Thursday, 8 September 2016

Can we even Trust Politics Now?

£350 million to be redirected to the NHS.
A points-based immigration system and a block on unwanted foreigners.
The scrapping of VAT on fuel.

These are just three of the promises made by the Brexit campaign to woo voters to opt for leave. Three Brexit pledges made, supposedly in good faith and all three disregarded and now seen as lies by some people - but not all, some people still believe the country has made the best decision.

Is there any suggestion that the Brexit campaign should, in some way, be held responsible for the mess we could be in. Or even a call for a report on how people were mislead about certain aspects or even the simple fact that the 'powers that be' were so convinced we would vote Remain, they had no actual plan.

So we stumble almost blindly into the unknown and the pressure is growing for an actual action increases. The feeling I'm getting from the other 19 members of the recent G20 summit appear to be one of 'don't expect any favours' and that doesn't surprise me. This advisory referendum has become an edict which threatens the economic stability of the world or that's how some people view it.

The fact that David Davis - the Brexit bloke - has said the country has to work with the other EU countries to work out the best trade deals given that another one of the key points of the Brexit campaign was the inability for us an EU member to strike up deals outside of the EU, suggests to me that some of our politicians haven't got a clue about how things work and are just making stuff up as they go along.

To be fair, I was actually struggling to criticise the May administration, but that might have be down to the fact they appear to have realised the country is all politicked out, so they were just keeping their heads below the pulpit. Then the reintroduction of grammar schools made me realise that the drive backwards to Victorian times was just delayed.

People are fed up with it all - politics, that is - and no more so than Labour supporters who, to the uninformed, are members of a chaotic warring party with no interest in government when they can destroy themselves instead and generate all the headlines while the Tories get little or no coverage of their master plan - if it isn't particularly fair or just.

The Brexit vote was a protest vote; the problem was it was a protest against no one really knows what. The government? Europe? Politicians? The establishment? Goats?

Some people seemed to think that by voting Leave they were emancipating themselves and forcing the government to realise they wanted an end to austerity and a return to prosperity; the problem was the government and all politicians didn't listen, won't listen and we won't see things get better for the average person. For them it was never about and should never be about that - the poor and disenfranchised are pretty much collateral damage - just ask Gideon.

Last week businesses were suggesting our food bills will ultimately rise and some suggested they might move their businesses to Europe, because of costs (over profits... see, for the rich Brexit is nothing more than logistics). This means the salads you used to buy that were locally grown by local farmers, will be grown in Poland by  those (no longer) 'local' farmers, who relocated to ensure they can continue in business (while paying staff much less than they would have to here). One man on telly the other day - a grower of iceberg lettuces - showed how prices for his product have dropped by 50% in the last 15 years and he was 100% sure that prices would now have to increase - because of everything from the devaluation of the £ to the unease amongst the people they banked on getting their crops in.

Some people think it's a price worth paying. My guess is those people will be making money either way. Other people - your average Joes of life - will also think it's a price worth paying for our 'independence' and you tell them that things will get worse because of it and they are unfazed, like less for more won't affect them.

To quote a friend, 'we live in a post-expert world' and if the referendum is anything to go by this is totally correct, except that isn't strictly true because now everyone is an expert - based on faith and feeling rather than anything rational or learnt. Politicians are now hard targets and, outside of the glossed over media, people are just growing angry with nothing seemingly happening to change their lives.

If Fred Bloggs thinks or feels something this becomes far more important than actual fact. Social media has made people remarkably self-aware and it has made some people think that by giving the public access to comment, their voice is as important as anyone else's, despite it just being a grain of sand on a country-sized beach. However, link these individual commentators with a common theme - xenophobia in this particular case - and you are no longer an individual, you have become a movement. Even if you're not.

People want something to change - even the Remain vote acknowledge this - but more importantly, people in depressed areas expect positive change (ironically unaware, it seems, that any money they received in the past 40 years was largely down to the EU and not their own governments) and if that doesn't happen then who knows how they will react. I'm not suggesting we're going to have riots or mass insurrection, but since Brexit some people have shown their true colours and the unprecedented rise in hate crime hasn't really been addressed by holidaying, coke-sniffing, allotment-tending, rent-boy leasing or Swiss mountain visiting politicians. People are now being murdered because they're foreign. People being abused in cafes, bus stops, pubs and on the street because of a different language, a hijab, a beard, anything that some idiots find unBritish.

I remember 'Paki-bashing' from the 1970s. Not just gangs of skinheads, but average people, getting involved in fascistic activities because they didn't have the emotional intelligence to accept people from different cultures. No wonder there are a huge number of people out there more interested in war than peace.

Decent and seemingly honest politicians all over the world are vilified by the corporate overlords who probably really run the world and yet we hear that politicians like George Osborne showed nothing but contempt for people who didn't vote for his party and even suggested that helping the poor only creates more Labour voters... Surely being an MP gives you the responsibility of care for all the electorate, not just your mates? Jeremy Corbyn, whatever his faults are, isn't being attacked for his desire for a fairer society, he's being attacked for everything else. The media isn't that stupid, they ignore the policies that might get people thinking and focus on anything that is bad. Because people, especially now, want the shit; the shit is interesting, helping some 'scrounging single-parent disabled lesbian' isn't.

