This won’t be a democratic election, because we don’t live in a democracy

We’re governed by a anti-democratic elite that governs in the interest of big business and the super-rich

theresa may election speech

Last week Theresa May called a snap – i.e. sudden, triggered-when-she-knows-she’s-virtually-guaranteed-to-win-it – general election.

Melodramatic pundits will talk about it like it’s some grand exercise in democracy, but it won’t be. Britain isn’t a democracy and never has been.

The fact we’re even having an election under these circumstances is laughably undemocratic. Theresa May is an unelected Prime Minister. She just inherited the job from David Cameron when he resigned after losing the Brexit referendum.

She knew she would have to face a proper public vote eventually – so she’s rigged the process in her favour. She’s waited until she’s massively ahead in the polls, then sprung a last-minute election – having repeatedly said she wasn’t going to do so.

Labour and the other parties now have seven weeks to get their act together. She and the Tories have probably been secretly preparing for months. It’s like a school choosing the date of its own OFSTED inspection. Continue reading “This won’t be a democratic election, because we don’t live in a democracy”

This is the end? The anti-Corbyn coup and the death of Labour

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Settling into the most outrageously ridiculous period in modern political history, as this stupidity-blighted few weeks is surely now destined to be remembered, it’s quite difficult not to be overwhelmed by angry, pulsating disgust at almost everything.

Having cattle-prodded the most vulnerable, abused, and ill-informed bit of the population into authorising as seismic a political shift as we’ve seen in this country, it now turns out the Leave camp has given absolutely no thought to what would happen if they actually won – and if their wake-like victory press conference was anything to go by, it’s looking increasingly like they wish they hadn’t.

Around the UK, thousands of people opted for Out having got so used to the anti-democratic absurdity of First Past the Post that they didn’t expect it to count – with even lowlife ex-Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie reporting symptoms of Brexit remorse. Encouraged and legitimised by poisonous campaign rhetoric, racist abuse has soared all around the country. And now, as was always inevitable, a Parliamentary Labour Party stuffed with time-servers, careerists and establishment lickspittles has launched a coup against Jeremy Corbyn.

As tempting as it is to run full-tilt for the nearest woods and start your own off-the-grid agrarian-socialist utopia, we should probably all pause for a minute and try and digest what’s going on. It’s time for critical thinking and brute, unflinching honesty. Continue reading “This is the end? The anti-Corbyn coup and the death of Labour”

Disagreeing with Corbyn about growth

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Corbyn & McDonnell at the Labour Conference, just after John’s (very growthist) Shadow Chancellor’s speech

I was always going to have to write this post eventually. It’s about an annoyingly difficult moral problem I’ve found myself faced with since September.

That month, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, two men I’d seriously consider sacrificing one of my lesser appendages to see put in power, became leader of the opposition and shadow chancellor. It was stupendously unexpected, and probably the best thing that’s happened this decade.

But it quickly raised a big, fat, inconvenient moral-strategic question: what do you do when the two people you’ve long considered the finest protectors of the public good in parliament end up leading the Labour Party – and, in addition to a vast array of stuff you completely agree with, end up doing, saying or standing for one thing you majorly don’t?

Do you start publically disagreeing them with them on the one and only issue that separates you? Or settle into the groove of loyally bigging them up in each and every way you can, and countering the fusillade of media hate and state-backed propaganda that’s being hurled at them? Unfortunately, when the contentious issue in question concerns the most important thing in human affairs, silence isn’t an option. Continue reading “Disagreeing with Corbyn about growth”

Media Lens on Corbyn-Kuenssberg-Dugher-Doughty

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I started writing something about the Corbyn-Kuenssberg-Dugher-Doughty debacle myself, but then found this post by Media Lens which basically says all I wanted to say better (and more exhaustively researched) that I could.

http://medialens.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=810:our-only-fear-was-that-he-might-pull-his-punches-bbc-caught-manipulating-the-news&catid=54:alerts-2016&Itemid=248

Corbyn, Oldham, Syria

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Last week parliament authorised British airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, and the Labour candidate won the Oldham West and Royton by-election. It was, unsurprisingly, a week in which the omni-tentacled neoliberal establishment was especially shameless in its attempts to spin, manipulate and mind-control its way to getting what it wanted.

The Syria vote was spun as a choice between hitting back at the culprits behind the Paris attacks, or doing nothing. Opponents of military action were painted as people who “don’t want Britain to take action”, passive to the point of cowardice – or branded as “terrorist sympathisers” by David Cameron.

The media obviously failed to substantively go into any of the arguments against – let alone question the government’s laughably flimsy case for military intervention. Continue reading “Corbyn, Oldham, Syria”

Public Opinion Is Wrong (featuring Jeremy Corbyn and Jihadi John)

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What a fucking idiot

Islamic State militant ‘Jihadi John’ has allegedly been killed in a US drone strike. Born Mohammed Emwazi in Kuwait before moving to the UK, ‘John’ became notorious after appearing in videos posted online in which Western aid workers were apparently beheaded.

