Tag Archives: Theresa May

1974 -“Who Governs Britain”?

Yesterday, when I heard Theresa May was going to announce a General Election, I immediately thought of Ted Heath’s massive gamble in 1974.  Is this her “Who Governs Britain” moment?

In February 1974, a petulant Ted Heath called a general election on the premise that he was the best person to lead the country.  Weeks later, he got his answer in no uncertain terms. “Not you, Ted”.

Here’s the Tory Party Election Broadcast from February, 1974. You’ll notice how little has changed since then.

That General Election resulted in a hung parliament.  Heath tried to convince the Liberal Party, led by Jeremy Thorpe, to support him in coalition. But the Liberals demanded some movement on proportional representation before entering into such an agreement.  Heath refused to budge, so the Queen asked Harold Wilson to form a minority government.

Wilson went to the country in October to consolidate his government’s position and won 18 more seats.  Heath had clearly bitten off more than he could chew.  His outgoing administration left a massive balance of trade deficit, which precipitated the Sterling Crisis of 1976, and led to the Labour government applying for a short-term IMF loan, which was paid off in 1979.

Throughout the 1980s, Thatcher’s Tories used the same language of crisis that May and Cameron have used since 2010.  Namely, that Labour “bankrupted” the country and they were “cleaning up the mess” (sic) left by them. Yet, if they’d been faced with the same decision, the Tories would have also applied for an IMF loan. The same is true of the 2008 sovereign debt crisis. They’d have borrowed money to bail out the banks.  When most of the media is on your side, you can tell as many lies as you like and get away with it.

The myths and lies of the 1970s have been woven into the political fabric of this country by the corporate media, and have been accepted uncritically by Tories, Liberals, voters and right-wing Labour MPs, who are too cowardly to fight back.  It’s time to put an end to this madness. Voting the Tories out on 8 June is the start of that process.

 

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Filed under 20th century, General Election 2017, History, History & Memory

Theresa May, Human Rights And Cats

Theresa May is no fan of human rights. In fact, she’ll say anything to convince people to sign away their rights.

Do you remember this?

I haven’t forgotten it. On 8 June, kick out the Toxic Tories.

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General Elections, The Fixed Term Parliament Act and Tory Election Fraud

Forgive me in advance, but the cynic in me thinks that Theresa May calling for a debate to acquire the two thirds majority needed under the terms of the Fixed Term Parliament Act (FTPA), which will allow her to call a General Election, is not only cynical but desperate.  This morning, I heard rumours that the Crown Prosecution Service is to make an announcement that 22 Conservative MPs are to face prosecution for failing to correctly declare their election expenses in 2015.  Naturally, the BBC’s political geniuses and self-styled gurus failed to mention this as a possible factor in May’s decision. Indeed, in March, the Prime Minister ruled out calling a snap General Election. Here she is being interviewed by Andrew Neil on The Sunday Politics.  At round 28.00 she appears to quash rumours that she will call a snap election.

When the ‘Downing Street’ announcement was made at a few minutes past eleven this morning, the Blairites, Blue Labourites, assorted anti-Corbynites and their ever-diminishing band of supporters were gleefully claiming that the end is nigh for Jeremy Corbyn’s time as party leader. In what other country would you have people, who are supposedly members of a particular political party, wishing for their own party’s demise? What kind of false consciousness bullshit is that?

If May is successful in securing a two thirds majority to trigger the election, the usual voices will claim that Corbyn should have voted against it. But then, these people are utterly clueless about Parliamentary procedure and party politics generally. Parliament, if anything, is all about procedure, which involves the kind of dull and often repetitive stuff that turns many people off politics.. well, party politics at any rate.  Real politics concerns the decisions and choices you make in your everyday lives. Parliamentary politics, as currently configured, is entertainment, public relations and a lot of bullshit. The FTPA demands that either a vote of no confidence is tabled or the PM seeks the approval of the Commons to call an election.

