Category Archives: Government & politics

Shaun Bailey, Guido Fawkes And Faux Outrage: The Anatomy Of A Smear Story

Shaun Bailey: he isn’t what he seems

You can always tell when a narcissist is guilty of a crime or trying to hide something, because they’ll always resort to smears and character assassination in a desperate attempt to escape scrutiny or justice. And so it is with the Grenfell Tower fire and the Tories’ reaction to Emma Dent Coad’s report into the systematic neglect of council tenants by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. For her trouble, Dent Coad was accused of racism for describing Shaun Bailey, now Conservative AM (list) on the London Assembly, as David Cameron’s ‘token ghetto boy’ in a blog she’d written seven years ago (she’d actually quoted someone else who’d used it).  A non-story, you may think, but not as far as Paul ‘Piss’ Staines and his band of bottom feeders at Guido Fawkes were concerned. This was a ‘scoop’. I’ll return to Bailey later.

The BBC went with the story, which it sourced from the aforementioned scandal site (let’s face it, it isn’t a news site), while the other news outlets refused to touch it. Look, if anyone tells you that the BBC is ‘left-wing’ or ‘impartial’, just laugh at them and walk away. Okay? But sourcing a ‘news’ story from Guido Fawkes is a new low. Broadcasting House has become an embarrassment; it’s become a house of ill-repute.

On the face it, it would seem Guido Fawkes has undergone a Damascene conversion to the cause of anti-racism. Not a bit of it. Because if you trawl through their content, you’ll see very little, if any, desire to attack racism. In fact, it engages in sly racism itself, and if it isn’t doing that, it’s using anti-racism as a Trojan horse to attack the Tory Party’s enemies – like it did last week. The Tories have a lot to hide and they don’t like being exposed to scrutiny. By the way, what happened to the police investigation into Damian Green and Charlie Elphicke? How about Christopher Heaton-Harris? It’s gone a bit quiet.

Tories and their right-wing allies will usually get indignant when you call out their racism. Sometimes, their racism is couched in the language of racial pseudo-science to make it appear as ‘common sense’. Toby Young, for instance, will cite Charles Murray, one of the co-authors of The Bell Curve, which claims, among other things, that black people have lower IQs than either white or Asian people.  And you thought that kind of nonsense had been confined to the dustbin of history along with phrenology? If only. Such ideas are now enjoying an undeserved renaissance among right-wing thinkers (sic), who are desperate for any kind of academically plausible narrative to justify the socially-constructed concept of ‘race’, and to counter accusations of racism within their ranks. By the way, the IQ test is no indicator of intelligence or intellect.

During the London Mayoral election campaign of 2008, Bozza was forced to apologize for condoning an article written by notorious racist, Taki, while he was editor of The Spectator. No racism in the Tory Party? Don’t kid yourself.

Now the Tories may point to their four or five black MPs and tell you that they’re not racist. It’s worth pointing out that none of these MPs have been elevated to cabinet rank, and in The Cat’s view, using these black MPs to rebut criticism of Tory racism is nothing less than tokenism. That’s a cue to return to Shaun Bailey, a man so ambitious, he’ll even claim that the use of the word ‘tokenism’ is racist.

Bailey, who was named ‘Big Society ambassador’ by David Cameron, has featured on this blog twice. Both times in connection with his charity, My Generation, which was wound up in 2012. This occurred after Bailey failed to submit accounts for two years running. However, the reason given for the failure of My Generation was ‘funding‘. The Third Sector website says:

The charity, which was established in May 2006 to support young people in deprived communities and had an income of £292,000 in 2009/10, was removed from the register of charities on Monday.

A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said in a statement: “The charity’s trustees cited funding problems as the reason for the charity’s dissolution”.

My Generation’s operations were then passed to Only Connect and the now defunct Kids Company, which was run by rather fragrant personality of Camila Batmanghelidjh. Third Sector again:

Bailey said a job club run by the charity, which had 420 members,  would close down but all of the charity’s other services would carry on. Some would be run by Only Connect, a charity running crime-prevention programmes, and others would be run by Kids Company, he said.

Kids Company was wound up in 2015 after it failed to secure funding and later became the subject of an investigation by the Metropolitan Police. Child abuse being among the charges.

In 2010, Bailey was chosen to be the Conservative candidate for Hammersmith in the General Election. Some would say that he was parachuted in. The Tories thought that by selecting Bailey, he would appeal to black working class voters.  In this Guardian article, which includes a now removed video, Dave Hill observed Bailey’s use of language:

“Keeping it real,” with “my boys”? Do such demonstrations of street lingo and savvy really help Bailey’s cause? Did that pronouncement about what black people want and the accusation that Labour thinks it “owns” them endear him to black voters who saw it? After all, there might just be a reason why black Londoners (and black Britons generally) have historically tended to vote Labour, such as a judgment that Labour has always shown more concern for them. Is Bailey suggesting that black voters are daft?

Fawkes’ and Bailey’s agitation over being called a “token ghetto boy” is a classic example of the kind of faux outrage that’s typical of a Tory smear. The Guido article bore the sensational headline “Hate-filled and Racist”. Yeah, whatever.

