating that they can publish pretty much anything, no matter how tasteless or hypocritical, and their readers will continue to lap it up.

 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.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Did RBS Group shut down RT's bank accounts to send a message?

In October 2016 NatWest (which is a subsidiary of the majority taxpayer owned RBS Group) took the extraordinary decision to shut down the bank accounts of the Russian broadcaster RT.

In the week before the RBS Group's NatWest subsidiary took the decision to obstruct the operation of RT by scrapping their bank accounts, one of the banking group's biggest scandals was back in the news. Leaked documents showed that the bank had been systematically destroying and asset stripping thousands of British businesses for their own profit. The leaks revealed that the bank was so brazen about its GRG asset-stripping operation that they even referred to it as
 the "dash for cash" and offered cash bonuses to bank staff for identifying businesses that were ripe for asset-stripping.

Back in 2014 when the asset-stripping activities of the RBS Global Restructuring Group first came to prominence RT hosted some extraordinary criticism of the bank. In one episode of the Keiser Report the host accused the bank of being "financial terrorists" and then conducted a scathing 15 minute interview with Neil Mitchell who has been fighting for justice ever since the GRG destroyed and asset-stripped his business.

In the wake of the scandal RBS managed to deflect most of the criticism and avoided criminal investigations into their conduct by repeatedly assuring parliament, the financial regulators and the public that the Global Restructuring Group was "not a profit centre" and that they'd just been trying to help the 12,000 UK businesses that went through the process.

After the Global Restructuring Group leak in October 2016 the Keiser Report went into attack mode again pointing out that the leaked documents totally contradicted the assurances given 27 times in parliament by RBS executives that GRG was "not a profit centre". Within a week of RT running this criticism, the RBS subsidiary NatWest decided to shut down all of RT's bank accounts.

It seems extraordinarily unlikely that RBS Group decided to scrap RT's bank accounts for financial reasons. The idea that Russia would ever allow their most influential international broadcaster to get into severe financial difficulties is ludicrous. So if the decision wasn't made for economic reasons, it seems likely it was made for political reasons.
When the news broke speculation abounded that the decision was part of a government strategy of toughening relations with Putin's Russia, but the UK Treasury (which owns a 73% stake in RBS Group) quickly denied responsibility for the decision to obstruct the operation of RT, which, if true, means the decision was entirely in the hands of RBS Group executives.

This is bad for two reasons. The first and most obvious reason is that the decision to shut down the bank accounts of a broadcaster that has been highly critical of their banking group sends a chilling message to the rest of the media: "If you dare to criticise the big banks we can make life very very difficult for you". Even if RBS Group tries to claim* that the decision to scrap RTs banking facilities has nothing to do with RT's strong criticism of the RBS Group and their GRG asset-stripping operation, the message to the rest of the media is still loud and clear.

The second reason this is bad is that the UK Treasury is claiming that it didn't have any say over a decision taken by a bank that is still 73% owned by the taxpayer, despite the obvious political and diplomatic ramifications. The fact that RBS Group could make a decision like this without any form of consultation with the government, despite the fact they're 73% owned by the taxpayer, is yet more proof that the nationalisation of RBS was a catastrophic mistake. Not only did a taxpayer owned bank apparently go around asset-stripping some 12,000 British businesses to boost their own profits, they've now taken to making decisions with major political and diplomatic ramifications without the slightest effort to consult the government.

Maybe the RBS decision to provoke Russia into taking tit-for-tat action against British broadcasters suits maniacs like the Tory MP Andrew Mitchell who wants to trigger World War III by shooting down Russian jets over Syria. But anyone with any sense should know that enraging the Russian bear is a daft idea at the beat of times, but when you've just spent the last six years savagely cutting your conventional military capabilities and you're in the midst of an enormous self-inflicted diplomatic and economic crisis, it's staggeringly idiotic.