One last thing: members are important and a party that has hundreds of thousands of members is likely to do better than a party with a fraction of those members.  No political party with a handful of members has ever made an electoral impact, formed a government nor formed the official opposition. I’ll be watching the Blairites to see how they behave.  My instincts tell me that they will actively try to sabotage their party’s chances of winning. Let’s hope my instincts are wrong.

UPDATE 18/4/17 @ 1742

According to Michael Crick, the CPS deadline for the decision on whether to prosecute 22 Tory MPs is late May or early June.

UPDATE 18/4/17 @ 2011

Channel 4 News has reported that there are over 30 Tory MPs and election agents that are facing prosecution.

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Why Do Some People Have A Problem With Protest?

To hear establishment figures talk, you’d think that protests were pointless and those who do it are equally pointless. Furthermore, listening to the same people, you’d also be forgiven for thinking that the only people that protest are students. This, of course, isn’t true but it reveals something about the mental workings of the complainants: they despise learning and erudition and see students, along with the unemployed as feckless and indolent.  Indeed, this is a commonly-held view on the British political right and some in the Labour Party. Protesting is seen as an activity limited to lazy students, who should be in lectures instead of on the streets.

Years of tabloid anti-student ridicule has fixed these tropes firmly in the minds of Britain’s reactionaries, who see universities, not as places in which long-held assumptions are challenged but places of left-wing (sic) indoctrination. Let’s leave aside those views and tropes for now and concentrate instead on protests and those who view them as useless.

One of the complaints made about Jeremy Corbyn since he became leader of the Labour Party was that he would turn the party into a ‘party of protests’. This claim rested on the assumption that because Corbyn frequently appeared at rallies and demonstrations, that the party will spend much of its time waving placards instead of involving itself in the serious business of ‘yah boo sucks’ parliamentary politics of which the Tories have excelled themselves for many years. In this case, the word ‘protest’ is deployed as an insult, because we all know Westminster politics is where the action is. Right?

Today’s Prime Minister’s Questions, is a case in point: Theresa May replied to one of Corbyn’s questions with “I lead a party of government, unlike the gentleman opposite, who leads protests” (I’ve paraphrased this). It was meant to be a snappy comeback, but it struck me as petty and ridiculous.  It also revealed the narrow-mindedness of those who see protest a useless.  Governments and certain politicians may frequently trumpet their absurd democratic credentials, but they loathe protests and see them, wrongly, as anti-democratic.

It is likely that those who despise and ridicule protests have never had to protest in their lives. Why? Because not only are they tied to the establishment, they are also comfortable. They have been encouraged to see politics as something reserved only for professionals, who are drawn from the ‘correct’ class. In other words, those people who see themselves as a our ‘betters’.  Tories rarely, if ever, protest and when they do, it usually results in a total washout.

Protests have affected change in Britain and this cannot be denied or elided with glib questions like “since when did protests achieve anything” or the blanket dismissals of professional politicians.  Protests have achieved a great deal throughout history. If it were not for protests, women would not have been given the vote. If not for the Chartists’ many protests, the vote would not have been extended to all men.  The many Poll Tax protests, which culminated in the riot of May 1990, resulted in the end of that hated tax. These are only a few examples of successful protests.

Jeremy Corbyn isn’t the first party leader to appear on the platform at protests. The former Liberal Democrat leader, the late Charles Kennedy, was a frequent speaker at anti-war protests as was former SNP leader, Alex Salmond.  So when the likes of Theresa May or the legions of right-wing commenters in the ‘below the line’ threads on newspaper websites ridicule Corbyn for appearing at demonstrations, remember this: these people aren’t democrats and have a limited understanding of politics generally. They have neither the gumption nor the passion to take to the streets themselves and are only capable of carping from the sidelines. Remember also that protesting is a legitimate form of political activity, whatever the Tory tabloids and their representatives in Parliament tell you.

 

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Now That The Tories Are Back, What Will Happen To The #CSA Inquiry?