In the same article, Hill discusses the donations that poured in from wealthy Tory backers:

It is, after all, an unusual kind of social underdog who, at pushing 40, enjoys the financial and campaigning support Bailey’s received. I’ve already mentioned the £15,000 given to Hammersmith Conservatives last autumn by Caroline Nash, wife of the venture capitalist John Nash (himself a major contributor to Tory funds). A longer look at the Electoral Commission’s register of donations shows that Nash also provided the party with £10,000 in September 2008.

Other donors include the City headhunter Julian Sainty (£5,000, also in September 2008) and financier Edmund Lazarus, who had previously given £22,500 to Boris Johnson’s mayoral campaign and was awarded a seat on the board of the London Development Agency by Johnson soon after his election victory. Another interesting contributor to the Bailey cause is Hammersmith and Fulham councillor Greg Smith, who is also the borough’s cabinet member for Crime and Street Scene.

Bailey’s campaign literature is described at its foot as “promoted” by Smith, who defines himself in his register of interests as a “self employed political and marketing consultant.” In his entry Smith also discloses masonic lodge memberships and that he is Director of Campaigns for the Young Britons Foundation, the radical, “Conservative madrasa” whose training programmes for youthful Tory activists have been the subject of coverage by The Guardianrecently. The YBS lists Smith on its website as also being its co-founder.

That’s the same Greg Smith, who succeeded Stephen Greenhalgh as leader of the Conservative group on Hammersmith and Fulham Council. That’s the same Greg Smith, who was a member of the Young Britons’ Foundation. Smith was replaced by Joe Carlebach in June 2017. It was obvious that the Tories thought by selecting Bailey and pumping hundreds of thousands of pounds into his campaign, he could easily win the seat. In the end, he trailed behind Andy Slaughter by a little over 3,000 votes.

Back to Dave Hill’s article. He concludes:

Today’s story in The Times about “a discrepancy in the accounts” of his charity, My Generation, will not be helpful to him in this regard. Slaughter has jibed that Bailey’s cv looks rather thin and journalists have noticed that he’s declined to appear at two hustings that weren’t to his taste (although he’s agreed to attend one on Thursday). There is a perception, fair or otherwise, that he’s being a bit too closely protected. It may be that Bailey will have to tell Hammersmith a little more about himself than he has so far if he’s to do the job his “boy” Dave so urgently requires of him.

Interesting. No?

Here’s a link to a video that was passed to me on Twitter. Note how Bailey claims, in not too many words, that black voters will vote for him because he’s black.

Bailey’s attitude to poor voters was quoted by George Eaton in the New Statesman.

If you have a group of people that think that one government will advocate for them and one won’t, of course they’ll vote that way. And that’s the fight for the Conservatives ‘cos that’s why inner-city seats are so hard to win – because Labour has filled them with poor people.

Yeah, God damn those poor people. They always get in the way.

In this article by Fraser Nelson in The Dictator The Spectator, which cites Sir Norman Bettison, the disgraced former Chief Constable of South Yorkshire, he quotes Bailey at the 2008 Tory Party conference, offering up a common trope about young women getting pregnant to get a council flat:

 “Gals getting knocked up to get housing? It’s a cottage industry where I come from.”

Charming.

Shaun Bailey is little more than a political chancer. He’s taken the well-trodden route from being a charity worker (he claims ‘community activist’) to becoming a (failed) prospective parliamentary candidate to becoming a list Assembly Member for the Greater London Assembly. The latter has been used a stepping stone to the Commons by Tory and Labour politicians alike.

Bailey is more than happy to use his ethnicity for political purposes. Moreover, the Tories were, and still are, quite happy to promote skin (sic) tokens in an effort to deflect criticism of the racists within their party. Indeed, it would be reasonable to argue that the Tory commitment to anti-racism is only skin-deep. In fact, racist Tory politicians are given a quick slap on the wrists and are welcomed back.

When the Tories say they’re tackling racism, don’t believe them. It’s all an illusion.

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Let’s Talk About: The Free Enterprise Group

When Priti Patel was forced to resign last Thursday for meeting Israeli government officials without prior authorization, you may have noticed the two faces that kept appearing on television to defend her. One was Nadhim Zahawi and the other was Jacob Rees Mogg. What you may not realize is that both belong to the Free Enterprise Group, to which Patel also belongs. Prominent members of this group published a book in 2010 called Britannia Unchained, which claimed that “Once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world”, and add “We work among the lowest hours, we retire early and our productivity is poor.” There is a wealth of evidence to debunk these beliefs, for beliefs are what they are. These views are not supported by evidence or anything like it.

Patel, along with Elizabeth Truss, Chris Skidmore, Kwasi Kwarteng and Dominic Raab were the book’s co-authors, and for them, poor productivity is laid at the door of the workers, not the bosses, directors and shareholders, but the workers. For these hardened free market cultists, British workers are simply too lazy and are rewarded far too readily for their indolence. This is all myth. British workers’ wages have traditionally been lower than those of their continental counterparts. Britons also work longer hours than workers in other European countries.

First, lets’ take a look at their website. You may recognize a few familiar faces.