Politics has stopped being about you because you stopped caring about the big picture, this allowed politics to become an almost elitist privilege and cemented the rift between 48% of the population and the people they view as only in it for themselves. Perhaps this was the ultimate goal, to reduce the voting electorate to the bare bones by convincing people it isn't worth voting for any of them as it only encourages them more? The lower the turn out the higher the chance of a Tory victory.

Political attrition has been going on for nearly 40 years and we now have no trust in politicians to do the right thing for the country and its people.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Simple Truths

The Anti-Corbyn/Real Labour bandwagon continues on at a cracking pace with the London mayor jumping onto the float and waving his anodyne Owen Smith placard.

It's getting annoying now and it could have been handled so differently and it might have won this futile battle for the centre of the party, without the hostility and humiliation; the problem is that the one thing that could have played this out so differently won't be approached by the Pink Tories in the party, presumably because it would mean admitting something slightly distasteful...

Jeremy Corbyn doesn't become unelectable because lots of people say it. Jeremy Corbyn isn't unelectable because of his politics, his beard, his allotment or his actual successes. However, if the bits of the Labour Party that really don't want him were to be factually accurate about the situation, then maybe even hard left supporting Trots - like me - would admit defeat, or be prepared to discuss compromises (that do not involve Owen Smith, because if Corbyn is toxic, Smith is rancid, festering and sickness inducing - he's as electable as Kinnock.

What do I mean? How is this simply resolved?

As I recently liked to remind people - I have ZERO political qualifications, yet I seem to have more of a grasp on reality (despite the years of drug abuse) than anyone in politics, therefore it seems obvious that the easiest way to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn is to make the following statement:

Jeremy Corbyn will not win the next General Election because the media, the press and the corporations, organisations and economic powerhouses that do run the country won't allow it.

Cut this BS about being unelectable, because so far that is totally provable as a lie and a falsehood. Evidence suggests he is electable from his landslide leadership victory to the massive number of gains in by-elections (council and Westminster); but the refusal of even the most non-right-wing papers to print anything that resembles the truth, or the failure of all the TV news agencies to also report anything positive without spinning the negative bigger.

The reason this is being done is because Corbyn is all too electable. If he wasn't, he'd be treated with the same disdain and ignorance as the Green Party or the Monster Raving Loony candidate. The fact we are constantly having it rammed down our throats how unelectable he is is a little like protesting too much. Now, you could say I'm clutching at straws or just reading into a bad situation some conspiracy theory to make me feel better, but ask yourself this - how many people out there are truly un-electable? That'll be most political parties. How many of them are relentlessly hounded by Tory-backed papers telling us how bad it will be if they get elected? That'll be NONE. 

Tories like mandates; hell, most of their extreme ideas come from this fictitious mandate of the people bollocks. What better way of having that mandate in spades with cream and a cherry on top, especially if Corbyn and Labour are so awful they'll be lucky to get 20 votes nationally? Just call a GE, win 400 seats and rebuild it in a neo-liberal/neo-Nazi way with the blessing of the people. How come that hasn't happened then? Are the Tories really that worried that UKIP - now kind of officially obsolete - might suddenly increase their vote share by another 40%? Or perhaps it's the secret Lib Dem resurgence? Heck, even with voter dissatisfaction at an all time low, surely this completely useless, warmongering, peacenik vegetarian allotment user doesn't stand a chance... So how come the gamble hasn't been taken - the lower the turn out the better chance of a Tory landslide?

So remember, if the papers, the TV and all your mates down the pub, not influenced by either the media, social media or their other mates, and because they obviously form their own opinions based on their own research rather than hearsay and propaganda, say Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable then it must be true.

Oh yeah; we'd never vote to leave Europe and people trust things 'normal' politicians say, too.

Friday, 12 August 2016

The Momentum of Progress or the Progress of Momentum

At some point at the end of September a group of people are going to put their political lives at stake and form a new - progressive - political party. This new party will either advertise itself as the true socialist party or will position itself as the only viable alternative to the now Trotsky-esque Labour Party if you care a wee bit about social justice and the poor not being butt-fucked that regularly.

These parties will be called Momentum (a trendy name for a progressive left wing party) or Progress (a cover for neo-liberalism and Blairite die-hards). Both will try and sell itself as the true Labour party.

It will happen because the Parliamentary Labour Party just ensured it by spending money that could have been put towards an election war chest to get a decision that will have no bearing on the ultimate outcome of the leadership vote overturned. The PLP are effectively crippling a Corbyn-led party's finances so they can't possibly compete with anyone. If you vote Labour in a rebel's area, are you aware that your own party is undemocratically trying to screw itself - at your cost - just to ensure they all keep their cushy jobs.

But more importantly, by doing this and winning they alienate another x number of pro and anti-Corbyn voters who are going to blame them, not Corbyn, for any election defeat or any undemocratic decision. They have, essentially, killed their own party.

