What is Andrew Adonis up to?

Unelected lord and anti-Corbyn screaming head Andrew Adonis has, remarkably, been selected as a candidate for Labour in South West region of England in the European election.  He is Labour’s second choice in that region and Labour has one MEP there prior to the election so Labour would need to gain a seat for Adonis to be elected.  It is unlikely that Labour will make a gain in the South West region.

Given that it unlikely Adonis will be elected, why is he standing?

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“Lord” Andrew Adonis

Adonis loves being on TV.  His eagerness to appear on any news show is matched by the willingness of producers to book him despite his abject negativity and banal vacuity; he is the Josh Widdicombe of news and current affairs.  Broadcasters fail to acknowledge the absurdity of seeking the opinion of an unelected peer to discuss or debate issues of democracy.

One of Adonis’ opponents in the South West region is The Brexit Party’s Annunziata Rees-Mogg, sister of far-right Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg.  Spurious competition between Adonis and Rees-Mogg is a worthless pantomime welcomed by hapless TV producers and by both candidates.

Adonis’ enthusiasm to be a TV talking head is driven by more than ego.  Opposition to the left-of-centre politics of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell is Adonis’ priority.  Immediately after the 2017 general election, whereat Labour had many gains and the Tories lost their parliamentary majority they had attained in 2015 when Corbyn was not Labour leader, Adonis demanded that Corbyn be removed as leader.  Leaders who lose a first election virtually never win a second. Labour needs a new leader as soon as possible,” quoted in Adonis in Politicshome.

When eight right-wing Labour MPs resigned and formed Independent Group with some Tories but did not call by-elections Adonis’ reaction was to warn the Labour leadership of the possibility of more departures if Labour didn’t abandon its tendency leftward.

Those who have today walked out the door are a warning to the leadership that the intolerable pressure and abuse being piled on some is unacceptable.”

The correct reaction to their departure was to shout “good riddance” and to demand a by-election.  If they were required to call by-elections they would not have left.  They are stealing parliamentary seats from voters who voted Labour.  They are democracy thieves.  But, Adonis, armed with the lack of obligation to call by-elections for the stolen seats, preferred to issue a threat of further theft.  He endorsed the attack on democracy by the Independent Group.

In the same article Adonis noted that the SDP in the 1980s “undermined Labour in the 1983 and 1987 elections [by taking (Labour) votes in marginal seats]. A new centre party could do the same unless Corbyn addresses the fundamental causes of discontent.”  Again, a threat: Do as the non-socialists want or else!  But, the difference between the 1980s and today is that then Neil Kinnock was too weak to challenge the narrative of SDP whereas Corbyn and his colleagues are able and confident enough to criticise Independent Group succinctly and to present a cohesive alternative to drab soft conservatism.

Adonis’ most noteworthy contribution to his campaign so far was to openly dissuade voters from voting Labour in the European election.  In an interview on LBC he said

If you’re a Brexiter, I hope that you won’t vote for the Labour Party because the Labour Party is moving increasingly against Brexit… I’m saying if what you want is Brexit delivered, you should vote for the party that is going to deliver Brexit, which I’m afraid is the Conservatives.”

For unelected peer Adonis making stupid points about Remain is all that matters.  Democracy is a game for Adonis.  The irony is that, if Brexit is cancelled, which is what Adonis claims to want, then MEPs elected this year will have a full term in the European parliament, but Adonis doesn’t want too many of those MEPs to be Labour.

Adonis is a performer.  His focus is trying to stop electoral success of a left-of-centre Labour party in any election.  His candidature in the European election is a farce.

Related blog
Change UK: Soft conservatism

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What is Andrew Adonis up to?

Euro elections: The Brexit Party and Change UK: Similarities

This year’s election for the European parliament is on a different day to any other election in the UK because Britain’s involvement wasn’t confirmed early enough to switch the date of council elections to coincide with the Euro election; coupled with the fact that the tenure of any elected British MEP might end after a few months if Brexit happens, a low turnout in Britain is certain.

However, politicians and bubble-encased media hacks are promoting the Euro election as if it is a huge event.  The prevailing presentation of this event is a Remain versus Leave grudge match.  Two recently invented parties have received plenty of free exposure by TV, radio and newspapers, one from each side of the grudge: Change UK (Remain) and The Brexit Party (Leave).  Support for Remain and for Leave is their only difference.

