Tag Archives: tories

The Tories’ Exploitation Of Voter Apathy

How many times have you heard some people say, when referring to political parties, that “they’re all the same” or “there’s no difference”. There may have been some truth to these beliefs once upon a time, but things have changed, and while Blair’s Nu Labour project bore little resemblance to the Labour Party, which was often referred to as “Old Labour”, and more resembled the Tories, there is real difference between the parties. Of course, that isn’t the way that either the Conservative Party or large sections of the media want you to see things.

In the last two General Elections, the Tories cynically played the “they’re all as bad as each other” card to win seats. Sadly, too many people still fall for these PR shenanigans. In 2015, the Cameron-led party won a majority and two years later, the May-led party lost almost all of that majority. In each case, they used the same slogans and tried to exploit the electorate by resorting to the “they’re all just as bad, so vote for us” strategy. In this election, like dogs returning to their vomit, they have gone back to the previous elections and dusted off the same tired messages: “coalition of chaos”, a “Labour/Corbyn-SNP/Sturgeon alliance” and so on.

However, rather than offer a semblance of balance, the media has been all too willing to amplify these messages. For example, last Friday’s terrorist incident at London Bridge has seen the BBC, particularly, claim that “both parties” have “politicized” the tragedy , this is despite being urged not to do so by the father of one of the victims. Only one party has been exploiting the incident for political gain and that’s the Conservative Party.

Today, Neil O’Brien, the Tory candidate for Harborough, Oadby & Wigston and former head of Policy Exchange tweeted this:

Of course, he isn’t the only one, but he’s the only one that I replied to today.

The rationale behind the Tories’ efforts to undermine trust in politics stems from their desire to rule at all costs. They may talk about ‘effective oppositions’ but it’s all hot air. If anything, they’d prefer a token opposition like the one that existed in Francoist Spain if they had to face one at all. Tories, contrary to what they say, despise democracy and would prefer it if people didn’t vote. Please disappoint them by not voting Tory on 12 December, people’s lives are depending on it.

Don’t fall for the Tories’ cynical PR. Vote them out.

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Filed under General Election 2019, Media

Brace Yourselves, Here Come The Tory Lies About Immigration

I’ve just been listening to the very unpleasant, Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary talk about what he called Labour’s ‘open door immigration’ policy. This is not just a signal that the Tories intend to revert to their comfortable default position, it’s also a glaring example of racist dog-whistling. We know that over the decades, the British press has sold its readers stories of how immigration is bad, how it drives wages down, how immigrants are coming here and ‘taking our jobs’ and so on. Petty nativism and small-minded xenophobia sell papers, but don’t provide the public with the details they need to make informed choices. Instead, many members of the public internalize these lies and accept them as truths.

The Tories, Brexit Party and UKIP all talk about how they want to see an ‘Australian points-based system’. When I hear politicians use that phrase, I think of Australia’s whites only immigration policy, which I suspect they really want to implement here. Raab also repeated the line, also uttered by his fellow Randroid, Priti Patel, that they wanted the ‘best and the brightest’ to come to this country. Somehow, I can’t see ‘the best and the brightest’ wanting to come here. Why would they? Why would they want to come to a small backwater off the north-west coast of Europe, especially if they’re well qualified? They’ll go to Canada or the United States. I’ve read stories of how doctors and dentists from African countries and the Indian subcontinent come here, only to be told that their qualifications aren’t recognized. They end up working as cleaners, cab drivers and security guards.

Kenan Malik, writing in The Guardian in this April, wrote about the flaws in the Australian points-based system and its baked-in racism.

Australia introduced its points-based immigration system in the 1970s. The idea was to create a kind of non-racist version of the “white Australia” policy that had held sway for almost a century. Middle-class professionalism now came to replace “whiteness” as the measure of a good migrant. The trouble is, being middle class and skilled guarantees neither a job nor social acceptance.

A study last year showed that of skilled migrants from non-English speaking countries who came to Australia between 2011 and 2016, fewer than a third had found a professional or managerial job. Another study revealed that such migrants were 25% more likely to be in the bottom income quintile than either migrants from English-speaking countries (primarily white migrants) or those born in Australia. The unemployment rate for recent migrants on a permanent visa is more than 50% higher than it is for Australians in general.

He adds:

There is also the question of racism. A study by the economist Andrew Leigh showed that an individual with an Anglo-Saxon name is far more likely to get a job interview than someone with the same qualifications and experience, but with a Chinese, Middle Eastern or Indigenous Australian name.

We haven’t left the European Union, but already we have people being told to ‘go home’ because they look different and speak with an accent. The Australian points-based system that right-wing politicians long for are just words that are used to placate xenophobes and racists. In reality, such a system would still discriminate against people of colour.