It doesn't matter whether Jeremy Corbyn is electable, eats cheese, likes porn, wears sandals, doesn't sing anthems, has an allotment, he hasn't tried to undo a democratic process - repeatedly - because he's selfish, irresponsible and didn't like the ending. He hasn't looked petulant and angry because things haven't gone his way. He hasn't repeatedly tried to overthrow the will of the largest single party leader vote ever, therefore if he remains leader the only option he has is to expel the dissenters from the party for undemocratic breaches of Labour ethics and morals.

He needs to cut these selfish self-centred political careerists out of Labour and see how they fare elsewhere, because never in anyone's life has there been such an obvious and desperate attempt by frightened politicians to change the rules to suit them.

Obviously, if the impossible happened and Owen Smith won the battle - somehow, the party is also finished because most CLPs and party members don't support him and would defect.

I fully expect to still be voting Labour at the next election. Good luck to those Machiavellian former Labour MPs at Progress.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Extreme Reality TV

"Yo, T-Man! How's it hangin' bro?"
"Klytus, I'm bored. What new play thing have you got for me?"
"Home boy, I got you something that will blow your mind."
"You said that about the last series of The Apprentice..."
"Yeah, but this is different, with a capital DIF."
"What are you suggesting, my questionable friend of dubious racial stereotype?"
"The T-Man for the Prez! BOOM! Donny's got his finger on the button world, watch out! BOOM! Yo is gonna run for the number 1 spot, big fella."
"They won't buy that."
"You better believe they will, sister."
"Okay, I'll buy that for a dollar. Explain to me how this is going to work?"
"We pretend you're standing for the Presidency. We throw you in there with all those faceless wannabes and all you have to do is be yourself - be the T-Man and blind them with your common sense and straight talking."
"But... I'm regarded as a bit of a dim-witted redneck..."
"Perfect, man, perfect!"
"The what?"
"TV. We make the best darned reality TV show ever - the biggest and the best - spotlight on the most powerful man in the world and your desire to be that man."
"What if we lose?"
"That's the whole point, T-Man. We lose but the rest of those losers are exposed for what they are."
"It won't last very long, this TV show. I can't see the Merican public buying the likelihood of me running for president."
"Tell them you'll build a wall along the Mexican border. You'll ban all Muslims from entering the USA. Be horrible to cripples and women. If there's a minority group to defend you'll attack them and vice versa. The more you offend them the more the ignorant racists will come out of the woodwork and support you."
"This is all well and good, but what if we win?"
"T-Man? Are you on something? We can't possibly win."


And so it began.

The T-Man's band of august ferrets began by fashioning their boy slightly to the right of Adolf Hitler and the first rule of their 'campaign' was 'Nothing is too outrageous'. Naturally, no one took any notice of the hordes of TV cameramen and auxiliary staff because that is what usually follows presidential candidates around ...

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Prophets and Loss

Most people that know me, know that I'm interested in politics, but, by my own admission, I'm no expert and I'm often shown things that I was ignorant of or that flies in the face of my beliefs. Recently I've been accused of being a 'blind Corbyn supporter' because I refuse to see the damage he's doing to the Labour Party - internally. But like many other slightly disgruntled people, I look at the man I see and not the Machiavellian machinations that are obviously going on with or without his blessing and then I'm mocked for either being too naive or too altruistic or deluded because I refuse to see the wider picture. I do see the wider picture and what I see has been commented on in these pages many times - career politicians putting their own interests ahead of the people and therefore not acting in my best interests, despite representing the party I've supported all of my life.

Like right wing leaning people, I tend to stick with my 'tribe' and therefore spend a lot of time preaching to the converted and have probably been labelled a 'loony leftie' by many of my more moderate friends and relatives, who sometimes view my politics as 'harmful' and 'non-negotiable', but I hope they will at least recognise my commitment to my beliefs. However, in this very narcissistic world we live in now, I can't help but want to get a big massive trumpet out and start blowing it loudly from the hills.

Talking to an equally 'radical' friend the other night, I made the rather modest (highly unusual for me) statement that I must be some kind of prophet. After the hilarity of the statement dissipated, I quantified my statement: Since I resurrected this blog last year, I've focused a lot on the Brexit issue and the turmoil in British politics. I've made lots of forecasts, based on my feelings rather than the biased press and media, and an incredibly huge amount of them have come true. With hindsight, some of the observations I made seem more lucid and realistic now than they possibly did when I was sounding like a conspiracy theorist on steroids and many of the things I said weren't echoed in the press - ever; many of the questions I asked ended up being asked when it was too late and while I have no doubt many other bloggers sensed the real feeling around the country, I didn't see the politicians, the media and all of their assorted bandwagons have the same kind of handle on the 'mood' as I did from dog walks, work and general conversations with people.

How can someone so politically naive, with no formal qualifications in the subject, and an interest generated more through suspicion than through faith in politicians have got it right so many times and yet people who get paid loads of money failed to see, or more importantly, listen to the people outside of their front doors? Is his more evidence of a media agenda or are these people simply not as astute, as expert, as we like to believe?

Politicians really need to have a good hard look, not just at themselves but at the 60-odd million people living here (there's that famous altruism shining through). If nothing else people have made it clear that they no longer trust politicians of any kind - the left despise the right and vice versa and there hasn't really ever been a middle ground, despite whatever heights the Libdems reached, all that was was the first signs of a disgruntled nations starting to grow tired of the same old same old.