The Cat thinks now that the Tories are back in power, the Child Sex Abuse inquiry may stall or go quiet. Cameron’s cabinet appointments certainly don’t offer much hope for progress on this issue. Theresa May remains as Home Secretary and Michael Gove is the new Justice Minister, despite having no law qualifications (he probably watched a courtroom drama on the telly once). Gove has already gone on record accusing those pressing for a full inquiry as “conspiracy theorists”.

Exaro News reported on 8 June 2013, that Gove, then Education Secretary, blocked a move to force schools to report sexual abuse.

The Independent reported on 6 July 2014,

The Education Secretary has insisted that there should not be a public inquiry into a possible cover-up of paedophile politicians in Westminster, after it emerged that more than 100 Home Office files related to historic allegations of child abuse have gone “missing”.

May, herself, appointed two judges who had connections to those implicated in the scandal. Both were forced to resign following pressure from victims’ groups and the media.

Then there’s the case of Patrick Rock, Cameron’s former adviser, who was  charged with the possession of indecent images of children. He appeared at Southwark magistrates court last December, after failing to appear in court in October. Rock was, according to the Daily Telegraph,

…born Patrick Robert John Rock de Besombes, is a veteran Conservative Party adviser and has been described as David Cameron’s “fixer”.

London-born Mr Rock, 62, is from an aristocratic family and attended Stonyhust College in Lancashire before winning a scholarship to Worcester College, Oxford, where he studied history.

Cameron claimed to have been “profoundly shocked” by Rock’s arrest. Here’s a video clip of his response.

Pure PR fluff. The handling of Rock’s departure was handled poorly as this Newsnight clip explains:

Rock was “close to David Cameron”. Great judgement. No?

The abuse cases in Rotherham, Rochdale and Oxford seem to be getting more coverage than the high level paedophile cases and while these cases are undoubtedly horrendous, they act as a useful distraction from the Westminster abuse scandal because they seem to claim that only men of Pakistani origin run paedophile rings.

We know that isn’t true.

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The Tottenham riots, the racists of Fleet Street and their friends

Babylon is burning.  Photo courtesy of The Guardian

The riots in Tottenham have not only brought many youths onto the streets, they’ve also brought Britain’s cyber-racists out in great numbers. The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail are the homes of Britain’s reactionary tendency. The Telegraph, in particular, has seen an upsurge in Islamophobic comments over the last few years. But this Islamophobia has within it a barely concealed racism. It took the recent riots to bring this to the surface.

Nile Gardiner uses his blog to smear his opponents. To be honest, it’s surprising that he didn’t blame the riots on his favourite hate-figure: Barack Obama. He tempts his readers with this

And what’s the evidence that these riots are anything at all to do with the policies of the current government? Absolutely zilch. They are merely an excuse for robbery and destruction. And if anything the Coalition has not gone far enough in reining in the deficit, and has not been forceful enough on issues like crime.

Gardiner doesn’t have his ear to the ground; he lives in Washington DC and makes frequent appearances on Fox News where he spins yarns about ‘liberals’ and disseminates his paranoid fantasies. But it’s the unmoderated comments like this one from the appropriately named “bear_of_very_little_brain”