Whether politicians like Raab, Patel, Farage et all want to admit or not, Britain relies heavily on immigrant labour to plug the gaps in the workforce. Our NHS especially relies on immigrant labour and so does agriculture. Last month when I tweeted about fruit being left to rot in the field because there was no one to pick it, I was rounded on by angry Brexiteers and self-styled Lexiters, who first claimed that ‘farmers hadn’t prepared’ for this, while someone else said ‘I hope they go out of business’. Others told me that the unemployed should be forced to pick fruit for their benefits. The fact of the matter is that fruit pickers from EU countries don’t want to come here anymore, because they’ve heard how foreign workers aren’t welcome. None of the people who attacked me, especially the Lexiters, would admit that this was a factor. Worse, they seemed to have no problem with food waste. Ironically, the papers which usually publish lies on their front pages about immigration, also complained about millions of apples being left to rot.

These people really don’t know what they want.

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Filed under General Election 2019, Media, racism, Racism, Society & culture

Ian Austin: Fraudulent Anti-Racist

The last few days haven’t been kind to the Tories’ election campaign and, as sure as night follows day, there was a manufactured distraction to divert the gaze away from their myriad problems. First, came Tom Watson standing down as a candidate for West Bromwich. Then this morning, rather predictably, came the next distraction in the shape of the extremely bitter fraud, Ian Austin. Indeed, in the figure of Austin the BBC et al believed they found the right man to scupper Labour’s election campaign. The trouble with Austin and the BBC is that he has a less than unblemished record when it comes to fighting racism. To put it bluntly, his anti-racism is selective. Worse, is that he’s said nothing about Boris Johnson’s racism nor has he commented on Priti Patel and Jacob Rees Mogg’s dog-whistle anti-Semitism. It’s as if, in his mind, those incidents never happened. For, if you were to believe him and the media, Labour is the single biggest reservoir of racism in the country. But it’s not any old racism we’re talking about here: it’s manufactured and weak allegations of anti-Semitism, which are treated with a greater degree of seriousness than other forms of racism and even actual incidents of anti-Semitism themselves.

Austin has previous form when it comes to racism and xenophobia. In 2013, he was forced to apologise for labelling a Palestinian human rights group ‘anti-Semitic’ and Holocaust deniers. When he was a minister under Gordon Brown, he was a vocal critic of ‘asylum seekers’ who are, by and large, people of colour. Indeed, in 2016, Birmingham Live, a local news site, carried a story in which Austin claimed, without any evidence, that there were “too many asylum seekers in the Black Country”. The site reported:

Rich and posh southerners have refused to take in asylum seekers – while Birmingham and the Black Country are taking in more than their fair share, an MP has claimed.

Black Country MP Ian Austin (Lab Dudley North) told MPs that too many asylum seekers had been housed in the Midlands and North, and this could lead to worse public services including schools and hospitals.

And he insisted the Government must “learn from the mistakes they made in the past” when providing homes for new asylum seekers – including the 20,000 Syrian refugees whom David Cameron has announced the UK will take in.

Today, while touring the nation’s radio and television studios, Austin urged voters to support Boris Johnson. Leaving aside the fact that we don’t vote directly for Prime Ministers, Austin’s entreaty to the nation’s listeners and viewers smacked, not only of gross hypocrisy, but of tacit support for the Tories’ racist policies.

Austin was elected as Labour MP for Dudley South in 2005 and was elevated to the position of Parliamentary Private Secretary to Gordon Brown two years later. I’ve documented Brown’s selective anti-racism here. Remember, it was Brown who uttered the infamous phrase ‘British jobs for British workers’ Brown also demanded that the county became more patriotic, citing the United States as an example. In so doing, he encouraged the forces unleashed by Nu Labour’s 2005 general election campaign, in which the party sought to raise the stakes by producing anti-immigration rhetoric of its own in response to Michael Howard’s xenophobic and racist dog-whistling.

Austin may be the adopted son of British Jews, but I would argue that he uses it to shield to deflect criticism for his rampant xenophobia and his casual acceptance of other forms of racism, particularly from the Tory benches. In fact, if you’re Jewish and you disagree with Austin, you can expect to be abused, as Michael Rosen has found out not once, but twice.

Here’s a video clip which shows the exchange between bully boy Austin and Rosen. Austin looks and sounds thuggish.

In July, he was appointed as trade envoy to Israel by outgoing PM, Theresa May. If the Tories form the next government, then he will no doubt stay in that role.

A liar, a bully and a selective anti-racist, Ian Austin is nothing less than a fraud, who would happily sell out other minorities and those he deems to be the “wrong sort of Jew”.