There are several similarities between the two inventions.

Funding
Avoidance of declaration of funding is a similarity.

  • Change UK, previously known as Independent Group, which was actually a business called Gemini A Ltd, was able to receive funding without declaration because it was a business not a party.
  • The Brexit Party has received many similar-sized donations from a similar source in USA at a value just below the minimum declarable level.

Democracy?
Sidestepping democracy is a similarity.

  • The MPs and councillors in Change UK left their previous parties (some from Labour and some from Tory) and sat, initially, as “independent” representatives without calling by-elections before joining Change UK, still without by-elections.
  • The Brexit Party’s main protagonist, privately educated former broker and obedient apostle of Steve Bannon, Nigel Farage, left UKIP and sat as an “independent” in the European parliament before forming/joining The Brexit Party without, at either change, calling a by-election.

Structure
Both parties were created by current politicians (elected as members of other parties).  On their respective launch dates neither party had any other members or activists.  Neither party has any localised structure, any internal democratic structure or internally elected members, any rules and regulations or any staff. 

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Nigel Farage (The Brexit Party), Mike Gapes (Change UK)

In summary, both parties are a small group of experienced politicians who stole their seats from voters who voted for other parties, both have wealthy (mostly secretive) donors splurging money on them and both have had easy and underserved access to media airtime.  

Neither party would exist without Brexit.  For Remain, Change UK bleats about a second referendum; for Leave, The Brexit Party says the UK should leave the EU regardless of consequences.  That is all.  Beyond their opposite commitments to Remain and to Leave they have no other policies at all.  PR and hollow soundbites are their language.  Change UK and The Brexit Party mock democracy. 

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Euro elections: The Brexit Party and Change UK: Similarities

Cadwalladr has fallen down the rabbit hole

In the campaign for the EU referendum inter-connected Leave lobby groups lied relentlessly and brazenly, hid their funding and ignored election rules and law.  Such behaviour was unsurprising: The Leave campaign was led by functionaries working for disaster capitalists and, thus, it was bereft of integrity or honesty; most of the protagonists were disreputable, tax-dodging lowlifes. 

Carole Cadwalladr’s investigations helped to expose some of the tactics used by Leave campaigners including their adept use of social media platforms, particularly Facebook.  Such exposure was informative and interesting but it had no effect on the result of the referendum and it cast doubt on the intelligence of Leave voters by suggesting they were misled easily.

Gradually, and deliberately, Cadwalladr’s focus moved from the Leave campaigners’ tactics to social media platforms that they used.  Yesterday, at a TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference, she blamed social media for breaking democracy. 

Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Jack Dorsey, and your employees and your investors too.  We are what happens to a western democracy when a hundred years of electoral laws are disrupted by technology.  What the Brexit vote demonstrates is that liberal democracy is broken, and you broke it.”

There are a few problems with the above comment.

  • Remain campaigners had the option of using the same tactics on social media platforms as Leave campaigners used
  • None of the social media platforms has or had functionality designed to “break democracy
  • On every day during any election campaign newspapers try to direct voting via use of false information and libel, mostly from a right-of-centre perspective
  • Social media helps people to share information and to organise; that is, it assists democracy

Carole Cadwalladr’s focus on social media as the “breaker” of democracy, rather than newspapers, TV or the plethora of secretly funded right-wing think-tanks, was knowingly deceptive.  Her lament for democracy was hypocritical: She has stated her support for Independent Group/Change UK whose entire existence is based on stealing parliamentary seats from voters who voted for other parties.

Her descent down the rabbit hole concluded with a sermon from the centrist knoll.

It is not about left or right, or Leave or Remain, or Trump or not.  It’s about whether it’s actually possible to have a free and fair election ever again.  As it stands, I don’t think it is.  And so my question to you [social media companies] is: Is this what you want?  Is this how you want history to remember you?  As the handmaidens to authoritarianism that is on the rise all across the world?  You set out to connect people and you are refusing to acknowledge that the same technology is now driving us apart.”

The key comment in her mini-sermon was “not about left or right but about free and fair elections.”  Centrists fear any social activism, online or elsewhere.  To attract attention and sympathy they initially express that fear as fear of the right; subsequently, as shown by Cadwalladr in the above quote, the fear is presented as conflated fear of left and right.  The next step down the rabbit hole is fear of socialism.

