Winston Churchill’s ‘Sinews Of Peace’ speech March 5th 1946

Less than a year after USA air force dropped two atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima colonialist Winston Churchill prefaced a speech at Westminster College, Fulton in Missouri with celebration of USA’s power: “The United States stands at this time at the pinnacle of world power.”

Churchill painted a picture of military power as a burden to the owners of that power and depicted imperialist power as social responsibility.

With primacy in power is also joined an awe inspiring accountability to the future. If you look around you, you must feel not only the sense of duty done but also you must feel anxiety lest you fall below the level of achievement.”

Our supreme task and duty is to guard the homes of the common people from the horrors and miseries of another war.”

His deliberate use of pronouns “you” and “our” was purposefully divisive. 

He claimed newly-formed United Nations Organisation (UN) had “the prime purpose of preventing war” but, in order to attain the accolade of “a true temple of peace in which the shields of many nations can some day be hung up” the UN “must immediately begin to be equipped with an international armed force.”  His concept of international police force, international judiciary and international arbiter of morality embodied in the UN was restricted absolutely by the caveat of UK, USA and their allies being cast as having superior capacity to judge. 

Churchill’s political division of the world included who should have the right to knowledge of nuclear bombs.  It would nevertheless be wrong and imprudent to entrust the secret knowledge or experience of the atomic bomb, which the United States, Great Britain, and Canada now share, to the world organisation [UN], while it is still in its infancy.”

With arrogant selective amnesia, or worse, he forgot that tens of thousands of Japanese civilians were burnt to death and many more were dying from radiation-related illnesses because USA obliterated two cities with atomic bombs just seven months earlier: No one in any country has slept less well in their beds because this knowledge and the method and the raw materials to apply it, are at present largely retained in American hands.”

Bad memory was a frequent apparition in his speech.  In an attempt to juxtapose Britain’s humanitarian history against that of nations led by “tyranny” the architect of mass genocide in India said “the liberties enjoyed by individual citizens throughout the British Empire are not valid in a considerable number of countries.”  Churchill’s xenophobia, an ever-present aspect of his personality, helped him to imagine the superiority of the “English-speaking world.”

We must never cease to proclaim in fearless tones the great principles of freedom and the rights of man which are the joint inheritance of the English-speaking world and which through Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Habeas Corpus, trial by jury, and the English common law find their most famous expression in the American Declaration of Independence.  Here is the message of the British and American peoples to mankind.”

Of course, none of the above “freedom and rights” were available to the conquered and invaded who were subjugated by the armed might of the British Empire with Churchill as its leader.  His belief in the existence of “strong parent races in Europe” added a second hierarchy of racial superiority. 

His focus on the “fraternal association of the English-speaking peoples” continued with a celebration of the “special relationship between the United States and the British Commonwealth.”  He had read the runes; he knew the British empire was in sharp decline and the USA was gaining strength, militarily and economically, exponentially.  

For Churchill, the “special relationship” was to be a military relationship or, to be more honest, a relationship of the shared goal of enriching the arms industry.

Fraternal association requires the continuance of the intimate relationship between our military advisers, leading to common study of potential dangers, the similarity of weapons and manuals of instructions, and to the interchange of officers and cadets at technical colleges.  It should carry with it the continuance of the present facilities for mutual security by the joint use of all Naval and Air Force bases in the possession of either country all over the world.”

The nonchalant abuse of the world by military power was expressed in a glib comment on acquiring territory.  “Already we [UK and USA] use together a large number of islands; more may well be entrusted to our joint care in the near future.”  The (former) inhabitants of the Chagos Islands learnt later (in 1967) what “entrusted” meant.  Churchill claimed he meant the high and simple causes that are dear to us [UK and USA] and bode no ill to any.”

The most repeated refrain throughout the speech was the assertion that agreements between nations – UN and “special relationship” – would ensure peace in the world.  But, this was infused with a stated necessity for military power.  Churchill’s vision of the world needed a latent enemy and his choice was USSR.

A shadow has fallen upon the scenes so lately lighted by the Allied victory. Nobody knows what Soviet Russia and its Communist international organisation intends to do in the immediate future, or what are the limits, if any, to their expansive and proselytising tendencies.”

An iron curtain has descended across the Continent [Europe].”

He explained clearly that his objection was to communism.

An attempt is being made by the Russians in Berlin to build up a quasi-Communist party in their zone of Occupied Germany.”

The Communist parties, which were very small in all these Eastern States of Europe, have been raised to pre-eminence and power far beyond their numbers.”