Instead of asking serious questions of Austin’s motives and of his flaky anti-racism, the media treats him seriously, even deferentially. He’s no friend to people of colour. In fact, Twitter advanced search reveals that Austin hasn’t once tweeted about either Windrush or Hostile Environment. Now what does that tell you?

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Smears, Lies, Hyperbole And Doctored Videos. The Tory Election Campaign Starts As It Means To Go On

Let’s be brutally honest: the Tories have no policies, no ideas and no clue. They believe they have a divine right to rule (rather than govern). For them, the General Election is all about Brexit, or so they’d have you believe. Yesterday on Twitter, the Tories posted a video, which they had edited to make it appear as if Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary was stuck for words to a question posed to him by Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain.

Johnny Mercer who, in spite of his expensive education, isn’t particularly bright, as his use of the word ‘inexplicably’ reliably informs us. There’s an explanation for this video, but it’s not one that he’d readily admit to. At the time of writing, the video clip is still up on Twitter and is being retweeted. On today’s edition of Good Morning Britain, Conservative Party chairman, James ‘Clown Shoes’ Cleverly, was asked about it. His reply is predictable.

‘We needed to shorten the video’ he says but he doesn’t offer a credible reason why he had to edit it. The real reason, and it’s not one that Cleverly would willingly admit to, is that he wanted to make Kier Starmer look stupid. He even tried to pass it off as ‘satire’, which is what Tories and alt-rightists do every time they’re caught out. Tories actually hate satire, because it punches up rather than down. The BBC’s cancellation of That Was The Week That Was in 1963 after pressure brought about by the Home government stands as a testament.

Today’s Daily Telegraph’s screaming front page reproduces part of Boris Johnson’s hyperbolic article contained within it pages, in which he compares Jeremy Corbyn to Joseph Stalin.

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Johnson’s article ignores such things as history and facts to push a pretty bad piece of hyperbole. If Corbyn was anything like Stalin, we’d all be dead now, Johnson included. What Johnson appears to be defending is greed and no doubt the article, which is hidden behind a paywall, repeats the dishonest phrase ‘wealth creators’ several times but to compare Britain’s greediest to the kulaks is beyond hyperbole: it’s risible melodrama worthy of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard and, in typical Johnson fashion, it also plays fast and loose with the truth.

Yesterday on right-wing talk station, LBC, Jacob Rees Mogg told listeners that those who perished in the Grenfell Tower fire “lacked common sense” to leave the burning building. He was supported by Andrew Bridgen, who in an interview with Poll Tax architect, Evan Davis, on Radio 4’s PM, told listeners:

“But we want very clever people running the country, don’t we Evan?” “That’s a byproduct of what Jacob is and that’s why he is in a position of authority.” This is just another way of saying “bourgeois social conditioning produces children with superior intellects”. In this unguarded moment, Bridgen’s mask slipped to reveal the eugenicist underneath. This morning he tried to be contrite, but Twitter wasn’t having any of it.

Paul on Books had this to say:

James Felton told him:

Not wishing to be outdone by any of her colleagues, the terminally stupid, Nadine Dorries, went for the old “Corbyn is a threat to our national security” angle, while retweeting an article which purported to carry the words of former Foreign Secretary and warmonger, Jack Straw (also hidden behind a paywall). For Dorries, this was definitive proof that Corbyn was dangerous, despite having a security clearance and being a Privy Councillor. Of course, when it comes to lies, the Tories have a fatal attraction.

Jack Straw? Much respected? Not by this author and not by those who opposed the wasteful and catastrophic war in Iraq.

It’s officially the first day of the General Election campaign and already the Tories are making a mess of it – just like they did last time.

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Election Round-up: Farage Out, Gove’s Drunken Tweets

Nigel ‘Fag Ash’ Farage has announced that he won’t be standing as a candidate for the Brexit Corporation Party in the upcoming general election. Of course, that doesn’t mean he’ll be absent from our telly screens. Quite the opposite, in fact. Farage has appeared on BBC Question Time more than any other politician (33 times), despite not having a seat in the Westminster Parliament. We’re told that it’s because he’s the CEO Leader of a ‘major’ political party.

Farage, like Boris Johnson and Donald Trump, is a media creation. They’ve elevated him to a position far above his role as MEP. I mean, how many other MEPs get as much attention as he does? Not even Dan Hannan gets his mug on the box as much.

Some pundits claim the reason why Farage isn’t standing is because he’s failed to get elected eight times. Fag Ash claims:

“Do I find a seat and try to get myself into parliament or do I serve the cause better traversing the length and breadth of the United Kingdom supporting 600 candidates, and I’ve decided the latter course is the right one.”