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For Cadwalladr, the problem is loss of control of the narrative ahead of elections.  If people are able to exchange information, ideas, opinions and stories online and are able to use social media platforms to organise or to express solidarity then the newspapers, radio and TV are being bypassed and the directional propaganda from governments is being set aside.  

Fear of the success of use of social media platforms as political activism is a fear that exists in the Tory government and throughout established media outlets.

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Independent Group: Democracy Thieves
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Cadwalladr has fallen down the rabbit hole

Run-of-the-melts have suffocated satirical comedy

The targets of popular satirical comedy have changed over time.

1960s anti-establishment comedy, led by Peter Cook and David Frost, pricked the previously untouched pillars of British authority.  In the 1970s impressionist Mike Yarwood set a tone of anti-left comedy.  Students took control again in the 1980s and aimed at Thatcher and Reagan but, bereft of the wit and intelligence of the 60s’ experts, their satire was often clumsy and lacked incisiveness.  In the following decades comedians became obsessed with talking about themselves, exaggerating their foibles and starring in eponymous sitcoms.

Now, nearly twenty years into the 21st century, satirical comedy on TV has neutered itself. 

Run-of-the-melts
Political safety and job security are the inspiration for today’s popular satirical comedians.  Evacuated from the radio 4 bowel onto BBC 2 and Dave, fearful centrist melts offer meek criticisms of political figures and acts.  Their observations are excruciatingly obvious.  Wit, knowledge and insight are eschewed.  There is no attempt to add to the conversation.  The flaccidity of the melts’ satirical analysis is deliberate and purposeful.  It is pretence of satire.  

Political conformity is ever-present in the behaviour of today’s melting satirists.  They regurgitate prevailing bubble-created catatonic opinions from the detached centre.  The key fear that reeks throughout the centre is the fear of socialism and run-of-the-melts enjoy repeating reactions to this fear via uncerebral isolated pithless stock phrases that would sit comfortably in a Daily Mail comment piece. 

The melts’ jokes and jokey remarks lack invention matched by a lack of honesty.  No preparation precedes, there is no accompanying didactic narrative and no residual afterthought.  Everything is forced, like platitudes on an estate agent’s blurb for a house.  It is drab and full of snide.  Current TV political satire is the antithesis of what it should be.  Its characteristics are obedience and suffocation of wit.  It is a slow death of satire. 

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Melting: Forde, Hill and O’Briain at work

Postscript
There is some good satire around (occasionally on TV).  For example, @JaneyGodley and @rachelparris.

Notes
run-of-the-melt n. Melt in show business or arts with adequate talent
melt n. Centrist who is disproportionately critical of left-wing politics

Related blog
The Last Leg wants to humanise Amber Rudd

Run-of-the-melts have suffocated satirical comedy

Commission for Countering Extremism and ‘far-left’ extremism

Yesterday the Commission for Countering Extremism (CCE) issued a (long) press release that claimed to outline plans to tackle political extremism in Britain.  Several papers will be published by academics with input from the public via consultation.

The first sentence of the press release highlighted which extremists will be the subject of the investigations.

The papers will look at the far right, Islamism, the far left and online extremism.”

Under the heading ‘Other Forms of Extremism’ the CCE stated in the press release that there will be “one paper exploring the tactics and objectives of the far left and their acceptance among the public.”

But, is CCE really looking into “far-left extremism?”  In the remainder of the press release, and in associated introductory papers – terms of reference and annexes to terms of reference, there was plentiful discussion of far-right extremism and “Islamist” extremism but “far-left extremism” was mentioned just once across both introductory papers in a sentence on page 13 on the annexes paper.

Concerns were also raised about the impact of other forms of extremism, such as Hindu extremism, Sikh extremism and Hard Left extremism.”

The single reference to the far-left was in a precis of comments that CCE Lead Commissioner Sara Khan claimed to have heard when travelling around Britain consulting the public on extremism.  It was in the final paragraph of such comments, presumably added as an afterthought.

The academics who will investigate “far-left extremism” are Daniel Allington, Siobhan McAndrew and David Hirsh.