Look at Farage. Honestly, I'm not as obsessed with the man in real life, but in political terms I consider him to have had more impact on a nation than very few politicians in the last 50 years, possibly Thatcher being the exception. The incredible thing about him is his ability to turn repeated failures into some kind of perverse victory (all aided and abetted by our hard right media); like some kind of carcinogenic Eddie the Eagle his resilience is a thing to behold; Oswald Moseley probably would have seen him as a future PM. Yet there is no arguing with how he has single-handedly turned UKIP into the third largest party in the country (by vote share).

The real shame of UKIP is they have inadvertently tapped into the general malaise of the average working man, something one of the other parties should have done - knowingly. Historically this is probably totally inaccurate, but UKIP appeared to be a semi-respectable face of British Nationalism when it started; almost like they realised there was a hot bed of xenophobes and casual racists out there all ignorant enough to want to blame anything foreign for their ills and woes. The problem is, that party is a disorganised shambles, even compared to the Labour Party, if they had a collective brain they could be very dangerous.

In 2001, a good friend of mine said to me in a pub in Nottingham, "Do you know what we should do? We should join the Conservative Party." I stared at him in utter disbelief. "No, wait, hear me out. They are such a disorganised rabble at the moment that anyone with a half decent idea can walk into that party and change it. Until they get proper people running it again they'll never get elected." Obviously we never joined and even if we had, I'm sure there was someone somewhere in CCO planning a future that didn't involve two 'socialist' men just about to turn 40; but the point is UKIP by and large seems like a party with no real reason to exist, except maybe to steal votes from the disgruntled, diluting voter share even more and giving the Tories an easier path to complete dominance. What better way to win an election than by duping former die-hard Labour voters to vote for a party that politically is further to the right than the party they claim to despise. Oh the irony. The point is with proper 21st century politicians running it, UKIP could be a serious threat. We should be thankful for small mercies.

I've often heard the phrase 'the government is out of touch with its people' and, to be honest, I've often felt that was a throwaway comment; I've never felt governments have ever really been in touch with the people. However, for the first time in my 50-odd years, I believe that statement is more pertinent now than ever before, except it isn't the government who is out of touch, it's the entire political machine. Do you know why Jeremy Corbyn is probably perceived as more of a threat to the status quo than him just being a mad Trot? Because he did something last year that has stopped happening with our politicians - he went out and talked to people. I remember general elections when I was growing up and right up until about 2007 with politicians doing what we want them to, engaging with the voters, on doorsteps, at rallies, on market squares, with soapbox in hand; listening to the people and trying to reflect that in their politics. But something happened and media took over and more and more people grew to dislike politicians and it was no longer safe for many politicians to walk the streets of their constituencies; the more Westminster lost touch with the real people, the more real people grew to hate them.

The death of Jo Cox was systematic of what has happened and how people are no longer connected to their representatives, even the ones like Cox who was more engaging than others. Obviously this incident isn't going to have the MPs flooding onto the streets to gauge opinion and engage with their voters and Cox's death might also have signalled the death of any true links MPs will have to local non-political communities. There is now no way people aren't going to view them all as aloof, privileged and not reflecting what they'd like to believe.

Former Labour MP for Northampton South and now Green councillor for the County Council, Tony Clarke, won his seat in 1997, despite traditionally it always being a Tory seat, because he got out and knocked on doors, talked to people, won over their trust, even if they weren't Labour voters and he was regarded as the left of a then newly-modernised and centre New Labour. Yet, he used the swell of opinion mixed with actual hard work to win his seat and then just about retain it later. That doesn't happen any more or if it does prospective MPs and incumbents tend to pick and choose the areas they canvas - therefore are probably preaching to the converted and those who will probably vote anyhow.

The sad thing is that my forecasts weren't intended to be scaremongering, they were intended to highlight what might or would probably happen, from my perspective, and almost as if I scripted it personally, everything from Cameron to Johnson to Eagle's resignations to the economic instability has come true; even my reluctance to believe that Leave would probably win in the two weeks leading up to the vote...

So what does the self-proclaimed new guru of political forecasting believe will happen now? Well, returning to my radical friend and our sage-like weekly conversations about the state of the nation; he believes Theresa May should call a general election in November, because if Labour is in civil war and looking totally unelectable, then she'd be stupid not to. My response to that is 'too risky'. The media might be telling us one thing, and for sure Labour is valiantly trying to destroy itself, but I think there's a definite feeling within the Tory party that people don't want more politics thrust upon them and now we've had one monumental protest vote - with repercussions for decades likely - in this decade of crazy shit happening, the last thing is for a cocky Tory party to go back to the country and end up being in a coalition again. Or worse still, a turn out of less than 40% would not make any mandate legitimate in the majority's eyes. Tories want a few years of crisis managing the economy and trying to be as anodyne as possible to the masses.

On Thursday of last week, I was convinced that the Labour Party coup was going to blow itself out and some kind of uneasy truce will have been found that could have at least taken the party forward, but sadly events escalated again and the civil war is actually getting uglier and unbelievably harmful to democracy in this country. I said in another blog that this is no longer a battle to oust Corbyn but a movement to shut down his wing of the party. The PLP want the left eradicated from the party completely, and not because they've read the mood of the public and seen the future, but because they've seen the future and their careers are at stake.