The British taxpayer has lost £billions on the RBS "investment", and what is worse is that all of that money was poured into the bank with no strings attached, meaning the very same executives who wrecked the bank in the first place were completely free to carry on inflicting even more carnage on the UK economy and the rest of the world by asset-stripping thousands of British businesses, rigging the Libor rate, rigging currency markets, financing the manufacture of cluster bombs, sanction-busting, misselling complex financial products to members of the publicmoney laundering, committing fraud against their own customers, tax-dodging and now provoking a major diplomatic incident by shutting down the banking facilities of a critical media organisation without even bothering to check with the government first.

 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.


* = Who on earth would be gullible enough to believe the claims of RBS executives after they repeatedly lied to parliament about the GRG not being a profit centre?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sorry about the clickbait

I recently logged onto Another Angry Voice from a browser without any Ad Blocker extensions and was horrified to find my site blathered in appalling Taboola sponsored clickbait links.

This clickbait rubbish was added to my site automatically (and without my consent) by the external Disqus system I use to host the site's comments threads. I've looked into it and they'd apparently been adding these appalling Taboola sponsored clickbait links to Another Angry Voice since some time in mid September 2016.

I have adjusted the Disqus settings to get rid of the clickbait now, but I am very disappointed that they have damaged my reputation by adding sponsored clickbait adverts to my site without my explicit consent.

I adopted the "Pay as You Feel" subscription model for my site for a number of specific reasons*, so finding out that my site has been blathered in sponsored clickbait for several weeks is very annoying indeed. It made me look like a fool and a hypocrite to have article footers explaining my "Pay as You Feel" principles beneath each article, only to be immediately followed by a load of vacuous sponsored clickbait links.

When I looked into it, it turns out that I've apparently earned $14.40 for all of the clicks on these links, not that Disqus ever established any way to actually pay me this money. If just one person decided to cancel their £1 per month Another Angry Voice subscription because of these clickbait links, then all of that "profit" will have been cancelled out within a year or so.

I'd guess that more than one person cancelled their subscriptions because of it. I've seen a spate of recent cancellations, and I fully understand if people cancelled their subscriptions because of the clickbait. I'd certainly consider cancelling my subscription to a website if they suddenly started displaying utterly vacuous sponsored clickbait rubbish at me.

If I can actually be bothered to figure out how to actually claim this $14.40 then I'll give it to charity. I don't want their crappy Taboola clickbait money.

I apologise to anyone who found the sponsored clickbait links on my site annoying or thought that I was being a hypocrite. I assure you these links were added without my consent, that I removed them as soon as I could, and that if Disqus ever inject crappy clickbait links onto my site again I'll replace them with another comments system.

 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.


* = The reason I prefer the "Pay as You Feel" funding model is that I feel it's important to show that it's possible to run a successful blog without resorting to blathering it in targeted adverts (ads that show you exactly the kind of products or services you were looking for on the Internet a few days ago) and clickbait links. Additionally, if someone like me who promotes heterodox economics uses an orthodox ads and clickbait model for funding his website, what hope is there that anything can actually change?

Friday, October 14, 2016

David Cameron's speaking gig with Bain Capital

Back in 2013 David Cameron's Tory party oversaw the sale of our NHS blood plasma supply unit to a vampire capitalist group called Bain Capital (which was founded by the 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney).

Fast-forward three years and Bain Capital have already handed David Cameron a lucrative speaking gig at one of their events just weeks after he quit politics after his Brexit gamble went so spectacularly wrong. Thanks to the extraordinarily lax rules covering financial rewards to former politicians it's not clear how much Cameron is going to be paid for his speaking gig, but given that that the former foreign secretary William Hague is expecting to make some £4 million per year on the speaking circuit at £50,000 - £100,000 per appearance, Cameron's speaking fees are unlikely to be less than six figures.

It's no wonder Cameron was so keen to abandon politics when there are such rich pickings to be had from the companies his government handed favours to during his time as Prime Minister.