Hirsh is a relentless critic of the leftward tendency of the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.  In a dramatic letter of resignation from Labour, timed to coincide with the announcement of the CCE investigation, Hirsh declared

I do not want Jeremy Corbyn to be the next Prime Minister; he is so wedded to antisemitic politics that he has been quite unable to address the antisemitic culture which he imported into the Labour mainstream.  And that is linked to his anti-democratic worldview.”

(Aside: Hirsh’s letter complained about Corbyn being “anti-democratic” but Hirsh has given full support to Change UK/Independent Group MPs who are currently stealing parliamentary seats from voters.)

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David Hirsh

Allington wrote a half-baked conclusion-driven piece on Labour’s electorate support (or not) in 2017 that was expertly debunked on the A Very Public Sociologist blog.  Allington demonstrated the popular anti-socialist strategy of refusing to allow logic, reason, didactic narrative, knowledge and intelligence to obstruct an agenda.

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Daniel Allington

McAndrew‘s perceptive qualities were displayed when she described right-wing campaigner against socialism Luke Akehurst as a “moderate Labour activist” in Irrational politics.

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Siobhan McAndrew

Two clear points about the CCE’s choice of “academics” to investigate “far-left extremism.”

  1. They have been asked to regurgitate smears about Corbyn and his colleagues.
  2. There will be no investigation of the “far-left.”

One does not need to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that CCE’s investigation into “far-left extremism” is an invention and is designed solely as a political tool to attack leftward politics.  It is unsurprising that the Tory government’s CCE will join in with the attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and on socialism: The possibility of a general election later this year is rising rapidly.

 

 

 

Commission for Countering Extremism and ‘far-left’ extremism

No deal Brexiteer classification

No deal Brexiteers are classified as follows.

1) Ignorant idiots
Understandably, blissful ignorance is a popular political position.  However, Brexit has taken witlessness up to barely visible levels of stupidity. 

Many people think ‘no deal’ means nothing changes.  As unbelievable as that sounds, it is a widely held view.  

Some people think World Trade Organisation trading rules are real things that exist in the world, or think Britain has something that countries in the EU desperately need.

There is ignorance of consequences if Britain leaves the EU via no deal Brexit: Ignorance of Britain’s inability to produce enough food to feed everyone; ignorance of the devastating effects on the NHS by forced removal of EU citizens; ignorance of the urgency of some imports, particularly medical supplies; ignorance of the huge costs of travelling or holidaying in Europe.

The world beyond Europe has changed hugely since Britain joined the Common Market over forty years ago but some people think stepping back to earlier trade arrangements will be straightforward.

2) Xenophobic yobs
Knuckle-dragging, angry, racist filth inspired by relentless encouragement from right-wing newspapers and from manipulative politicians, feted as authentic voices by detached bubble-dwellers in broadcasting and journalism and led by rabble-rousing grifters, the far-right bellowers refuse to see the real source of problems and choose to direct their anger at anything or anyone foreign.  They are willing puppets of the beneficiaries of division in society.

There is no possibility of reasoned argument with them.  Ignorance is celebrated, offence is obligatory and violence is ever-present. 

Their pseudo importance as representatives of an opinion is an invention by those who benefit from the rabble’s behaviour.

A side-effect of the existence and visibility of angry xenophobes is that hapless centrists can point at them disapprovingly and avoid pointing at the major culprits (see below).

3) Wealthy financial vultures and their enablers
A cliff-fall no-deal Brexit would be a huge multi-billion pound windfall for disaster capitalists, for currency gamblers, for vultures waiting to grab what is left of Britain’s vital public services at fire-sale prices, for exploitative corporations salivating at the prospect of the removal of workers’ rights and health and safety regulations, for tax avoiders, for tax evaders, for enemies of human rights, for enemies of free speech and for every despicable low-life anti-human greedy bastard.

Their enablers are working hard, harder than they have ever worked in their disreputable lives, to achieve a no deal outcome.  A plethora of secretly funded right-wing think-tanks, assisted by compliant broadcasters, provide a constant stream of confidence tricks for the benefit of their donors and act as conduits between the vultures and Tory MPs for flows of cash to the MPs’ accounts to pay them for their campaigning for no deal.

So much money is at stake that desperation has started to appear in the rhetoric and actions of the vultures’ enablers.  Raab, Leadsom, Francois, Johnson, Farage and Hannan have become increasingly angry, red-faced and aggressive.  Their demands for violence are becoming less subtle; group 3) requires group 2).