On their ‘About’ page, we’re told that the FEG was founded in 2010 by Liz Truss, a name more associated with ‘pork markets’ than critical thinking. She’s also one of the least competent ministers in the current cabinet. That’s quite an achievement.

The Free Enterprise Group is a leading association of free-market orientated Conservative Members of Parliament. Convened by James Cleverly MP, FEG seeks to restate the importance of liberal and practical free enterprise values against the backdrop of a significant loss of confidence in free market economics following the banking failures of the late 2000s. Founded by the Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, now Secretary of State for Justice, FEG is supported by over 40 MPs who want to put free enterprise at the heart of the Conservative Party.

We can therefore assume that the FEG wants a return to what they see as the ‘golden age’ of capitalism: the 19th century. Nostalgia is clearly in the driving seat.

According to capitalist rag, City AM, The FEG is “highly influential” and was “relaunched” in 2015. It is led by James Cleverly, the MP for Braintree, and has a membership of 40 MPs. Some of these MPs would claim to be successful in business, but these are rentiers, who make nothing and grow wealthy from shares and dividends. Some of them, like Chris Philp, who likes to lecture people on economic matters, is a failed businessman and a tax dodger.

While many people have tipped Rees Mogg to replace Theresa May as party leader, one must not rule out Raab,  a self-confessed Thatcherite, who has positioned himself as a dark horse candidate. I have already written about Raab on this blog. In this Guardian article from 2012, he says “The talented and hard-working have nothing to fear”. These words remind The Cat of the claims made in support of greater surveillance: if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear. Raab assumes that those he represents, the rentier capitalists of the Surrey stockbroker belt, have worked hard for their wealth. No capitalist ever worked hard: they acquired their wealth on the back of workers who worked hard for them, or it was handed to them by their rich parents via a trust fund. The same article tips Priti Patel as a future PM. The horror.

Here’s Raab being caught out in a lie about foodbanks on BBC2’s Victoria Live show. Apparently, foodbank users have a “cashflow problem”.

Raab is the MP for Esher and Walton, one of the richest constituencies in the country. He is unlikely to have met any poor people or benefits claimants. Lying is second nature to Raab and if he isn’t lying, then he’s engaging in baseless smears. Politicore spotted a typical Tory smear about Jeremy Corbyn “supporting terrorists” on the same show.

Here’s Raab advocating the privatization of the National Health Service on The Daily Politics. He’s also lying.

Raab was recently included on a list of 40 Tory MPs, who have been involved in the sexual abuse scandal. The Guardian reports:

Raab, a junior justice minister tipped by some as a future Tory leader, revealed he was named on the widely-circulated list as having been subject to an injunction over “inappropriate behaviour with a woman”.

In a statement on his website Raab warned that while it was vital to investigate cases of abuse and harassment, he feared a “media feeding frenzy” from the widely shared list, which names 40 MPs and ministers.

Any claims he had harassed anyone or engaged in sexually abusive or lewd behaviour “is false and malicious”, Raab said, adding that he had taken legal advice.

Readers may have noticed how quiet this scandal has gone since the list was published two weeks ago.

The unstated aim of the FEG is to create a sweatshop economy in which regulations are torn up because they, apparently, impact adversely on profits. One can easily see where this is going: if the FEG ever takes control of the Tory Party and finds itself in government, workers will have no rights or protections guaranteed by statute. Freedom, as articulated by the FEG is freedom for bosses to exploit workers and make themselves ever-richer on the back of labour.

Members of the FEG voted unanimously for Brexit.  According to a report called ‘Reconnecting with the Commonwealth’, co-authored by Cleverly, they want to “reconnect with the Commonwealth”. In other words, they want to relaunch the Empire as a trading bloc. The Financial Times points out this is a flawed idea and I would add that it is steeped in nostalgia. James Blitz writes:

Conservative rightwingers may feel nostalgic about a return to “imperial preference”. But until the UK signs new FTAs with the nations of the Commonwealth, Britain will be in the odd position of having worse trading terms with these countries than Brussels does. And, as Sir Simon Fraser, the former head of the UK foreign office noted recently, the damage goes beyond that. “Those EU trade agreements are vital for [Commonwealth states’] development goals,” he said. “The UK will no longer be able to champion their access to the EU market as we have in the past.

The first two paragraphs of the report’s foreword, written by disgraced former Australian PM, Tony Abbott, is also soaked in nostalgia:

Brexit means that Britain is back. The country that gave the world the
English language, common law and the Mother of Parliaments is once more
to seize its destiny as a global leader. This is an exciting time for Britain
and an exhilarating one for the countless millions elsewhere who appreciate
Britain’s unique contribution to western civilisation.

It’s good that Britain will no longer be constrained by the statism and
bureaucracy of Brussels. It’s also good that the remaining members of the
European Union will now have to rethink how much of their sovereignty they
wish to surrender.

All that’s missing from this romantic paean to free market capitalism is the call to bomb the enemy to dust.