Some other potential speaking gigs for David Cameron include:

Wonga: The revolving door between David Cameron's government and this appalling legal loan shark company has been well documented. Cameron's sack-at-will legislation (drawn up by the Wonga investor Adrian Beecroft) must have been a real boon to the company as desperate sacked workers turned to them for their rip-off 5,000%+ APR loans. Surely Beecroft and his boys at Wonga could return the favour by handing Cameron a few lucrative public speaking gigs?
Circle Health: This private operator of various NHS facilities across England was one of the major beneficiaries of Cameron's 2012 NHS privatisation by stealth bill. Circle (owned by numerous major Tory party donors) was responsible for the absolute debacle at Hinchingbrook hospital, yet they're still running other NHS facilities across the country. The least they could do for Cameron is stuff him a few hundred grand for all of the NHS services they've snapped up under his watch.
Landsdowne Partners: This hedge fund made a £36 million profit when Cameron's government sold off the Royal Mail at way below its true market value. Given their enormous profits surely they can shove a bit Cameron's way?
G4S and Serco: In 2013 these global outsourcing were caught defrauding the taxpayer out of £180 million by submitting false invoices for the electronic tagging of non-existent prisoners. Cameron's government promised to punish them by temporarily banning both companies from bidding for contracts, but secretly handed them £350 million worth of contracts when they were supposedly banned. Even worse than that, the Tories carried on paying these companies for electronic tagging services way into 2015, two years after they were caught defrauding the taxpayer. Surely these companies can find a few hundred grand apiece to stuff into Cameron's back pocket?
Caudrilla: The fortunes of Cuadrilla and other fracking companies received a massive boost when Cameron's government decided to halve the rate of corporation tax for fracking companies. The fracking boom and bust in the US is proof that fracking is only financially viable if energy prices remain high, so the champagne corks must have been popping at Cuadrilla headquarters when Cameron and Osborne signed the UK taxpayer up to an absolutely ludicrous deal with the French and Chinese states to pay them double the market rate for electricity from Hinkley Point C for an astonishing 35 year period. No doubt Cuadrilla and other fracking companies will feel a moral obligation to repay Cameron for the vast tax cut he handed them and his decision to ensure their financial viability by signing the UK taxpayer up to pay massively inflated energy prices for generations to come?
Virgin Group: Richard Branson's Virgin Group have been major beneficiaries of numerous Tory privatisation schemes. From heavily subsidised rail contracts to huge slices of NHS infrastructure Branson's business did extremely well at raking in taxpayers' cash during David Cameron's time in office. The least "beardie" could do is repay Cameron with a few six figure public speaking gigs?
Times have moved on since former Prime Ministers quietly stepped out of the limelight having achieved the pinnacle of public life. These days becoming Prime Minister or an important government minister is just a stepping stone in the process of becoming filthy rich.

After serving as Prime Minister John Major cashed in by hooking up with corporations like the Carlyle Group arms company, but Tony Blair really blazed the trail for David Cameron with his corporate consultancies with the likes of JP Morgan, his lucrative speaking gigs and his work as adviser to all kinds of brutal dictatorial regimes.

After shafting the British public with his failed Brexit gamble Cameron literally couldn't wait to get stuck into what was clearly always the endgame; making himself filthy rich gorging on corporate speaking fees and lucrative consultancy positions.

 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.


Donald Tusk didn't "attack Britain" he injected a bit of realism into the debate

On Thursday 13th October 2016 the EU Council President Donald Tusk made a speech in which he dismissed the idea that the UK could wriggle out of free movement of labour whilst keeping access to the single market as "pure fantasy" and stated that the only realistic alternative to "hard Brexit" is "no Brexit".

At no point in his speech did Donald Tusk attack Britain or criticise the British people. He simply stated the obvious case that the EU wouldn't be giving a super-special deal to the UK. In fact he actually said that the UK quitting the EU would be "a loss for all of us".