So technically speaking, May doesn't need to call an election because, at the moment, the Tories have no effective opposition; their majority might as well be 100.

As a Corbyn supporter, how do I feel about what has been happening? This was a question I was asked just the other day and my answer was tempered by my current bemusement with life in general. This is how I see it; a year ago, feeling wounded by a really disappointing election campaign with a leader less electable than Neil Kinnock and left wondering just what the Labour had to do to make itself more popular than a government that was very unpopular, but still won? Despite my interest in politics, I didn't know Jeremy Corbyn from a hole in the ground and like many people indoctrinated by the media, I thought he was the sacrificial left-wing lamb to show some range of democracy in a relatively anodyne leadership contest. Then, like many others, I started to see this groundswell of support for a reasonable man, unruffled by the hyperbole of 21st century politics, talking sense in a crazy political world. The opposition towards him started before he even won and I forecast the tensions ahead of him, without realising just how low it could sink.

I cannot deny Corbyn represents a wing of the Labour Party that the establishment dislikes and is prone to being labelled extremists and like the far right, the extreme left attracts its own kind of loonies. I saw Corbyn's win as a genuine protest by the voters who care about Labour, for it to return to its grass roots and that has constantly been ignored by the majority of the MPs who cannot accept Corbyn's victory and therefore are not going to listen to the people they supposedly represent.

Whatever accusations are made at Momentum or at Labour, then as many accusations have to be levelled at the rest of the PLP for their own Machiavellian schemes, acted out in their own interests and with scant disregard to the enormous amounts of people who have started to follow Corbyn's beliefs.

Honestly? I think what he's doing will ultimately be destructive, but unfortunately if he acquiesces or is forced out of the party by High Courts and breaches of democracy then the party will also destroy itself, because whoever replaces Corbyn will be seen to have won it in a bloody coup, in an undemocratic fashion that will alienate a large percentage of their core vote. Lose/Lose.

If I was Corbyn faced with hostility from all sides, I would do one of two things. I'd either come out fighting - properly. And I'd start with the press; I wouldn't pander to their whims and when I'm asked pointless personality or personal questions, I would simply turn it round and ask them why they're asking unimportant questions when they should be focusing on all the things that the public should be made aware of. Since he's shown no inclination to be anything but frosty, then the other option would be to sit down with Tom Watson and try to work out a logical successor, who can in some way continue to move Labour back towards its roots as a socialist party rather than a pink Tory party, while offering proper opposition and continuing to attract the people that Jeremy has so far recruited into the fold. Because Owen Smith isn't that man; he's a faceless bureaucrat with a questionable history who to anyone with half a brain sees a token candidate put up to do as much damage as possible.

What I'd like to see is for the 150 plus MPs who are so disillusioned with Corbyn to decide to break away - which is what they want to do but with the Labour name as their own - and form another political party; force 150+ by-elections and see how well they all do. It may well force the UK into looking at socialist coalitions as the way forward to defeat the Tories, or it might simply spell out to these 150+ MPs just how out of touch with their voters they really are. Perhaps this is what is needed; to make the comfortable 'elite' MPs realise that we put them there and therefore they should be representing us and not their own self-interests. The problem with this is MPs are insecure creatures at the best of times; they'd rather try an undemocratic route than an honest plebiscite. Destroy and rebuild from within, because the public has a short memory. Unfortunately betrayal tends to root itself deep.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Astounding Truth About Jeremy Corbyn and the 37 Naked Contortionist Porn Stars

"The English follow the principle that when one lies, it should be a big lie, and one should stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous." - Joseph Goebbels.

There is a large part of society that really dislikes people quoting Nazis. However, this is one quote - the correct one - that extreme nasty bastard Joseph Goebbels said that should you remove his name and replace it with...

"The English follow the principle that when one lies, it should be a big lie, and one should stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous." - Donald Trump/Tusk/Duck

... could easily be believed (especially about Donald Tusk and his observation of the Out campaign).

Just because someone is seen as a thoroughly despicable human being doesn't mean they can't be accurate in an observation. The last x number of years have been built on a large number of lies and exaggerations of the truth and depending on what newspaper you read, or TV news station you watch, some lies are more important than others. Tony Blair probably lied about the circumstances that led to the Iraq war and his ongoing vilification has been expected and generally welcomed. The Coalition government essentially blaming a portion of the population draining £2billion from the budget were responsible for the country's ills and not the tax avoiding corporations not paying in excess of £40billion in legitimate taxes - the comparisons were never addressed in the mainstream media - was a lie. Recently we've had £350million promised to the NHS as the pinnacle of the Leave campaign's reason for leaving the EU and did you notice how quickly that was dropped? Or how many of our 'impartial' media outlets made an issue out of it? Lies.