The FEG gets its administrative support from the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA),  a notorious free market think-tank, whose director is Mark Littlewood, a hardline laissez-faire economist who used to work for the Lib Dems. In this Guardian article, he hints at abolishing the minimum wage:

Anything that looks like a return to the Dickensian workhouse raises hackles. But I don’t want people working in sweatshops at 5p an hour. You should sell abolishing the minimum wage in positive terms, as providing young people with a first step on the jobs ladder, as a ‘jobs for all’ scheme.

Littlewood may not want people to work for 5p an hour, but like his friends in the FEG, he’d happily see them working for £2.50 an hour. For free marketeers, cutting wages, while forcing people to work longer hours, is the key to greater productivity. Nowhere in the FEG’s or IEA’s literature is there any mention of bosses and shareholders who pay themselves bigger dividends, while at the same time, refusing to reinvest profits in their businesses. The blame for poor productivity is always laid at the doors of the workers.

The FEG is also closely connected to the tobacco industry and Patel, who once worked for public relations outfit, Weber-Shandwick, lobbied on behalf of British American Tobacco (BAT) before entering the Commons.

BAT, a multi-million dollar business, paid its workers in Myanmar as little as £15 a month.

BAT’s position in Burma at the turn of the millennium was hugely controversial. “BAT’s factory in Burma was jointly owned with the military dictatorship and so helped fund one of the most brutal military dictatorships in the world,” said Anna Roberts, executive director at Burma Campaign UK. “BAT refused to admit how much money it gave to the dictatorship, but Burma Campaign UK estimated that BAT paid the generals $16m (£10m) in taxes alone between 1999 and 2002. In contrast, BAT paid its factory workers in Burma just £15 a month. The dictatorship spent 40% of its budget on the military.”

Patel has a history of working closely with dictatorships and other unsavoury regimes. This is part of a familiar pattern with the Tories: while they are happy to denounce Jeremy Corbyn’s apparent admiration for Hugo Chavez, they are themselves rather comfortable with right-wing and military dictatorships, which are given plenty of latitude, if not outright support. Pinochet’s Chile is but one example of the Tories fraternal ties to unspeakably brutal regimes around the world. Indeed, recently, some Tories, like the disgraced former Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, expressed his admiration for President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, whose involvement in the Davao death squads to kill those he sees as ‘drug dealers’ as well as political opponents, has been widely reported.

After this year’s general election saw the government lose its Commons majority, the Tories entered into a confidence and supply arrangement with the Democratic Unionist Party, which has ties to Loyalist paramilitary death squads. It would appear that, for all their talk of Corbyn’s ‘support for terrorists’, the Tories are monumental hypocrites and appear to have a sneaking admiration for extra-judicial murder. I put this to Cleverly, after he’d launched another smear attack on Corbyn. I have yet to receive a reply.

The Cat suspects the FEG is manoeuvring itself to put forward one of their own as a candidate for the party’s leadership, and to ultimately take control of the Tory Party. Given the weakness of the current government and of Theresa May herself, there is every chance that they may succeed. Their romantic vision of a free market future is linked to imperial ambition and a hatred of ordinary workers, whom they blame for low productivity. We cannot let these people drag us back a century and a half on the basis of an idealized notion of a brighter past.

 

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Handing Jeremy Corbyn The Keys To Downing Street?

Since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party, one phrase that had been uttered every now and again, but which now features more frequently in the speech of hyperventilating Tory MPs on their tour of the nation’s TV and radio studios, is “Handing Jeremy Corbyn the keys to Downing Street”, or variations thereof. But what does that phrase really tell us about the Conservative Party?

First, it shows the Tories are scared of Corbyn’s Labour. This is in marked contrast to the language they first used when he became leader. Then, he was painted as a ‘disaster’, who would make it easy for them to rule with a massive majority for all eternity. How wrong they were, but even when they claimed Corbyn would consign their enemy – his party – to oblivion, they did so knowing that he posed a threat to their control of mainstream political discourse, but they lacked the self-awareness to realize it. Now, they have been rudely exposed as being weak, utterly devoid of ideas and bereft of all meaning. What do the Tories stand for? Smears? Lies? They don’t have any policies to speak of… well, not ones they didn’t steal from Labour first, and then dilute them according to taste.

Second, and more perhaps more importantly, their shrill repetition of the phrase reveals their over-riding sense of entitlement. Remember, the Tories see themselves as the ‘natural party of government’, a claim they wholly crafted from their own self-importance and sense of self-righteousness. The Tories are not and will never be democrats, and for all their talk of wanting a “strong opposition” these last couple of years, it’s actually the last thing they really wanted. In Corbyn they claimed to see weakness. They dismissed the massive influx of members to the Labour Party as unimportant. “After all” they opined, “members aren’t the electorate”. There was an obvious flaw in that line of thinking, but who were they kidding? Themselves. It turns out that members really do matter, because members  are out there in  the pubs, clubs, workplaces and on the street, talking to people and putting forward the party’s case. Tory activists, by contrast, are thin on the ground and efforts to attract younger members have gone from the embarrassing to the downright laughable.

When one looks back at the Tory conference just gone, one couldn’t help but notice that it had the appearance of a mausoleum and the overpowering smell of embalming fluid. What sort of person would be attracted to something like that? A cadaver?

This is a dead party walking.

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Young Britons For Liberty?