This didn't stop the hard-right pro-Brexit press (like the Daily Mail) from characterising Tusk's comments as an "attack on Britain".

The idea that by spelling out the truth of the situation and exposing the dangerous lies peddled by the likes of Boris Johnson, Tusk is somehow guilty of attacking Britain is indicative of the pathetic victim mentality of so many Brexiters.

It was astonishing that so many people bought so easily into the bullshit, bluster and outright lies of Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and Michael Gove during the referendum campaign. It amazed me how easily millions of people simply accepted the way the Brexit campaign pinned the blame on the EU for the toxic social and economic consequences of the UK electorate voting in one neoliberal government after another since 1979.

None of that mattered to millions of people. The Brexit campaign had their simple narrative that the poor, weak, pathetic British were being bullied and abused by the powerful, dictatorial EU, and it was time to "take back control". Millions of people bought into this pathetic victim complex and decided to vote in favour of unplanned Tory Brexit chaos.It's unbelievable that people haven't learned that we're dealing with a fundamentally dishonest bunch of Tory charlatans from the way that they immediately dropped their "£350 million to the NHS" lies after the EU referendum.

Now the Brexiteers are describing a guy who is trying to inject a bit of truth and realism into the debate as an attacker simply because his comments contradict the fantasy land nonsense still being spouted by the likes of Boris Johnson.On the very same day that Tusk tried to inject a bit of reality into the debate Boris Johnson was still peddling his fantastical nonsense by telling the foreign affairs select committee that "we are going to get a deal which is of huge value and possibly of greater value".

The idea that the UK is going to get a better deal from the EU than it had before is spectacularly unrealistic from a pragmatic perspective, and that's before we even account for the fact that Theresa May has put useless Tory buffoons like Liam Fox and Boris Johnson in charge of developing our negotiation strategy!

Just look at it from the EU perspective. If they give a wonderful special deal to the UK where the Tories get to cherry-pick all of the things they like about EU membership whilst throwing out all of the things they don't like, which results in an EU settlement that is of "greater value" than full membership, they'd clearly cause the inevitable destruction of the EU by incentivising all the other states to quit in the hope of securing an even better deal than they had before. Protecting their own interests by telling the Tories that they can't "have their cake and eat it" isn't attacking Britain, it's spelling out the reality of the situation.

What Tusk said wasn't an attack on Britain at all. In fact he was doing us a favour by trying to expose Boris Johnson's spectacularly over-optimistic prediction of what the Brexit deal is going to look like as the abjectly unrealistic nonsense that it is.

Sadly an awful lot of people still seem to believe in Johnson's fantasy that the UK will be able to simultaneously scrap the free movement of labour and secure a trade deal that is as good as, or even better than what we had before. People still want to believe that the UK is suddenly going to turn into the land of milk and honey for all (apart from those pesky foreigners of course) as soon as Brexit is completed.

I guess some people will never learn. They want to believe comforting fairy stories, and it doesn't matter how many times the guy telling them has been caught out lying before, they'll continue believing him because he's saying what they want to hear. Meanwhile they'll react furiously and insult anyone who tries to inject a bit of truth and realism into the debate because they will always prefer comforting lies to uncomfortable truths.

These people are in for a rude awakening, but judging by the way things are now, they're sure to cast around for someone else to blame (Donald Tusk, the EU, remain voters, Jeremy Corbyn ...) rather than accept that they were duped into voting for a shambolic unplanned Tory Brexit that could only ever have ended up with ordinary people bearing the brunt of it while the Tories work tirelessly shield the corporations, bankers and inherited wealth land monopolists (who bankroll the Tory party) from the worst of the fallout.

 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.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The utterly warped Daily Express definition of democracy

On Wednesday October 12th 2016 the extremely right-wing Daily Express ran an editorial calling for anti-Brexit politicians to be locked up in the Tower of London. This isn't just some bonkers editorial buried away at the back of the paper either, David Maddox's ramblings were given front page billing.