The simple truth is we're being lied to by the sources we depend on for fair and even coverage. Take the BBC, always accused of being left wing biased by the right wing, yet the corporation currently produces some of the most anodyne 'current affairs' content in its history and has a news department that is awash with Conservative editors, who have recently admitted - and ignored by the mainstream press - that it might have possibly maybe shown some anti-Corbyn bias in its coverage. Or as an independent blogger worked out: Labour in-fighting is covered on a ratio of 4:1 against Conservative in-fighting; Leadership contests - until the announcement of Theresa May, Labour's coverage was 2:1. More strikingly is that media coverage of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown was extensively on them with less than 20% of media coverage on the 'in-turmoil' Tories or their various leaders. Once the coalition came in focus on Ed Milliband - the opposition leader - rose to almost 50%. His pales into insignificance at the almost persistent hounding of Jeremy Corbyn.

In the last twelve months there has been a record number of newspaper retractions of things they, wrongly, said about the Labour leader. There has been an almost constant trivialisation of the man, while simultaneously building him up as both dangerous and unelectable. In a sensible society, one should wonder why the media are so desperate to continue warning us about the dangers of a man with policies that would have had 1960s Tory MPs nodding in agreement (with the exception of the Trident bit, naturally)? If the man is so dangerous, how come he's not being, you know, dangerous? Preventing 25 Tory bills in 12 months, 11 of which have been banished from the statute books is actually a better record than any opposition leader in 50 years in such a short space of time. I actually couldn't find any examples of anything the Tories prevented during the Blair/Brown era. Obviously information like this is not important to the general public; they're more interested in the size of Jeremy's marrow or that he was sitting in a park playing Pokemon Go (when, in reality, the desperate Daily Mail reporter handed Jezza the game and asked him to comment on its current trendiness).

Plus it's really easy to make click bait headlines against him. Corbyn attacks Eagle with knife is better than Corbyn grows prize marrow.

There are a number of reports floating around at the moment that shows enormous amounts of evidence to back up the media bias against Corbyn: this is one example and even some of the broadsheets have briefly mentioned this, but none have supported it, condemned it or criticised any of their competition about it. Even The Guardian, for some inexplicable reason now, still the preferred choice of the intellectual Labour voter, has pretty much nailed its allegiance to a lost cause - neoliberalism or Blairism.

Despite Labour continuing to win council by-elections and now mobilising a greater number of young voters, the knives are out again and sharper, because of the Labour Party's desire to self-destruct for the sake of some career politicians. 

This isn't a conspiracy theory, it's a fact - the country is pretty much run by a small bunch of people from all across the political spectrum who do everything in their own interests first; it has been seen with the expenses scandal, it has been hinted at with the simmering but never likely to amount to anything election budgeting 'scandal' and the continued onslaught by the none-left wing members of the Parliamentary Labour Party to do anything they can to prevent someone who isn't them and doesn't share their ideology from disrupting their comfortable status quo. The press hasn't really focused any of its attention on Owen Smith or Angela Eagle because there's a Corbyn to be scalped and the fact the old bird is still around makes that scalp really valuable.

I'd like to throw in a theory; it's tenuous I warn you...

UKip are reported as being the biggest threat to luring older Labour voters away (this could be down to the media's knowledge that old Labour voters would never vote Tory, but might be duped into voting Tory under a different name), yet in the majority of those council by-elections I like to bang on about over 90% saw a substantial drop in UKip support (incidentally as the primary goal of UKip has been achieved, how come the mainstream press aren't questioning their continued existence?). It is possible that Corbyn is having a similar effect, but on a different demographic, which Nigel Farage had when his purple fascists suddenly became players on the political landscape (through vote share rather than any seats in Westminster; and remember, their only MP is Douglas Carswell, a former centre-right Tory MP with some hard-right ideas). Some people out there suspect Corbyn isn't the Antichrist and won't eat your children regardless of what Rupert, Paul, Rebekka and co want you to believe.

I've maintained for years that Farage's appeal to your average, largely ignorant, over 50 has been down to his stirring up of jingoistic attitudes and laying the blame at the feet of all the people not responsible for all the ills he peddled. 21st Century fascism encouraged by an inordinate amount of screen time given to, I presume, his general entertainment value. It's like putting subliminal messages into Teletubbies cartoons, programming your children to axe murder you when the signal is given. All he did was peddle lies, deceit and worst of all echoed the urban myths and legends floating around canteens and factories all over the country; it has to be true even if many never saw any evidence of it. Corbyn appears to be galvanising people who still have a social conscience in a similar way.

Once the media started its halfhearted attacks on Farage it increased his support - the little guy who stands up for us workers is being attacked by those lying scumbag newspapers; what are they scared of? Oddly enough the same people will perpetuate myths such as Corbyn not singing the National Anthem or bowing low enough at the Epitaph because they read it in the Sun or the Mail (or those lying scumbag papers, when it suits them)... 

I know people who buy it all; believe that Corbyn is not the right man for a variety of reasons all culminating in, 'and he's simply unelectable' using a term that the media coined, so however much people protest their opinion of the man is their own and hasn't been tainted by outside influences, why aren't you looking at his record, why are you looking at his tie?