Churchill warned of a threat to peace from the existence of communism.  “If now the Soviet Government tries, by separate action, to build up a pro-Communist Germany in their areas, [then it is not a Europe] which contains the essentials of permanent peace.”  He envisioned the cold war that lasted into the 1990s.  (That phoney war persisted with the dual strategy of UK/USA and later NATO: Economically-inspired objection to communism alongside financial need for an enemy in order to justify military expenditure.)

His vision of the cold war was also its declaration.  Whether assisted by USSR or independent of it communism in any country was the biggest threat post-war to USA-led financial dominance over the world’s people.  Churchill’s genuflection in Missouri to the deity of American corporatism was a pragmatic decision.  He was paying tribute to the Don.  He knew, also, that a permanent enemy meant a permanent channel of money from the public into the grasping hands of arms manufacturers and their parasites.

His description of communism was emotional and studiously unintelligent.  Fear of its appeal filled his rhetoric.  He couldn’t discuss it rationally or informatively because that would encourage inspection of it by the public who might then appreciate what it had to offer.  By necessity, he had to dehumanise communism.

The Communist parties or fifth columns constitute a growing challenge and peril to Christian civilisation.”

In a great number of countries, far from the Russian frontiers and throughout the world, Communist fifth columns are established and work in complete unity and absolute obedience to the directions they receive from the Communist centre.”

I have felt bound to portray the shadow which, alike in the west and in the east, falls upon the world.”

After suggesting that he was “convinced that there is nothing they [USSR] admire so much as strength, and there is nothing for which they have less respect than for weakness, especially military weakness” Churchill said the UN should not be “offering temptations to a trial of strength.”  He then equated USSR after the second world war with the rise of Hitler in Germany after the first world war.

Last time I saw it all coming and cried aloud to my own fellow-countrymen and to the world, but no one paid any attention. Up till the year 1933 or even 1935, Germany might have been saved from the awful fate which has overtaken her and we might all have been spared the miseries Hitler let loose upon mankind.”

Churchill’s monstering of communism was set beside his convenient knowledge failures of the British empire’s effects. 

He concluded by flattering USA who, according to him, was forced to enter the two world wars of the twentieth century rather than taking part due to awareness of possible empire expansion.  “Twice in our own lifetime we have seen the United States, against their wishes and their traditions, against arguments, the force of which it is impossible not to comprehend, drawn by irresistible forces, into these wars in time to secure the victory of the good cause.”

Throughout his speech Churchill displayed his adeptness in persuasive but erroneous reasoning with the intent of justifying the spurious need for huge increase in military spending.  He was aware of an enemy of extreme exploitative capitalism and was equally aware of the former’s potential appeal to the public.  Thus, it was necessary for him to create an opaque description of that enemy such that the description had no detail and it afixed unnatural attributes to the enemy.  He created a bogeyman.

Seventy-five years later the importance of his speech is clear.  What he asked for – a cold war – became a reality and a dominant feature of international politics.  The “special relationship” – one-sided and dependent – continues despite temporary disagreements between Boris Johnson’s Tories and Joe Biden’s Democrats.  Even though USSR disappeared nearly thirty years ago communism remains in a pariah status for most Western European and North American politicians and media.

Was Churchill visionary with astute predictive powers?  Or, was he merely an obedient servant of finance power who possessed sufficient eloquence to manipulate opinion toward a desired goal?  Both questions can have an affirmative answer; political philosophy can be reactive and proactive simultaneously.

The most interesting aspect of his words is that, except for a few phrases and references, they could be spoken today by any little gofer from a hard-right think-tank, or by a right-wing grifter, or by a conservative politician, or by an editor of a right-wing newspaper.  The same need for bogeymen, the same duplicity, the same mendacity and the same wilfully selective memory are present today as they were for Churchill in 1946.  The tactics of the enablers and defenders of exploitative capitalism have not changed since then.  They cannot change because there is no other formula for success than the propaganda used by him.  His speech attained high stature over the three-quarters of a century since he spoke and there is a clear connection to how the capitalist system is marketed today to con the public. 

Churchill was a pragmatist and as conservative (small ‘c’) as anyone could be.  That is, politically, philosophically and emotionally he was a coward.  His words were abdication of power (to American businesses and finance capital) and abdication of reason, honesty and integrity.  Churchill was a convenient cog. 

ChurchillUSFlag

Winston Churchill’s ‘Sinews Of Peace’ speech March 5th 1946

Andrew Neil on GB News philosophy

I’m an upstart
Hey!!
Whatcha gonna do?
I’m an upstart
Listen!!
I’m talking to you!

‘I’m An Upstart’ – Mensi/Mond

King of far-right grifting Andrew Neil, the inspiration for British gobshites, screaming heads and Gits, abandoned pretence of professionalism as a broadcaster when he was gifted the chairmanship of GB News by its wealthy offshore donors.