While Cameron and his American counterparts trumpeted John’s death as an unmitigated triumph, Jeremy Corbyn said it was a shame he wasn’t brought in alive and put on trial. Cue a flurry of criticism accusing the Labour leader of being out of touch with public opinion.

He is, and that’s good, because public opinion is wrong about most things. A few years ago, a MORI poll found that people think benefit fraud is 34 times more costly than it actually is, that 24% of the population is Muslim when in fact it’s only 5%, and that 31% are recent immigrants when in fact it’s only 13%. It’s not surprising, because for decades an overwhelmingly corporate news media has done its best to make people woefully ill-informed, prejudiced, and irrationally quick to anger. Continue reading “Public Opinion Is Wrong (featuring Jeremy Corbyn and Jihadi John)”

Only Tories Allowed

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Reflecting on the anti-Corbyn media maelstrom of the last few weeks, I think we’ve reached a stage where the only party allowed to win general elections is the Conservative Party.

Now, obviously, when I say ‘allowed’, I don’t mean that I think the assembled lizards of the Illuminati High Council decide which government we get. It’s not quite that rigged. And as Corbyn’s victory has shown, the establishment isn’t as all-powerful as it and we often think.

But I reckon the only political force the corporate-financial elite won’t do everything in its power to squash are the Tories. Because the Tories are the corporate-financial elite. Cameron, Osborne and friends are just its parliamentary wing, in the same way that the colossally influential, criminally impartial news media is its public mouthpiece. Continue reading “Only Tories Allowed”

The ‘Corbyn is sexist’ thing

UK Labour Party Leader ship Hustings

Today, I’m going to quickly talk about something I don’t usually talk about – women, and their scandalous lack of representation in public life.

We live in a grim society where, for thousands of years, being a man had been treated as the default setting. Men were naturally assumed to be superior, more suited to leading and dealing with big responsibilities, and women were thought to be naturally predisposed towards domestic chores.

Eventually, after a painfully long wait, a good chunk of the population woke up to the fact that was utter bollocks. But unfortunately, that hasn’t proved enough to shift us from a situation that’s still fundamentally skewed in favour of penis owners.

50% of the population is female. Thus, 50% of practically every profession should be female. To help achieve that, we need all sorts of positive discrimination – society acknowledging the historical disadvantages women have faced, and giving them a leg-up to real equality. Continue reading “The ‘Corbyn is sexist’ thing”

Corbyn Wins

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Jeremy Corbyn has won the Labour leadership election. He won by a landslide – a 59.5% knockout in the first round. Andy Burnham got 19%. Yvette Cooper got 17%. And she seems like a decent human being. She’s definitely not deserved the personal abuse she’s received throughout the contest, much of it from our side. But Liz Kendall got 4.5%. I’ll leave it at that.

I was entirely unprepared for the Corbyn phenomenon. I’ve known about and been a fan of Corbyn for ten years, give or take, and he’s someone who I hold in the highest esteem – he’s unerringly principled, utterly committed to the causes he believes in, and has dedicated his life to helping the poorest and most vulnerable, which to my mind is the best thing you can say about anyone.

And despite all that, if you’d have asked me what I thought the chances were of Jeremy Corbyn becoming Labour leader back in May, just after Ed Miliband stood down, I would’ve said ‘less than 1%’. If you’d have asked me what I thought the chances were of Jeremy Corbyn or anyone vaguely left-wing even getting on the ballot paper, I probably would’ve said the same. In the run-up to the general election, I wrote a blog post specifically designed just to remind people the parliamentary Labour Left still existed – praising Corbyn, McDonnell, Skinner and co but generally lamenting its current weakness and poor prospects for the future. Continue reading “Corbyn Wins”

The Gist: What’s Wrong With The Burnham-Kendall-Cooper-Campbell Position, And What’s Right About Corbyn’s

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Since Mrs Thatcher, British politics has been horrifyingly right-wing. Big business, the financial sector, the corporate media and the Westminster political establishment have colluded to present an extreme neoliberal vision of what society should be like as somehow being ‘centrist’, ‘moderate’, ‘sensible’ – the country’s unquestionable default setting. ‘Fiscal responsibility’ and being ‘a credible alternative’ now mean governing in the interests of the corporate-financial elite, and the wealthiest people in Britain. Politics is now a one-way pipeline – to ‘modernise’ is to give even more ground to the overpaid, overpowered and sociopathically self-interested.

Austerity and the all-consuming fixation with ‘the deficit’ and ‘balancing budgets’ is just an ideological smokescreen, masking the most radical upwards redistribution of wealth in modern history. Between 1997 and 2012, the wealth of the richest thousand people in Britain quadrupled from £99bn to £414bn. In the years since, it’s risen to £547bn. During the same period, wages and living standards for the vast majority have fallen – ignoring inflation, the average worker’s wage is now lower than it was in 1979, a fifth lower for the very poorest. Continue reading “The Gist: What’s Wrong With The Burnham-Kendall-Cooper-Campbell Position, And What’s Right About Corbyn’s”