Anyone with a few brain cells to rub together should be able to spot the flaw in Maddox's bizarre call for people who oppose his ideology to be locked up in prison to "reflect on the true meaning of democracy".

If the Daily Express definition of "true democracy" involves imprisonment without trial for anyone who disagrees with them, then they clearly don't have the first clue what "democracy" actually means.

It doesn't matter whether 37% of the electorate voted in a particular way or 97%, locking people up for their political opinions isn't what democratic states do, it's the behaviour of the likes of Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia
CIA backed Latin American military dictatorships, Francoist Spain, and corrupt Islamist theocracies like Saudi Arabia (you know? The brutal anti-democratic regimes that the Tory party keep sucking up to).

The entire point of democracy is that dissent from the majority opinion is allowed. If dissent is silenced, imprisoned or eliminated by the powerful then the political system clearly isn't democratic at all, it's authoritarian and tyrannical. Anyone calling for their political opponents to be silenced for the "crime" of holding the wrong political opinions is clearly and undeniably an anti-democrat.

As I've said before, this whole "shut up, you lost, get over it" ranting from Brexiters (as if the whole thing was some kind of football match that finished months ago rather than a complex ongoing process) is anti-democratic and utterly hypocritical. It's anti-democratic because the whole point of democracy is that it must allow variance in opinion, and it's utterly hypocritical because the whole anti-EU movement was based on four decades of constant whining and blatantly ignoring the democratic outcome of the (very much more comprehensive) 1975 European Communities membership referendum.

Aside from the fact that the whole concept of democracy relies on tolerance of dissenting opinion, there's also the fact that many MPs represent constituencies that voted strongly in favour of Remain. If MPs from constituencies in London, Scotland, Northern Ireland and various urban centres in England continue arguing against Brexit then they're actually representing the views of their constituents, not undermining democracy. Only an anti-democrat could possibly suggest imprisonment without trial for MPs who refuse to ignore the will of their own constituencies.

Another flaw with this whole "democracy" argument from right-wing Brexiters is the way in which Theresa May and the three Brexiteers have expressed their intention to completely bypass parliament in order to impose their own savagely right-wing version of Brexit. It would be fair enough to argue that Brexit is about democracy if it were being conducted in a democratic manner with proper parliamentary scrutiny, but when it's being imposed without a parliamentary vote by an unelected Prime Minister, then the whole "democracy" argument from the right-wing press is rendered utterly farcical.

Whether you think that quitting the EU is a good thing or a bad thing this concept of silencing/imprisoning/disappearing people who dare to oppose what Theresa May and the Tories are up to should be utterly terrifying. This attitude that dissent must be ruthlessly crushed is the absolute antithesis of democracy. It's pure unadulterated authoritarianism.

 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.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I'm back

Regular Another Angry Voice readers will have noticed that I've been quiet for the last few weeks.

I decided to have a break from writing about politics for a number of reasons. Some of them I can go into in detail, others I can't.

  • The four months before my break were by far the most productive period ever since I started AAV. In June, July, August and September I wrote 154 articles, which is the equivalent of more than one article per day, every day, including weekends (I didn't take a weekend off all summer). I was beginning to get burnout so I thought the quality of my work would improve after a bit of a break.

  • The political situation in the UK is profoundly dispiriting. The re-election of Jeremy Corbyn was followed up by a load of bile and backroom maneuvering from the Anyone But Corbyn wreckers, and even public appeals from the likes of Peter Mandelson for a snap General Election so that the right-wing of the Labour Party could celebrate a Tory election victory as the excuse they need to try to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn again. 