Whatever happened to the Young Britons Foundation? That’s the question I was hoping to answer when I entered the words into the search engine yesterday. By chance, I discovered a group calling itself ‘Young Britons for Liberty’, but who are now calling themselves the Young Chartists (yeah, I know). Readers will know that any group that either claims to be for ‘liberty’ or ‘freedom’ is, more often than not, a group of like-minded right-wingers, who believe they have a natural monopoly on those concepts. Libertarians, as they like to call themselves, tend to fall into two camps: the hardline free-market cultists (anything can be sold) and the libertines (anything can be fucked). Right-wing libertarians will usually fall into the former camp, while the LM Network, which pretends to be Marxist or even left-wing, occupies both.  The Young Chartists, who, while not being a successor organization to the YBF, share the same libertarian ideals and certainly tread the same ground.

Two years ago, I called for a 21st Century People’s Charter, the Young Chartists have done the same thing, but although they have adopted the name, the demands they make aren’t too dissimilar to the usual shopping lists knocked out by the spoilt rich brats of the British bourgeoisie.

In the ‘About’ section on their website, we find this under the heading ‘Our Struggle’ (Unser Kampf?). Forgive me for not linking directly to the site. Here is a broken link, feel free to copy and paste it into your browser’s search field.  http://peoplescharter.org/about/

The People’s Charter Foundation is a non-partisan British identitarian campaign group run by a diverse group of passionate Tory, UKIP, and other patriots. We demand for proper Brexit, and for Britain to ban Sharia law. We work closely with the Bruges Group, Gays Against Sharia, the Campaign for Independent Britain, UK Against Hate, the Bow Group, MBGA News, and Better Off Out.

Any group that goes out of its way to call itself “non-partisan” is usually the opposite. Here, without much pause for thought, the writer of this page then tells us that the Young Chartists are comprised of Tories, Kippers and “patriots”. But the list of groups they work with is informative, for here we find a real ragbag of free speech warriors, whose far-right, anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, Little Englander discourses masquerade as ‘common sense’. You’ll also notice that they describe themselves as “British identitarians”. Identity politics on the right? Really? Isn’t that the very thing, along with ‘political correctness’, the far-right most frequently tilts against? What British identitarianism is, in essence, is British nationalism that pretends to be more inclusive than its neo-fascist cousins.

Further down the page, we come to their “People’s Charter”. You will notice there is no mention of electoral reform, voting rights or the structure of Britain’s governance.

  • 1. Leave the globalist EU: a points-based migration policy, and leave the ‘single market’. Merkel’s open border experiment with fake refugees is simply intolerable;

  • 2. Government to interfere in our lives as little as possible, to be downsized: the national budget must be balanced and taxes lower;

  • 3. Stop multiculturalism: To regain our British identity, rather than be ashamed of British national flags. Ban Sharia law;

  • 4. A strong military is essential, including a tough approach on Islamism;

  • 5. Migrants to integrate into British nation-state, i.e. to require English as our core language, ban Sharia law, resist multiculturalism, and oppose political correctness;

  • 6. In the spirit of the 1838 Charter’s sixth point that was never realised, for the right to recall bad MPs;

Only once does this ‘charter’ mention the original People’s charter but only in relation to its demand to” recall bad MPs”. The rest of it is shot through with Islamophobic claptrap, libertarian mumbo-jumbo, militaristic machismo and the kind of paranoia that comes with a deep-seated suspicion of the Other.

On their ‘Beliefs’ page, we find some questions posed by themselves to themselves.

What do you think of Nazism?

We are opposed to Nazism – it is a horrid, racist ideology, which promoted radical socialism. We are capitalists. We respect the right for Israel to exist.

You’ll notice how this paragraph repeats the by now familiar ‘Nazis were really socialists (or vicariously left-wing)” slur.  This passage exists as a form of disclaimer, but it’s the way Israel is tacked onto the end of this that puzzles me. It’s almost as if it was written during a late night coke binge. Like other right-wing libertarians, they rail against figments and phantoms: cultural Marxism©, ‘political correctness’, feminism, they’re all there.

Do you support women’s rights?

We support human rights for all, including women. As an organisation opposed to cultural Marxists, we do not support feminists who push concepts such as “patriarchy theory”, because all they want is destruction of the family unit. We work closely with Liberty Belles to oppose feminism.

A picture is beginning to emerge of a group of right-wing white men, who blame feminazis (sic) for their inability to get laid. I think Wilhelm Reich wrote about this kind of thing. The Liberty Belles are an “anti-feminist” group of women, who organized a campaign, called L4PD, to support Philip Davies, the misogynist filibusterer and MP for Shipley. Hope Not Hate says:

Davies first met with members of ‘The Liberty Belles’, an anti-feminst group consisting of Elizabeth Hobson, Natoya Raymond, Paula Wright, Catherine Kitsis and Belinda Brown, at the International Conference on Men’s Issues in London in July 2016. Davies gave a talk at the event, which was organised the men’s rights activist (MRA) group, Justice for Men and Boys, and promoted by now-disgraced former Breitbart figurehead, Milo Yiannopolous.