Anyhow, Paul Dacre at the Mail will continue to sanction some of the vilest and despicable lies imaginable and somehow remain above the law or criticism. The far right supporting Daily Mail isn't going to be criticised by Tories for blurring the boundaries of impartiality by printing spurious bullshit and if someone from the left attempts to criticise them or take them to task they just lash out again because they know they have no leash. Look at the vicious attacks on the Millibands' dead father and yet Cameron's father was involved in all kinds of tax dodges and the same newspaper called for the dead man's memory to be left unsullied and people believe and support them despite blatant double standards and promoting elitism.

Remember the Sun in 1992? "It was the Sun what won it" or some similarly grammatically appalling headline and I think most people over the age of 40 believe that newspapers can win elections for people; the Sun claimed it won it for Blair, which newspaper historians might interpret as 'Murdoch says this guy will bend over more for me than the last guy'. The Sun didn't win it for Cameron in 2010, but they tend not to mention that. 

More and more people no longer listen to the radio how they once did. TV is changing all the time and our new and innovative ways of viewing are being adopted by more people. Newspapers are dying out among younger audiences, who get their news from different sources. My generation is probably the last one to depend on a lot of 20th century staples and yet we're slowly adapting; but in 20 years many of us will be very old or dead and the people who will become us will have a completely different approach to everything and hopefully that will mean changes in the way we do politics and engage with common people. 

I think this is what Jeremy Corbyn's team has been trying to do. For every person saying, he's unapproachable, he's not statesmanlike, he's out of touch; he doesn't engage with the press enough, there are more people praising his constituency work; his campaigning, his charity work, his support and how, unlike so many other politicians, he's approachable if your intentions are earnest. He gets out and meets people, talks to them and does it the old fashioned way, while simultaneously getting his army of younger political activists to target the places that most people over 50 only hear about from kids or on TV. Young people writing messages about politics aimed at young people doesn't sound so crazy when you say it out loud.

Corbyn and his team are well aware that he is never going to court support from the majority of papers, but Momentum are looking ahead at how things will be fought in the future, while Corbyn remains this quiet, largely unruffled figure refusing to play the games or pander to the media. The biggest problem for Corbyn with right wing leaning news reporting is that if there is a slow news day they aren't averse to manufacturing a story that is negative rather than run a story that is positive. The press would rather you know that someone, somewhere, might be Muslim who is linked to a crime and supports Corbyn than report on how the negative and devastating cuts have decimated deprived areas even more.

If Corbyn's brand of politics is going to remain in charge they need to get a bit slicker in the PR department and they need to try and get a lot of their MPs deselected and new faces to replace them before the next election; so these candidates can win these seats. He also needs to adopt some populist language - or constructive lies - to appease those who think he's soft on areas they want strength. Cameron came across like a sexually aroused horse sporting an enormous erection when he lied to the nation he'd get immigration down; it hurt him that he didn't - but probably nowhere near as much as Jeremy Corbyn's failed radish crop will spell the next downfall of the freakish warmongering vegetarian peacenik (™ The Daily Mail). It's nice to think we have a politician whose principles embrace honesty, but we've got used to being lied to. We don't believe the lies, but we want to and that keeps us going until the next lie comes along.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

The Eagle Has Landed Awkwardly

Just for a few minutes, those of you convinced by the media onslaught that Jeremy Corbyn is totally unelectable put those thoughts to one side. Imagine he is just the leader of the opposition and not some kind of whatever he is this week Antichrist-warmongering-vegetarian-lunatic. In fact, try to picture a leader who has the overwhelming support of the party members and in the eyes of a raft of people he is the best thing to happen to Labour since Nye Bevan. Can you do that? Suspend belief for a few minutes and imagine a democratically elected leader who so far has a reasonable track record of getting the Tories to U-Turn and has stimulated interest in politics both from the disaffected and the young. Can you do that?


Now, I want you to picture Angela Eagle. She is not a Blairite, but she voted for the Iraq war; she also voted on a number of things both positive and negative. In many ways her politics represent a more Corbyn-leaning; she is more left wing than many of the people who dislike Corbyn and that must be the reason she has been asked to sacrifice her political career in what is likely to be a futile, misguided and ultimately hugely damaging defeat for the entire Labour Party. It is clear that the Parliamentary Labour Party has decided that they can live with up to another 9 years in opposition if they can get rid of Corbyn regardless of the damage it does, today.

This is no longer about right and wrong; this is about Establishment Labour attempting to break its own rules to get rid of someone they don't like and now that every fair means has failed, they're starting on the foul ones. With the knowledge that the media will lap up this disintegration and the affect it will have on the voters will be, in the short term, horrendous. There are probably 'New' Labour gurus planning the clean-up and bounce back already, safe in the knowledge that a centre-left leader will get the majority of the press off their backs and allow them to get their message Pink Tory message to the masses. They are also probably convinced that while 500,000 party members might be on the verge of revolution, the party will survive once these fanatics have been driven away and Labour will thrive by attracting more disgruntled Tories, fed up with Austerity Version C.

Honestly, they could learn a thing or ten from the Tories, who have gone from meltdown to brilliantly executed unity inside five days (with little or no media hostility). They can't manage the country but they can manage themselves, which is damning with feint praise, but it's praise all the same. The only thing Labour hasn't unified this week has been everything. And surely Angela Eagle must be aware that making herself the sacrificial lamb is going to cause one of two things - a schism within the party, or a massive revolt against the party by the party! You can imagine the targeting seats by the 'redicals' to ensure a Corbyn-less party does even worse than they imagined - but, but, but... that would be destruction for the party? Yes, a bit like what the centre right of the party are doing now.