As the channel’s launch approaches Neil’s public persona has eschewed adulthood and focussed on ignorant petulant snippets and wilful mendacity.  His political stance, his selection of targets, his language and his denialism are entirely in line with far-right guidelines of public communication practised by characters like Nigel Farage, Scott Morrison, Tucker Carlson and Steve Bannon.

In a promotional piece published in the Express on February 7th 2021 Neil’s exposition of the channel’s stature and of its political intent was as dishonest as the self-penned descriptions of dark-money funded think-tanks and lobby groups.  He called GB News an “upstart” and a “challenger to the established order” and claimed “we are a David among Goliaths, the underdog in a crowded market.”  That is the same con-trick used by lobby groups who call themselves “grassroots.”  Wealthy establishment offshore investors/owners of GB News are in control.

Neil threw a few cursory remarks down contemptuously as a weak claim of political balance. 

  1. We will conform to all the Ofcom rules designed to ensure impartiality and the absence of bias in news broadcasting. 
  2. Facts must be well-sourced and accurate. 
  3. Conspiracy and disinformation will not be tolerated. 
  4. Mistakes will be quickly acknowledged and rectified. 
  5. We will be hiring some of Britain’s best-known and most trusted journalists.”

Presenters hired include gossip hack Dan Wootton, former reality TV contestant Michelle Dewbury and extreme-right provocateur Tom Harwood each of whom is the diametric opposite of “most trusted” and they have never worried about “facts,” “disinformation” and “mistakes.”  None of Wootton, Dewberry or Harwood is a “journalist.”  Tory councillor (Tamworth) Alex Farrell will be an executive producer.

Neil contradicted point 1. several times: “We will not operate on the assumption that every problem demands a government solution or that every solution must necessarily involve more taxpayers’ money.  GB News will be proud of our country.  Our default position will not be to do Britain down at every turn.”

Blow those whistles Neil
The key theme of right-wing’s divide-and-rule strategy is its entirely false assertion that it represents “working-class” people against a “middle-class” elite while simultaneously depicting that elite as liberal or even left-wing.  The established elite in Britain is “middle-class” and above but is predominantly right-wing. 

GB news’ financiers are part of that elite and the channel’s political output will be unwaveringly in support of conservative (small ‘c’) economic establishment.  Right-wing politicians, broadcasters and media con the public into supporting the public’s opponents (the exploitative elite).

A tactic of the strategy is the right-wing’s expression of alleged support for “white working-class” while using dog-whistle language in its depiction of the elite.  Neil made sure to fill his Express article with a cacophony of dog whistles.

I’m doing it because I believe the direction of news debate in Britain is increasingly woke <anti-racist> and out of touch with the majority of its people.  I believe our national conversation has become too metropolitan <non-racist>, too southern and too middle-class.  Some journalists and commentators seem too confident that their liberal-left assumptions must surely be shared by every sensible person in the land.  But many of those same sensible people are fed up.  They feel left out and unheard.  There’s a restlessness, a sense that they’re being talked down to; that much of the media no longer reflects their values or shares their concerns.  GB News is aimed squarely at those people.”

The above is exactly the same rhetoric as spouted by Martin Daubney, Ben Bradley and the recently dead Rush Limbaugh.

GB News’ intent is clear.

Related blogs
GB News will be as bad as expected
GB News launch day schedule
Andrew Neil, the king of far-right grifting

Andrew Neil on GB News philosophy

Keir Starmer: The Bystander has no recovery bond

Starmer’s role is to ensure opposition to the Tories is ineffective. 

His speech today (18th February 2021) was billed as a big policy reveal but pre-speech leaks, to favoured media hacks and to Labour’s own spokespersons, contained next to nothing and that was an accurate indicator of the worth of the speech. 

A new meaningless eclectic three-word phrase was declared: Secure, protect, rebuild.  This should not be confused with the meaningless eclectic three-word phrase from Keir Starmer’s speech on September 22nd 2020 delivered at Labour’s virtual conference ‘Connected’ in Doncaster: Opportunity, family and security. 

Policies

Starmer policies in bold below followed by analysis.

Reverse the planned £20 cut in Universal Credit: Universal Credit was designed to cause destitution, debt, homelessness and death.  Its system of calculating payment, particularly with respect to rent payments, is insufficient for people to survive.  The vicious, unregulated and law-dodging sanctions process leaves people starving and homeless.  It should be abolished and replaced with a welfare system that guarantees food, heat and somewhere to live as basic necessities.  Starmer wants to only maintain the £20 uplift introduced as a consequence of Covid-19.