  • It's not good for the spirit to keep on writing about such appalling situations when there's so little to be done to change them. The Blairites are obviously going to continue obstructing Corbyn's leadership at every turn, and in the process they're going to continue allowing Theresa May and the three Brexiteers to get away with making a complete pig's ear of Brexit by ensuring the main opposition party is utterly divided.
  • For the last few weeks I was having some difficult personal circumstances. I can't go into any detail on this because it's important that I respect the privacy of other people in my personal life. The warning signs were there that I was drifting into depression and I knew that writing about the profoundly dispiriting UK political scene was not likely to help to improve my mood. I took the decision to stop writing about politics for a while and focus on doing the things that would actually help me avoid sliding into a major depressive episode. After a lot of walking, reading, playing snooker, listening to music and time spent with friends and family I feel loads better and I'm raring to go again.

  • I didn't stop writing entirely, I just took a break from posting to AAV. I've written a number of other things, several of which are likely to be published at some point in the future. Some of them on here.
Anyhow. Now that I'm back to doing Another Angry Voice I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for topics they would like me to turn my attention to over the next few weeks ...

 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.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Are the New Labour clique deliberately trying to create a self-fulfilling prophecy?

David Miliband (the New Labour stalwart who ran away from British politics when his brother beat him to the Labour Party leadership in 2010) is the latest New Labour figure to throw the "unelectable" trope at Jeremy Corbyn.

Attacking and diminishing the leader of their own party was bad enough when the divisive Labour leadership coup was going on. But now that it's clear that the coup plot, the vote-rigging and the purges were almost certainly in vain, and that Corbyn is going to win again you have to wonder what the motivation is to keep on like this.

The first suspicion is that it is just petulant foot-stamping. They right-wing of the party didn't get their own way, so now they've venting their toddler-like fury without even thinking about the consequences of what they're saying.

By continuing to repeatedly badmouth Jeremy Corbyn they're making it seem that they're unaware of the concept of a "self-fulfilling prophecy".

Of course Corbyn is going to have a tough time with the entire mainstream press demonstrably fighting a propaganda war against him. Of course he's going to have a tough time trying to reunite the party and undo some of the extraordinary damage this inept and shockingly timed coup-plot inflicted; and of course it's going to take a lot of hard work to undo the shockingly widespread public misconceptions that Tory austerity is actually good for the economy, and that Theresa May is a competent politician.

But that job is going to be made all the more difficult if a bunch of bitter sore-losers in his own party insist on repeatedly carping from the sidelines.

The other option of course is that these people know perfectly well what a "self-fulfilling prophecy" is, and that they're deliberately trying to create one. After all, their idol Tony Blair has openly stated that he'd rather see the Tories win the next General Election than a Labour Party that has returned to its democratic socialist roots. It's perfectly possible that Tony Blair's acolytes are simply doing his bidding with their persistent efforts to sabotage the Labour Party.

The problem with the strategy of trying to deliberately create the self-fulfilling prophecy that Jeremy Corbyn is "unelectable" is that if the prophecy comes true, there are an awful lot of people in the Labour Party who will blame the saboteurs, not the leadership.

Do the Labour Party saboteurs really think that the party membership are going to blame the guy who tried to do his best despite the challenging circumstances, or the New Labour clique who have been seen to do everything in their power to undermine the Labour Party and its democratically elected leader from day one?

It's certain that should Corbyn lose the mainstream press will try to paint the narrative that centre-left politics is dead and buried, and that we are stuck with various shades of Tory crony capitalism for ever, but we already know that the mainstream press no longer have a total ideological staranglehold on the public, otherwise Corbyn would have been annihilated in the 2015 leadership election and one of the New Labour candidates would no doubt be currently trying to "oppose" the post-Brexit Tory shambles by imitating Try policies and Tory political rhetoric as closely as possible.

Instead the New Labour lot have just lost the ideological war for the future of the Labour Party for a second time. Their choice now is simple. Unite behind the leader and actually try to win, or carry on trying to undermine the party and put themselves up as the people to blame when their self-fulfilling prophecies come true.

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