In March 2017 the Liberty Belles launched the sub-campaign L4PD, which describes itself as “a group of ladies who support Philip’s campaign to infiltrate the Women and Equalities Committee, change the name and make it truly work for equality for all as well as his championing of men’s issues.”

Human rights? Who needs those? It’s men’s rights we want! Women who hate feminists? What next? Black people who want to be re-enslaved? Libertarians don’t mind slavery. Just ask any ‘scholar’ from the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

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The director of the Young Chartists is Luke Nash-Jones (pictured), who was recently one of the subjects of this Vice article, which tells us he’s the chair of the Birkbeck Conservative Association. So not at all “non-partisan”, then. Nash-Jones, like the rest of those interviewed, lays the victimhood on with a shovel JCB .  He’s also involved in a group calling itself Make Britain Great Again. Here he repeats the usual canards of the right in relation to a perceived leftist indoctrination in Higher Education.

Research shows that most university professors are left-wing, and their lectures reflect that. Moreover, student unions are basically Marxist madrasas which use Orwellian “no platforming” policies to silence original thought, because their emotion-driven positions cannot stand up to fact-based, logic-driven argument. The manager of our student union is actually on the Labour Party payroll, and non-student trade union staff dominate freshers entrance with stalls.

Remember if you argue for tolerance, in the mind of the libertarian, that’s being “emotional”. This is an idea that has come from the American right, who will dismiss any argument coming from the left (or liberals) as “emotional”. I saw it a lot in 2001 – 3 on Delphi Forums where hard right types would routinely dismiss any argument they couldn’t handle as ’emotional’. But what this specious claim to moral and intellectual superiority demonstrates is the lack of humanity on the libertarian side. Perhaps Nash-Jones is telling us something about his own character? What he seems to be forgetting is that one has a right to their opinions, but not the facts. If his “fact-based logic-driven arguments” are like the quote above, then he needs to construct better arguments (the YBF used to organise workshops in debating skills that would teach trainees how to talk over their interlocutors and use character assassination instead of arguments). Indeed, the “research” he talks about comes from the Adam Smith Institute, which is hardly a source of peer-reviewed evidence. Most of the student unions I’ve been to are full of undergraduates getting tanked up. Madrasas, my arse. But what qualifies as “original thought”? A visceral hatred of the left? Misogyny expressed as an irrational hatred of feminism? Mistrust of foreigners? Hatred of Islam? Those are hardly the products of original thinking.

He adds:

As President of the Conservative Association, after I requested a debate with the Labour Society president, in the style of the mayoral hustings, I received threats of violence from student union officers, including in writing, a threat to “destroy” the office I work at and verbal threats to kill me. The officer who made this threat resigned after I threatened legal action against the student union. I was marched off campus by university staff for “threatening the safe space” after I set up the pre-approved Conservative stand, with a Union Jack backdrop. Labour students, who clearly display no appreciation of free speech promoted by J.S. Mill, tore up posters and burst the Conservative Party branded balloons.

I just wonder what kind of language Nash-Jones used in his request? I get the feeling there’s more to this story than meets the eye.  You will also note how he drags the name of John Stuart Mill into his diatribe. “Free speech? That’s where I say what I want and you shut the fuck up”. I’m sure that isn’t what Mill had in mind.

When you go to Nash-Jones’s Twitter page, you’re greeted with the following message.

This account’s Tweets are protected.

Only confirmed followers have access to @lukenashjones‘s Tweets and complete profile. Click the “Follow” button to send a follow request.

Free speech, eh?

Back to the website and at the bottom of ‘The Team’ page, we find a list of patrons. Do you recognize anyone?

  • Donal Blaney, Chief Executive of Margaret Thatcher Centre

  • Anthony Vander Elst, Founder of the Selsdon Group

  • Vít Jedlička, President of Liberland

  • Ian Geldard, Former Researcher for Institute for the Study of Terrorism

  • Peter Whittle AM, Founder of the New Culture Future, UKIP Deputy Leader

There’s our old friend, Donal Blaney, late of the YBF and now apparently ensconced as Chief Executive of the Margaret Thatcher Centre, even though he isn’t listed on the site. Regular readers will know that the Selsdon Group is a hard right free market cult that was formed in 1973. Their honourable president is John Redwood.  But who is Vít Jedlička and what and where is “Liberland”? The Independent says:

Vit Jedlicka, a member of the Conservative Party of Free Citizens, is the self-appointed president of “Liberland,” a 7sq km “country” (only the Vatican and Monaco are smaller) where taxes are optional and there is no military.

Okay, so where is it?

It is situated on the banks of the Danube between Serbia and Croatia in an unclaimed no-man’s land, or terra nullius territory, meaning that neither country has ever held full sovereignty over the area.

So it’s some kind of libertarian utopia? Attempts at creating libertarian paradises – nightwatchman states or whatever you want to call them – have ended badly- though not for the oligarchs who benefit from the chaos. Honduras anyone? Of course, the libertarians themselves, when presented with the evidence, deny Honduras was run as a nightwatchman state.  A libertarian experiment in Chile ended in acrimonious failure. Indeed, not being the kind of people to accept responsibility, they’re more likely to claim these experiments have failed because of ‘socialism’ or even ‘feminism’.