Reverse key worker pay freeze: Vital public service workers are underpaid and their employment contracts are becoming increasingly insecure with continuous reductions in rights and benefits.  Resetting the system of employment for key workers requires sufficiently more than just stopping pay freezes.

British Recovery Bond: Billions and billions of tax is dodged by wealthy people and large corporations.  The stolen wealth, if collected, would provide a huge boost to public services, education, NHS, public housing, etc. and could enable tax cuts for most people.  The Recovery Bond, coupled with loans for start-up business, will allow wealthy people to make a profit as lenders.  

National Infrastructure Bank: Alongside the Recovery Bond this bank is part of a process of moving the financing of infrastructure away from a tax/public spending model to a lender/debtor model.

Extend business rate holiday and VAT cut for hospitality and leisure: Covid-19 affected hospitality and leisure severely.  Many businesses closed and more will follow.  A temporary tax reduction will not make any difference to the viability of such businesses.  By 2024, the year of the next general election and likely to be beyond the pandemic, such businesses will have survived or closed, and so this policy is moot.

Extend and update the furlough scheme so it’s better able to help people back into work: Again, by 2024 this policy will not be relevant due to the earlier likely end of the pandemic.

That is all the policies that Starmer announced. 

Waffle

There were several turns of phrase uttered by Starmer that sounded like a introduction to something but were followed by nothing.

This must be a moment to think again about the country we want to be.  Our chance to diagnose the condition of Britain and to start the process of putting it right.”

The public are looking for government to help them through difficult times, to provide security, and to build a better future for them and for their families.  A government that knows the value of public services, not just the price in the market.  A government that invests in British skills, science, universities and manufacturing, that provides world-class education for all of our children, and whose driving mission is to tackle inequalities from birth.”

This <Recovery Bond/Infrastructure bank> is bold, it’s innovative and it’s an example of the active, empowering government I believe is needed if we’re to build a more secure economy.”

When I think about business I see a source of pride, dignity and prosperity.  And I know there’s no vision of a future where Britain fulfils its potential in which business does not thrive.”

He also said “I’ve said a lot about the incompetence of the Government’s handling of the pandemic and I make no apology for that.”  That comment surprised people who heard Starmer agree often with the Tories’ pandemic actions.

Another absurd comment revealed how out of touch with reality Starmer is: “Many people have, I think, saved for the first time during this pandemic.”

Alert

Starmer did not mention Brexit during his speech.  

Conclusion

Starmer offered a few crumbs though barely enough to feed a squirrel.  Some of the policies announced will no longer be valid by the time of the next election.  The biggest policy of Recovery Bond and Infrastructure Bank is a means of sidestepping responsibility to collect taxes from the wealthiest.

He has, or chooses to pretend to have, no knowledge of how much people’s lives and livelihoods are affected by Brexit and by the pandemic.

Every speech by Starmer emphasises how unsuitable he is as a leader of the opposition and how banal he would be as a prime minister.

Calamitous consequences of Brexit and dual effects of Covid-19 – huge fall in gross domestic product and over one hundred thousand deaths – make Starmer’s Bystander philosophy difficult to maintain. 

Examination of the ratio of intent to ineptitude is the single residual query of Keir Starmer’s inducement of the suicide of the Labour party.

Recommended reading
Grace Blakeley for Tribune

Keir Starmer: The Bystander has no recovery bond

Free Speech Champion: Key points of government policy proposals

Weak governments control public speech because they are fearful.

Gavin Williamson’s paper Higher education: free speech and academic freedom includes policy proposals to advance the inculcation of conservative free-racketeering philosophy at universities and to restrict radical politics.

A Free Speech and Academic Freedom Champion (FSAFC), appointed by the government, will work with the government’s falsely named Office For Students (OfS) and will “have a particular focus on monitoring whether higher education providers (HEPs) are meeting the freedom of speech and academic freedom aspects of the registration requirements and in championing them publicly as well as having a role in ensuring that individuals whose freedom of speech has been unlawfully suppressed within a higher education context are able to secure redress.”

FSAFC will assume some of the powers of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA).  “Student complaints which are exclusively about free speech and academic freedom would be considered by the FSAFC” rather than OIA as they are at present.

KEY POINT: The OIA is a registered charity with an independent board that includes representatives from the National Union of Students.  OfS members and FSAFC are political appointments by the Tories.

On the issue of “redress” FSAFC will be “able to consider and recommend redress for free speech concerns for visiting speakers.”

KEY POINT: A “visiting speaker” will be able to seek “redress” if unable to speak at a HEP.  That means anyone could persuade (or pay) a politically amenable student to “invite” them to speak.  The most politically extreme people will be able to demand a platform accompanied by a threat to demand “redress” if declined.  A Tory-appointed FSAFC will decide if “redress” is applicable.