A possible schism will be caused by the threat of deselection - imagine a new leader of the opposition who gets a vote of no confidence from her own Constituency Party? It is more than a distinct possibility that 172 MPs get deselected and even my growing knowledge of politics isn't wide enough to even contemplate the constitutional nightmare that would cause. If Corbyn wins this week's leadership contest there's a good chance a lot of MPs will be looking for new jobs, very soon.

Two things are clear if Eagle and the PLP win this ridiculous 'war' - many Labour voters will turn their backs on the party if they feel their will has been undermined by just a handful of people (compared to members) and while Eagle might be more popular within the MPs in Westminster, she will have become toxic to everyone but the most devout and loyal of supporters. Secondly, to quote a friend - 'Labour is finished', but only if the PLP allows itself to play out what will be seen as a poor and grubby Machiavellian coup; because it's a damned sight harder to forgive Labour anything than it is the Tories and the conspirators will realise that their long term aim has just turned into a short term career move.

Would Eagle be a stronger more effective leader of the country if she was in charge? Well, the same applies to her as applies to Corbyn; we simply don't know. People thought Cameron was a strong, effective statesman - yes, he was indeed statesmanlike, was he strong or effective? Would a quiet man in an ill-fitting suit, bordering 70 be that worse than the suits we think of as leaders who have all but run away? This appears to be the reasoning behind why he is unelectable - he doesn't look the part. Well, Angela Merkel looks like she's halfway through makeup as a new Dr Who villain; Francoise Hollande looks like a dull tax inspector who models himself on Rafa Benitez; and even I struggle to put names to faces after that, but few of them could stand next to Obama and look impressive - and Obama's apparently not universally loved.

Now that Labour's new unknown superstar Owen Something has thrown his hat into the ring, I wouldn't be surprised to see Ange-E (as we should call her) do what is called in the trade 'A Leadsom' and retire to Wallasey to mend her napalmed bridges, leaving Mr Something's imminent defenestration a foregone conclusion in a leader vote. It begs the question of why this has been done in the first place?

How about this? The PLP isn't on a self-destruct course at all; as I said, they're prepared to wait another 9 years before they have an earnest crack at winning an election and 9 years in politics is an eternity (given the last week). The PLP either doesn't believe the interest Corbyn has generated and will stick with the unelectable tag or they realise that he is a genuine threat both to the party and their own future security and ambition. If career politicians go into politics to eventually help run a country, imagine you are Jeremy Corbyn in a Tony Blair government? What chance of you got of influencing anything? That is what faces the likes of Kendall, Cooper, Umanna and both the Hotel California Sisters if Corbyn remains. So how about destroying Corbyn's Labour Party? For at least 170 MPs Corbyn is more of a threat to them than the Tories; but as the core of the parliamentary party they represent 'true Labour' - they can rise phoenix-like from the ashes of defeat and stand triumphant against the Tories in 2025. Napalm Labour now, rake those undamaged or tarnished by Corbyn's lunacy out and set them up as the new Shadow cabinet and if necessary dispense with the unions in an attempt to become more electable in the suburbs. Job done. Sorry population, but you just get in the way of their careers.

How does Jeremy Corbyn salvage Labour from this debacle? Here's a little nugget that would never appear in the press - yes, mention the name Jeremy Corbyn amongst disaffected older, traditional Labour voters, and those who know who he is dismiss him as if he's some kind of lower-than-Osborne pond scum; yet in normally traditional Tory heartlands there has been a growth in Labour members from the under 25s. Why would the children of Tory voters in places like Oxfordshire and Surrey suddenly join Labour - post Corbyn? The common belief is that austerity has really only affected the poorest the most, but in reality austerity has a trickle up effect. Once cuts at the bottom start impacting on the next level up, this has a kind of domino effect until it actually starts affecting on those usually immune to it. The young, even the privileged young have friends, acquaintances and witness the world through different eyes than us. Kids not normally bothered by politics will start to notice changes among their peer groups and while barely one of them really care about council estate kids in Macclesfield, they care about their mates on social media, down the pub, at the club. It's a selfish-based system, but one that used to attract some of the aristocracy or wealthier classes to be philanthropists and left-wing politicians.

If Corbyn can mobilise his young team to motivate younger voters and come up with some language to appease a portion of their lost vote in heartlands, then he has one thing, one very big thing, going in his favour... The Tories.

Theresa May has a monumental task ahead of her for one very clear reason, the referendum was as much a protest vote against the Tories as it was against the EU. People are fed up and she either has to make them less fed up or the Tories could face their own watershed moment in May 2020 when a mass protest vote against their policies could leave the country bereft of a dominant party, especially if Labour can't unify. Imagine a parliament with 150 Tories, 100 UKIP, 30 Lib Dems, 60 SNP, 150 Labour and 110+ others? Rainbow coalitions might work, but the dissent from the press would weigh heavily on their shoulders, because while the press don't always represents the majority of people, they are always right.