in the eyes  of modernists blacks, queers and women can do no  wrong.
Sexism and homophobia as well as racism. Charming. Another called “cartimandua” says
Lefties are very thick. For years they have been selling us the prison yard culture of Jamaica and Trinidad and saying it is black culture. I always wonder what the middle classes and intellectuals of those places think about that.
And this from “simonlove” lauds Hitler – but with a caveat.
Loads of the older generation who even fought against Hitler will tell you that Hitler had the right idea, he just took it too far…
“danoconnor” barely conceals his meta-racism,
National Black Police Association “Oh , right !  the National African Non-British Police Association
That must be just next door to the Muslim Police Association ,
and the….Hindu
Sikh   Police Associations
Where can I find the National White Police Association ?
This one summons up the ghost of Enoch Powell. “Hacim Obmed” says,
The deep problem revealed by these riots will not dissipate but will only fester and become worse.  Accept that Enoch Powell had it right with his “Rivers of Blood”, and a dreadful mistake has been made. We in the US made the same mistake by permitting the importation of African slaves and we paid a heavy price.  My advice, send these alien populations back where they came from before it is too late. I know it is hard but this is a matter of survival. Save British culture and society while you still can. Time is short. Your children deserve to inherit the same England that your ancestors bequeathed to you.
Well, who’d have thought it – Ken Livingstone is trying to use the Tottenham riots to further his election campaign. Here he is, blaming evil Tory cuts and crowbarring three attacks on Boris Johnson into a 300-word statement. Even Thatcher gets a namecheck!
Gilly likes to tell us that he isn’t a racist or an Islamophobe but his articles tell us a different story. As I’ve pointed out in previous blogs, he encourages racists from the EDL and the BNP to comment on his blog
Katharine Burbalsingh, ever the opportunistic blogger, chips in with her ‘expert’ analysis,

What colour is Mark Duggan? Mark Duggan is the man who was shot dead by the police on Thursday in Tottenham. The Tottenham riots last night were sparked when people protested his death. This morning, I first heard of the riots on the radio, then on the television. I read articles on the internet. But oddly, no one would say what colour Mark Duggan was. No one would say the unsayable, that the rioters were, I suspect on the whole, black. Then, finally, Toby Young’s Telegraph blog post on the riots was published. Is Toby Young the only  journalist out there who will dare say that these riots are about race?

One of her commenters, the charmingly named “j-white” decries ‘multi-culturalism’

The riots and looting have once again proven that multi-racial societies are inherently unstable, and shown that the state has a policy of appeasement toward third world colonies.

I wonder what “j-white” would have made of Roman Britain? The exceptionally racist “quatzee”, who deliberately misspells the word “Muslim”, reckons himself a comedian,

Two Guardian readers walking down the street happen upon a Muzlim screaming “Allah Ackbar! death to you! how dare you insult Jizzlam! Mohammed rules!” etc. One says to the other…..
But wait, there’s more enlightened comment! This is from “michael_arch”
As opposed to the BBC being blind to the News. Loves its ethnics – The Black Broadcasting Corporation that doubles up as the voice of Islam.
There are many more examples of unmoderated racist comments in the Telegraph but the prize for the most racist remark has to go to the Daily Heil’s Mad Mel Phillips who tweeted this,
@Mel_Phillips Melanie Phillips
‘Jungle Fever’ in #tottenham. As Leroy loots Primarni, we need to loot moral high ground of multiculti brigade.
“Jungle Fever”, eh? Who says that Jews can’t be racists too? I wonder if she realizes that there were Hasidic Jews on the streets of Tottenham jeering and mocking the police? From the Guardian,

The make-up of the rioters was racially mixed. Most were men or boys, some apparently as young as 10.

But families and other local residents, including some from Tottenham’s Hasidic Jewish community, also gathered to watch and jeer at police.

Rather predictably, the racist hacks of Fleet Street rush to paint this as a solely ‘black’ thing. The racists that make up their readership and comment on their blogs help to stoke the flames of ethnic tension. None of them are capable of understanding how much more there is to these riots beyond seeing a ‘bunch of violent thugs on a rampage’. Every single one of the Torygraph’s bloggers deny that the cuts in public services, the lack of opportunities and long-term wage stagnation have anything to do with these riots. They bury their heads in the sand and pretend that it’s all about ‘yardies’ in hoodies who are also, oddly enough, Islamic extremists. This is what passes for analysis on the pages of Britain’s right wing press.

I’ve just heard that Theresa May is cutting short her holiday to return to Britain to make the usual noises about law and order. Oh joy.

UPDATE: 9/8/11 @0023

Just to point out that the ‘Tweet’ from Melanie Phillips comes from a spoof Twitter page. I didn’t know this at the time.

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