It is not only universities that are under attack.  Tories know that control of student unions is necessary in order to control speech.  “We [the Tories] believe it is sensible for the OfS to be given powers to regulate student unions in regard to free speech.  The OfS would be able to apply its existing sanctions, including fines, to student unions that breached the requirements imposed on them in relation to free speech.”

We are proposing the introduction of a statutory tort, which would give private individuals a right of redress if they have suffered loss.  The purpose of such a route of redress would have the combined aim of both compensating individuals for any loss suffered, as well as ensuring that HEPs and student unions take their legal responsibilities seriously.”  This could be claimed by “visiting speakers who are disinvited or ‘no platformed’.”

KEY POINT: Anyone could claim to be “no platformed” by a student union and then force an invite via a threat of a bill for “costs.”  This will encourage student unions to invite unwanted guests to avoid monetary difficulties.  It will also lessen criticism of extremists, particularly the large body of far-right grifters, for fear of them making a claim of “no platforming.”  That is, free speech will be reduced.  A Tory-appointed FSAFC will decide if “costs” for “no platforming” are applicable.

Williamson’s paper is waffling as an art form.  Its arguments and deductions are comically absurd, embarrassingly dishonest, repetitive and wholly unconnected to education.  The policy proposals are few, though expressed with meandering verbosity.  However, the key points are worthy of note. 

Overall, his aim is to facilitate ease of access for the far-right and for economic extremists while scaring opposition voices into lowering their volume.  Above that there is more of the current Tory vogue for gammonistic posturing.

Williamson is opposed to education.

Related blogFree Speech Champion: Controlled speech

Free Speech Champion: Key points of government policy proposals

Free Speech Champion: Controlled speech

Weak governments control public speech because they are fearful.  

The Tory government, in constant need of distractions from its disastrous Brexit and its purposeful (corruption enabling) mismanagement of the response to Covid-19 pandemic, persists with its culture war invention.  Daily dollops of affectations of gammonism from Tories, and from their ilk in media, think-tanks and academia, posture support for the conservative comfort blanket of flags, statues and rose-tinted history.  Such inducement of stupefaction distracts momentarily and drips into a stagnant pool of vacuous contrarianism that can be accessed later whenever need arises.

There are also political aims for promotion of attachment to trappings of inherited symbolism and victors’ accounts of history.  If people can be persuaded that state accoutrements are worthy of personal commitment then they might also be comfortable with supporting continuity of elite governance regardless of competence.  When commitment becomes reliance it is easier to cast alternative political philosophies as aligned with destruction of the objects of that reliance.  That is the simplicity of the Tories’ fake culture war: Childlike symbolism and castrated history encouraging pro-elite political attachment versus historical accuracy and balanced criticism associated with inquisitive political philosophies.

GrahamChapman

Thus, like Graham Chapman’s absurdist Monty Python characters, politicians appear on TV in their Covid bubbles, at home or in the office, with a fresh-from-the-factory union flag on a pole to their left while the government threatens to change the law to “protect statues,” and universities and schools are under attack for daring to teach accurate concise history and for refusing to allow platforms for swindlers and bigots.

Flag-onanism and fornicating with statues might elicit derisory smirks but interference in education reveals insidious intent.  Independence of universities has worried governments for centuries.  The weaker the government, both intellectually and its faith in its longevity, the more likely it is to want to control what is said, taught and thought.  In crisis times weakness is amplified.  Today, despite an eighty seat majority in parliament, the Tory government is infused exhaustively with weakness.

In December 2017 Higher Education Minister Jo Johnson said universities would be fined if they prevented some speakers from performing for money on university property.  Reasons for denying access for speakers include concerns that rhetoric of a speaker is designed specifically to incite and/or that she or he has no worth as a contributor to university life.  Universities make decisions every day regarding what is or isn’t suitable and they are generally capable of such decisions.  Discussions and debates between administrators, staff and students about such decisions are part of the education provided.  

Johnson’s fallacious argument for removal of universities’ autonomy over use of its venues was a claim of denial of “free speech.”  Free speech at universities is more than a necessity, it is intrinsic.  Free speech as a undeniable facet of education includes discussion of the validity of an invitation for a speaker.  Free speech does not include filling floorspace with cranks, time-wasters and charlatans spouting frequently debunked garbage.  Johnson was not worried about free speech; he was perturbed that intelligent people with balanced and informed perspectives could decide that idiocy should be eschewed.