In fact, things aren’t going too well for Liberland. A year after its founding, it has no citizens.

Thanks to the efforts of the Croatian border police, Liberland has still technically not got a single inhabitant, and its 7 sq km of boggy wetlands boast just one dilapidated building, an abandoned hunting lodge.

GQ magazine gleefully mocked them as “Just a bunch of white guys on a tiny island”.

The Young Chartists, YBFL or whatever they’re calling themselves, has planned a “Last Day of Silence” for 23 September, which will be…

…a silent and powerful march through the London streets by all those who oppose terrorist extremism, the implementation of Sharia (FGM), and Islamist grooming gangs and terrorism. (Genuine racists NOT welcome.)

Their Facebook events page tells us that they want to “stand up to grooming gangs and Islamic terror” (sic).  So far, only 45 are going and 128 are “interested”.  Such is their ignorance and bigotry that Sharia (Law) is deliberately conflated with female genital mutilation (FGM),  despite the fact that the practice crosses religious and ethnic boundaries, and is still practised by white fundamentalist Christians in the United States (yes). In Britain, it was seen as a remedy for female masturbation during the late 19th century and early 20th century. In the United States, the practice is more widespread than first thought with more women coming forward to tell their story. Naturally, the far-right and their libertarian buddies will have their fingers in their ears.

In the below the line comments, there’s a message of support from someone claiming to represent Britain First.

Birds of a feather, so to speak. It should surprise no one that, in spite of their protestations, there has always been a close relationship between right-wing libertarians and fascism/right-wing authoritarianism. For example, Marinetti’s Futurist Party merged with Mussolini’s fascists and, more recently, libertarians have praised Pinochet’s so-called ‘Chilean Miracle’. The weeping Nazi, Christopher Cantwell was a libertarian before he became a neo-Nazi.

I almost forgot: the YBF is no more. The site link is dead. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the YBFL or any of its fellow travellers.

Reference

Reich, W., & Carfagno, V. R. (1970). The mass psychology of fascism (p. 1520). New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Continue reading

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The Council Tax Liability Order

Is there anything more pointless than the Council Tax Liability Order? If you’ve failed to pay your Council Tax for whatever reason, your local authority will threaten to apply to the court for a Liability Order. The reason, they claim, is to ascertain liability for the tax. Well, duh, so I’m liable to pay Council Tax but liability and the ability to pay are two separate things and, as far as local authorities are concerned, if you can’t pay, that’s just tough. In fact, local authorities don’t care if you starve. They just want their money, so they will either demand payment in full or lock you into an arrangement that you cannot possibly meet.  So that takes you back to square one.

The Liability Order is simply another way to dump more debt onto those people who are least likely to be able to pay full Council Tax in the first place. It’s well past time to abolish Council Tax, but government ministers are simply too lazy to implement a much fairer system of local taxation. We need an Axe the Tax campaign like we had with the Poll Tax. In fact, I would argue that there is very little difference between the Council Tax and the Poll Tax. Both are based on the notion that everyone’s circumstances are the same. Theoretically, if someone on an income of £16, 000 pa is living next door to someone on £60,000 and they are in similar banded properties; they pay the same in Council Tax. Is that fair? No. But then, the Tories’ idea of fairness can be seen everywhere from the homeless that sleep on our streets to the working poor, who have their benefits cut and are forced to go to foodbanks.

Welcome to Cruel Britannia. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

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They’re Behaving/Pretending Like They’ve Won The Election!

As the dust settles  on the General Election result, one thing is obvious: no one won an outright majority. The Tories lost their majority after their leader’s high stakes gamble in calling a snap general election, and Labour came second. Those facts are inescapable.  But why call the election in the first place? The reason given by many political hacks was that, apparently, May took one look across the dispatch box and perceived a weak Jeremy Corbyn, and thought she could walk it by uttering a few idiotic soundbites. How wrong she was. She and her party thought the landslide was in the bag. How wrong they were. Remember, this was a landslide widely predicted by the great and the good of Britain’s media. Their oft-repeated prediction was intended to achieve one aim: to intimidate Labour supporters, and convince them to stay at home rather than vote for the unelectable Labour Party led by the unelectable Jeremy Corbyn (who’s actually won every election since 1983).

Since the election the complaint from the Tories and mainstream media has been “They’re behaving/pretending like they’ve won the election”! This complaint reveals an ignorance of how parliamentary politics and the constitution works. It also demonstrates a weak grasp of history, particularly of hung parliaments and minority governments, and the role of the opposition in a hung parliament. More importantly, the complaint itself is puerile and serves to further undermine our limited and deeply corrupted democracy.  But it also underscores the Tory Party’s authoritarian tendencies: in other words, you can have an official opposition as long as it’s supine and scared of its own shadow. Thankfully, we don’t live in a Tory one-party state – yet.

I have already talked about two hung parliaments in December 1923 and February 1974, which resulted in hung parliaments and minority governments. It is clear that this latest hysterical outburst from the Tories and their media allies is designed to convince gullible members of the public that Labour is out to destroy the country by not playing ball with May’s apparently serious and adult government (sic), which is supposedly acting in “the national interest“.