MarkFrancois
Bruges Group’s Mark Francois MP

Recommended reading
Dominic Raab’s bonfire of rights

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No deal Brexiteer classification

Board of Deputies fights antisemitism, except for Tory antisemitism

Is the Board of Deputies (BoD) a strong and effective opponent of antisemitism?  

Brextremist Suella Braverman, Tory MP for Fareham, used the phrase “cultural Marxism” in a speech at a Bruges Group event in March.  “Cultural Marxism” originated as a derogatory description of the politics of Jewish socialists by NAZI party in Germany in the 1930s.  It was used in literature by the mass murderers in Utøya, Norway in 2011 and Christchurch, New Zealand this year.  The phrase is a popular form of abuse by extreme-right screaming heads.

The key points are 1) the origin of “cultural Marxism” and its use today by extreme-right activists are antisemitic in intent and 2) its use as an antisemitic trope is well-known. 

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Suella Braverman MP

Context of Braverman’s choice of language
The host of the speech given by Braverman was a far-right think-tank – Bruges Group.  Its director Roberts Oulds co-authored a paper with Niall McCrae called Moralitis: A Cultural Virus.  The second line of the paper’s introduction set its tone: Like the growth of bacteria in a Petri dish, the subversive tenets of cultural Marxism have spread as a pinking of the public discourse.”

The intent of Oulds and McCrae’s paper was to depict liberal ideas as a virus.

In this monograph we present our thesis of a cultural virus.  This manifests in a morality that subverts conventional social norms and quashes dissent.  In this delusional condition, people may seem to be acting with autonomy, but the forces of conformity are such that their freedom is limited, and their utterances merely regurgitate group-think.  People do not necessarily feel constrained, because the viral symptoms are an expression of progressive ideals.  Whereas symptoms of influenza impair physical fitness, the cultural virus enhances social fitness.  It is a pervasive and enduring outbreak of moral hubris.”

We believe that the prevailing values of society, as conveyed by the political and cultural establishment and by the younger generations, have reached the level of moral hegemony.  The process by which this has occurred is analogous to a virus. It is an epidemic disease so powerful that it has a cytopathic effect on society, changing the cognition and behaviour of its hosts.  While older people have developed resistance, younger people are more susceptible to the virus due to their lack of immunity.  Their idealism arises from a lack of ‘real world’ experience.”

The infection is concentrated in metropolitan areas of affluence and in towns and cities with high student populations, and throughout our political and cultural institutions.  People who contract the virus may be divided into two types.  First are the carriers.  Not active propagators, they learn what to say and what values to convey.  As a large brigade of foot-soldiers, their compliance with moral hegemony is vital for the disease to overcome healthy minds.  The second type is the contagious.  This is the opinionated minority, enthused by cultural Marxism, who police social discourse and push boundaries to advance their cause. Often it is such people who are promoted to positions of power.  The contagious sweep others along in their moral hubris.”

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Bruges Group director Roberts Oulds

The content, context, language and tone above by Oulds and McCrae inspired Braverman to speak at a Bruges Group event and to use the phrase “cultural Marxism.”  

BoD response to blatant antisemitism from a Tory MP
How did the BoD respond to Braverman’s deliberate use of an antisemitic trope at an event hosted by a far-right think-tank that peddles extremist philosophy with offensive language?
Was there a comment on the news section of the BoD website? No.
Was there a comment or a link on the BoD’s twitter account?  No.
Was there a press release?  Yes.

BoDBraverman

According to Jewish Chronicle newspaper, a “spokesperson” for the BoD said, prior to the issue of the above press release, Suella Braverman may not have been aware of it, but the term ‘cultural Marxist’ has a history as an antisemitic trope.  We would ask for her to clarify the remarks and undertake not to use the phrase in future.”

To summarise, a Tory MP spoke at an event hosted by a far-right think-tank that propagates extreme politics and she used a well-known antisemitic trope that was used frequently by the think-tank; BoD accepted her lie that she wasn’t aware of the antisemitic meaning of the phrase and completely exonerated her.  “We are sorry to see that the whole matter has caused distress.”  That was how seriously the BoD took antisemitism when the perpetrator was a Tory MP.  

(For Labour MPs, the behaviour of the BoD is different.)

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Board of Deputies fights antisemitism, except for Tory antisemitism