Concomitant to Johnson’s declaration of fines was the artificial creation of Office For Students (OFS), a Tory tool of interference in academia presenting itself entirely deceptively as acting in the interest of students.  Initially, Johnson wanted eugenicist Toby Young to lead OFS but the latter’s tenure lasted barely a fortnight before being removed due to his long history of extremely offensive comments.  Two years later in 2020 Young and like-minded far-right grifters formed The Free Speech Union (FSU) with similar aim as OFS to seek to impose mendacious drivel on education and other public institutions.

Johnson’s fines were not authorised and OFS was quiet for two years but today (February 16th 2021) Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced he will appoint a ‘Free Speech Champion’ (FSC).  FSC will be imbued with power to fine universities that “restrict freedom of speech unlawfully,” according to Zoe Tidman in Independent, and anyone who chooses to claim their free speech was denied or restricted by a university will be able to seek “redress.”  The latter power is also the key tactic of FSU via its army of barristers.

Williamson said (quoted in Guardian) “I am deeply worried about the chilling effect on campuses of unacceptable silencing and censoring. That is why we must strengthen free speech in higher education, by bolstering the existing legal duties and ensuring strong, robust action is taken if these are breached” and added what must not happen is that universities decide whose words will be heard and handed down to the next generation and whose will be unheard.”  Universities decide every day whose words are heard; staff guide students via lectures, seminars and recommended reading lists.  It is an important part of teaching.  There are no institutions more able to issue such guidance than universities.  Williamson’s comments were wilful misunderstanding of the role of university education, or indeed of education.

The Tory government is the least able body to oversee how free speech is administered.  On 24th September 2020 it issued guidelines for schools that included instructions on the use of teaching materials:

Schools should not under any circumstances work with external agencies that take or promote extreme positions or use materials produced by such agencies.  Examples of extreme positions include, but are not limited to:

  • promoting non-democratic political systems rather than those based on democracy, whether for political or religious reasons or otherwise
  • promoting divisive or victim narratives that are harmful to British society
  • selecting and presenting information to make unsubstantiated accusations against state institutions

Four days later at a Blue Collar Conservatism conference its founder Tory MP Esther Mcvey said “I think you need to remove all of that [anti-Brexit rhetoric] from the classroom.  I think [it] needs to be removed from the whole educational system.”

As shown above, Tory policy toward education combines claiming to be campaigning for free speech while simultaneously actively denying it.  This policy is a subset of a general policy of seeking to always be in control of the narrative.  Tories are keen that speech space is invaded by perpetrators of free-market racketeering and by dead cat chuckers and they are equally keen that political philosophies opposed to conservative recklessness and destruction are hidden from children and students. 

Control of education is a factor of late-stage fear in the psyche of weak corrupt authoritarian governments.  It sits beside the Tories’ selective approach to engaging with TV and radio broadcasters, its policy of releasing important information late on Friday evenings to its favourite newspaper, its overblown reactions to journalists or editors who dare to challenge government statements or behaviour, the refusal to answer questions in parliament, threats of censorship of social media activism, arrests of journalists and photographers covering political protests, appointment of a peer to investigate Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion, appointment of an islamophobe to review Prevent, threats of removal of funding for heritage bodies that publish research into British empire’s colonialist crimes, the Covert Human Intelligence Sources bill, etc.

University and College Union general secretary Jo Grady said the biggest threats to academic freedom and free speech come not from staff and students, or from so-called ‘cancel culture’, but from ministers’ own attempts to police what can and cannot be said on campus, and a failure to get to grips with the endemic job insecurity and managerialist approaches which mean academics are less able to speak truth to power” and she described the appointment of Free Speech Champions as job creation in pursuit of a culture war.”

Williamson’s complaint about “chilling effect” of “silencing and censoring” was an act.  What is chilling is the Tories multi-tentacled assault on free speech, press freedom, academic freedom, political assembly and online activism.

Richard Murphy from Tax Research UK elucidated Williamson’s plan: “This is, of course, straight out of the fascist playbook.  Create an issue where there is none.  Promote a victim, in this case the racist or misogynist who cannot express their views freely whilst working in a university, and then find someone to blame – in this case those who think racism and  misogyny unacceptable.”

Recommended reading
Nafeez Ahmed for Byline
Richard Murphy
Jo Grady statement
Will Hazell for iNews
Adam Bychawski for Open Democracy

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Tory education policy: Book-burning and indoctrination

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Robert Jenrick, planning permission and statues
John Woodcock investigates Black Lives Matter
Cancelled?

Free Speech Champion: Controlled speech

John Woodcock investigates Black Lives Matter

Former MP John Woodcock, now known as Lord Walney, who left Labour just before an internal investigation was due to start into an accusation against him of sexual harassment, who refused to call a by-election despite no longer being a Labour MP and who was handed a peerage by the Tories after losing his parliamentary seat in 2019 general election, accepted a government role of “independent adviser on political violence and disruption” that will, according to Tory job specification, “guard against those who may seek to use this period of disruption [Covid pandemic and Brexit] to twist legitimate protest and debate into illegitimate disruption to people’s lives.”