Labour has the right to say that it is waiting and ready to form a government. Why? Because:

  1. The role of the opposition in a hung parliament is to use every opportunity to defeat the government. You can guarantee that if the situation were reversed, no one in the media would say “They’re (the Tories) pretending they’ve won the election”. Instead, the media would actively encourage the Tories to find ways to defeat a Labour minority government as The Daily Mail  – with the connivance of the secret state – did in 1924.
  2. Labour is the second party and could form a minority government if the Queen’s Speech is defeated. That’s how the constitution works. This is what happened in January 1924 and February 1974.

It’s annoying to see even seasoned political commentators like Andrew Neil resorting to this kind of bullshit. He’s supposed to know how the constitution works. It’s his job. Mind you, he is a Tory after all.

This is the latest manifestation of an ongoing campaign to smear the Labour Party and, by extension, Jeremy Corbyn, because the previous smears failed. Indeed, the party did better than expected in spite of the tow year long smear campaign in much of the media.  Unable to comprehend the election result, Tories and their media allies have misrepresented Labour’s rediscovered sense of confidence for arrogance, but it’s a projection.  I mean, how dare they feel confident? They lost, didn’t they? Well, yes, but the Tories didn’t win either despite being the largest party and besides, it looks as though they’ve been caught cheating again.

Finally, the Tories are weak and they know it, so they lash out like wounded animals. In 1974, Ted Heath attempted to form a coalition with Jeremy Thorpe’s Liberal Party. The talks broke down over the weekend. May’s Tories are trying to form a confidence and supply arrangement with the Democratic Unionist Party and, by all accounts, it isn’t going very well.  The DUP have accused the Tories of being poor negotiators. We’re also told that this deal has to happen because, according the the Tories and the media, the DUP “doesn’t want to see Corbyn as PM”. So what? We don’t want to see the Tories continue to drag Britain into the abyss, nor do we want to see the DUP pull May’s strings – she’s weak enough as it is.

The sooner this useless and cruel government is dispatched, the better.

 

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Filed under Government & politics, General Election 2017

Don’t Get Too Excited. Sinn Féin Are Not Taking Their Seats At Westminster

Some of you may have seen reports in The S*n, The Daily Abscess and The Scotsman that Sinn Féin will be taking their seats in the Westminster parliament. It isn’t going to happen. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not next year. Forget it. The party has a longstanding policy of abstention in the British parliament and that isn’t going to change.

In the 1918 General Election, sometimes called the ‘Coupon election’, Sinn Féin led by Eamonn De Valera, were the third party with 73 seats. They refused to take their seats and so, by default, Labour became the third largest party.  This would be the last time that Sinn Féin would contest a general election until 1983 when Gerry Adams was elected as MP.  Instead, Sinn Féin took its seats in the first Dáil (Irish parliament).  As for De Valera, he left Sinn Féin and formed Fianna Fáil in 1926 after the Civil War, and focussed his efforts on the nascent Irish Free State.

Sinn Féin’s reason for abstaining has something to do with the oath that all new MPs have to swear before taking their seats but that’s only part of the reason.

Sinn Féin sees itself as an Irish republican party that represents the Irish people. It is opposed to the British occupation of the Six Counties and as long as that continues, it will refuse to take its seats. Moreover, it has no interest in British affairs unless they impact on the island of Ireland.

Sinn Féin’s Danny Morrison writing on Eamonn Mallie’s blog, says:

Many arguments have been advanced in defence of abstentionism including that the oath or affirmation of allegiance to a foreign monarch and her heirs presents a difficulty and is inimical to one’s republicanism; or that one’s influence is miniscule and dwarfed by the major parties with few from the North able to demonstrate worthwhile achievements commensurate with their attendance.

These arguments, whilst valid, are not at the core of abstentionism. For example, the oath could be completely removed. Or, imagine Britain a republic. It might well be possible for some of the parties which take their seats to point to pieces of legislation that they have influenced or initiated. In the circumstances of a hung parliament it is undeniable that a tail might be able to wag the much bigger dog for a time.

Even if the oath was removed and I was an MP I would still not take my seat.

Even if Britain was a republic I would still not take my seat.

Even if I held the balance of power and could get through bits and pieces of legislation (while flattering myself as to the magnitude of my importance) I would still not take my seat.

For me, it is quite simple.

How can I object to Britain interfering in Irish affairs if I go over and interfere in theirs?

Once I took my seat, with or without an oath, I have lost the moral high ground on that question of Irish sovereignty. I have already conceded Britain’s right to govern on this shore – a claim that was demonstrably rejected in December 1918 by the majority of people in Ireland in a democratic election.

Even though for reasons of pragmatism I support Agreements which were passed into law in the House of Commons, this does not mean that I recognise Britain’s claim to rule over me as being legitimate.

You can read the rest of Morrison’s article here.

The British press has a terrible reputation for propagandizing  and stirring up trouble, and anything it says with regards to Ireland and Irish sovereignty should be taken with a ton of salt – especially if its in The S*n, a paper that lied about Hillsborough and hacked people’s phones.

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Filed under General Election 2017, Ireland, Northern Ireland