It’s been suggested that Farage’s vanity project party could split the right-wing vote and allow Labour in. Good. The company party intends to stand in Boris Johnson’s constituency of Uxbridge and Ruislip. Johnson has a 5000 majority.

In other news, it was revealed that Tory candidate for Gower, Francesca O’Brien, made some unsavoury and socially Darwinistic comments on Facebook about Channel 4’s poverty porn show Benefits Street. The tweet, which has now been taken down is reported to have said:

“Benefit Street..anyone else watching this?? Wow, these people are unreal!!!” “My blood is boiling, these people need putting down.”

However, the Tories have refused to deselect her. According to Adam Bienkov of Business Insider.

Asked whether O’Brien would be removed as the candidate, the Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey MP told the BBC on Monday that while O’Brien’s comment were “clearly wrong,” it was now a “matter for the people of Gower.”

“I recognise these comments are not ones that I would associate myself with in any way, but I think that will be a decision for the people of Gower to make a choice on who they want to be their member of parliament,” she said.

Pushed again, she replied: “I think that is a matter for the people of Gower on whether they want her to be their next MP and they will have that choice next mont

Yet, last night and in the early hours of the morning, an apparently drunken and possibly coked-up Michael Gove sent out a series of defamatory tweets, each one a variation on the “Corbyn is a terrorist sympathiser and an anti-Semite” theme.

The ‘Dom’ mentioned here is the eugenics advocate and all round arsehole, Dominic Cummings. For the record, Gove opposed the Good Friday Agreement, echoing the familiar ‘No Surrender!’ of Loyalist paramilitaries and DUP politicians whom he greatly admires. If you think I’m exaggerating, think again. Gove even sings the Loyalist standard ‘The Sash My Father Wore’ according to the Irish News.

So while Gove is happy to smear Jeremy Corbyn and the likes of the BBC refuse to correct him when he spouts this slanderous nonsense, they say nothing about his admiration for Loyalist thuggery. The DUP, which supported the May government has close ties to Loyalist paramilitaries the UVF, UFF and Red Hand Commando, but there isn’t any mention of this on any of the broadcast news media. I wonder why?

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Well, You Could Call It ‘Incompetence’, But…

Yesterday’s revelation that some key documents have either been ‘mislaid’ or have ‘gone missing’ from the National Archives would appear, at first glance, to have some plausibility. But the files, which pertain to important events in British political history, such as the notorious Zinoviev Letter, the Falklands War and the plot to undermine the Wilson governments, seem to have vanished at a most opportune moment for the Conservative government.

Ian Cobain writing in The Guardian says:

The disappearances highlight the ease with which government departments can commandeer official papers long after they have been declassified and made available to historians and the public at the archives at Kew, south-west London.

A Freedom of Information Act request in 2014 showed that 9,308 files were returned to government departments in this way in 2011. The following year 7,122 files were loaned out, and 7,468 in 2013. The National Archives says Whitehall departments are strongly encouraged to promptly return them, but they are not under any obligation to do so.

Worrying. Further down, he writes:

Some historians have been particularly distrustful of the Foreign Office since 2013, when the Guardian disclosed that the department had been unlawfully hoarding 1.2m historical files at a high-security compound near Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire.

The hoard came to light during high court proceedings brought by a group of elderly Kenyans who were detained and abused during the Mau Mau insurgency in 1950s Kenya, when the Foreign Office admitted it had withheld thousands of colonial-era files.

A few years earlier, the Ministry of Defence refused to consider a number of files for release under the Freedom of Information Act on the grounds that they may have been exposed to asbestos.

The files concerned such matters as arms sales to Saudi Arabia, UK special forces operations against Indonesia and interrogation techniques. The MoD denied it was using the presence of asbestos in an old archive building as an excuse to suppress the documents.

When all else fails, blame it on asbestos… or foreigners, or gays or something.

Given the secrecy with which the British state operates, and the Conservative Party’s past record in undermining political parties and the democratic process, the Cat is inclined to suspect foul play. If government departments are allowed to take documents from the National Archives without being compelled to return them, then this leads one to conclude that items weren’t “misplaced”, they were taken for a reason and it’s fairly easy to work out what that reason was: to destroy them or keep them hidden from public view.

Remember that documents that are held in the National Archives are available to historians, academics and other members of the public on request. It is likely that the Tories, who have attempted to revise history for the seven years they’ve been in power, want to create a narrative that is, not only favourable to them, but one in which other legitimate political parties are cast in a negative light.

There must be a fully independent public inquiry into the disappearance of these documents. A failure to do so will only increase public suspicion of the Conservative Party and the state.

Ian Cobain’s book The History Thieves: Secrets, Lies and the Shaping of a Modern Nation is worth a read.

 

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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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Filed under Conservative Party, Government & politics, Political parties, Tory Party conference