Lucy Fisher in the Telegraph described Woodcock’s role more accurately: “Attempts by far-left activists to ‘hijack’ movements including Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion are being investigated in a review ordered by Boris Johnson,” as did Woodcock in his interview with the paper wherein he asserted with clarity that his targets are socialists.

[I will investigate] the way anti-democracy, anti-capitalist far left fringe groups in Britain, like the Socialist Workers Party, tend to have much more success hijacking important causes and mainstream cultural activity than the far right, and the harm that may do.” – Woodcock quoted in Telegraph

Woodcock’s well-paid opposition to socialism defines his political career completely and, by necessity, his presentation is always deceptive, misdirectional, hypocritical and absurd.  His words quoted above included many purposeful misrepresentations.  He also revealed authoritarian intent of the government and its admittance of who it thinks is its enemy.

When an anti-racist or a climate change activist becomes aware that racism or accelerated climate change respectively is a consequence of exploitative capitalism then the latter’s beneficiaries and enablers become filled with fear.  Woodcock chose to insult the intelligence of Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion supporters by claiming any understanding they have of underlying political issues is due to outside influences from “hijackers.”  The “entryism” argument is standard criticism that right-wing and centrist political activists use as a tool to attempt to divide and disarm any political opposition.  

Woodcock admitted his political bias by highlighting the “anti-capitalist” stance of left-wing activists.

Comically, he also highlighted alleged “anti-democracy” characteristic of socialism.  Socialism is, of course, infinitely more democratic than capitalism.  The screaming hypocrisy of Woodcock is brazen: He is an unelected peer, and after leaving Labour he remained an MP, as an opponent of Labour, thus defrauding his constituents of representation.  Woodcock’s contempt for democracy sits alongside his full support for the government of Saudi Arabia including its carpet bombing of Yemeni civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Woodcock wants “important causes and mainstream cultural activity” to be apolitical.  He demands that protest is ineffective and isolated from the causes of the problem.

We must be vigilant against a similar blind spot in Britain to the prospect of progressive extremism – that is, unacceptable disruption or even violence carried out in the name of progressive causes to which the political establishment and large majority of the population have great sympathy, like climate change and racial injustice.  There is clearly a potential for groups to develop into increasingly problematic areas.” Woodcock quoted in Mail

Both Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion are successful.  Woodcock used the word “mainstream” to describe them and he is right, and it is precisely the volume of their success that frightens the employers of the Tories.  His new role is part of the process of trying to limit that success.

Conflation of far-right and far-left activism and hugely disproportionate emphasis on worries about the latter continue to be popular tactics used by Tories and their gofers like Woodcock.  Commission For Countering Extremism was instructed by the Tories to produce a report on violent extremist tactics and the ideology of the far-left with a remit to reveal increasing far-left extremism but concluded, unsurprisingly, that it doesn’t exist.  Woodcock is a grifting unprincipled opportunist with a disdain for democracy.

Recommended reading
Janet Powe for Black Lives Matter
Extinction Rebellion response to Woodcock’s comments
Tim Fenton for Zelo Street

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GB News will be as bad as expected

GB News, chaired by The Spectator’s Andrew Neil, is due to start broadcasting as a free-to-air TV channel in March this year.  It has several investors including hedge funder Paul Marshall.  Marshall’s interest in politics consists of payment to government for decisions that enhance his wealth.  His Hedge Fund Marshall Wace extracted millions from betting on the collapse of British companies as a result of Brexit and it continues to do so.  Marshall had donated £100,000 to Vote Leave.  He made £30,000,000 from the collapse of Carillion whose use for public service outsourcing Marshall had promoted via his book Orange Book he wrote with then coalition minister David Laws. 

Marshall funded think-tanks Legatum Institute and Unherd that are used to guide governments into making decisions that favour hedge funders and other exploiters.  The only reason he invested in GB News was to acquire another outlet for promotion of politics that enable success of his financial operations. 

The target audience for GB News is not the same as Legatum and Unherd who are targetted at journalists, government ministers, other think-tanks and academics.  GB News is aimed at the public.  The different audience means a different style.  The con will be the same: Deceptive presentation of issues and of their respective solutions.  Lies and distractions will be the same but language, focus and emotive behaviour will differ.

Entertainment will dominate.  Provocative verbosity, manufactured controversies, rehearsed shouting matches and gobby, repetitive, incoherent soliloquies will be preferred.  Dumbing down and mendacity will be overwhelming features of GB News. 

Underlying a vulgar style will be adherence to libertarian free-market extremism including unswerving support for destructive Brexit because such philosophy suits disaster capitalists, hedge funders and market gamblers.  GB News will present promotion of such as dishonestly as necessary.  Its tactics will include standard right-wing populist distraction techniques of othering (xenophobia, bigotry and racism) and fake anti-elite perspective. 

GB News needs voices it can trust to deliver the above.  It needs experienced liars and con artists.  It needs presenters, reporters, interviewers and contributors whose moral and ethical characteristics are absent, who are relentlessly repetitive and who are never perturbed by facts, debunkings and logic.  

Preferred experience for prospective GB News public-facing staff

  • At least twelve months working for a right-wing national broadcaster (TV or radio)
  • Frequent appearances on a variety of TV broadcasters’ political programmes
  • Regular contributor to right-wing think-tanks and lobby groups (written think-pieces and speaking at events)
  • Regular column in a right-wing newspaper or magazine
  • Working in business as or for an exploitative company
  • Demonstrable relationships with conservative politicians (not necessarily all Tory)

Lesser experienced considered

  • Host of a popular right-wing online channel
  • Former elected conservative politician (not necessarily Tory)
  • Creator and key protagonist at a right-wing think-tank or lobby group

Useful life experience

  • Tax-dodging and/or offshore account
  • Defendant in a libel case
  • Private education
  • Candidature for a conservative or far-right political party
  • Bankruptcy or close to it
  • Gossip journalism

Necessary skills

  • Verbosity
  • Blinkered focus
  • Ambivalence to difference between truth and falsehood
  • Adeptness at playing the victim
  • Basic acting talent for ham emotions

Absence of the following will be needed

  • Manners
  • Logic
  • Veracity
  • Historical knowledge
  • Didactic reasoning
  • Willingness to listen
  • Social responsibility

Fortunately for GB News there exists an industry of verbal stupefaction, misdirectional and division.  Created by newspapers and think-tanks, advanced by TV broadcasters and honed by LBC and talkRadio, the industry of screaming heads will supply enough staff to fill GB News’ schedule.

The first publicised appointment at GB News was Dan Wootton, previously of The Sun, talkRadio and others and now at the Mail.  Entertainment gossip journalist Wootton’s focus in recent years has been using the existence of (Duchess of Sussex) Meghan Markle as a way of promoting himself and of endearing himself to racists.  Veteran bigoted gobshites Julia Hartley-Brewer, who assumed Covid denial as her hill to die on, and Nick Ferrari are expected to be hired by GB News.  There will be no surprises among its presenters and contributors.  Familiar faces, probably including Allison Pearson, Darren Grimes, Douglas Murray, Andrew Pierce, Tim Stanley, Harriet Sergeant, Toby Young, Kate Andrews, Paul Embery, Isabel Oakeshott and Fraser Nelson, will be preferred to anyone new because GB News will be too fearful to take any risks with an unknown face.  Conservative in politics as well as in appointments.  

(Update, February 18th: Guido contributor Tom Harwood hired by GB News)

A safety first no risk approach will be reflected also in its topics of discussion and its choice of interviewees.  GB News knows precisely its target audience.  There will be nothing exciting or refreshing about GB News.  

This year, to help the marketing of GB News, Andrew Neil’s social media use increased and he twisted his online persona toward that of an ill-informed, dishonest bloviator.  For example, on the pandemic related issue of whether or not schools should open Neil said

hard-left National Education Union opposes schools reopening even if all teachers get a priority jab.  Schools clearly an inconvenience for teachers’ union, since they only get in the way of its real passion — political activism. It would help NEA if we just closed schools forever.” Andrew Neil NEU 

Neil writing in the style of an editorial in The Sun was intended to demonstrate the philosophy of GB News: Anti-intelligence, anti-reason, anti-logic, anti-facts coupled with insipid familiarity.  Fake reactions, fake anger, fake surprise, fake confusion coupled with banal bad acting.  Childish but uninnovative.  An ignorant bore opining the same oft-debunked cod argument day after day.

GB News will be a pit of prepared petulance.

Recommended reading
Mic Wright
Otto English

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GB News will be as bad as expected

Invicta National Academy

Tory philosophy includes the directive that if something is necessary for the well-being of the public then it is the role of the Tories to ensure a few exploiters get rich from it.  Where there is need, there is Tory corruption.

Hundreds of multi-million pound untendered contracts for a variety of products and services for management of Covid-19 pandemic continue to be handed to a cornucopia of businesses, most of which are either recruitment companies or else subcontract all requirements of their contracts to others.  The cost to the public of each contract is significantly greater than costs of products or services incurred by the recipient of each contract.  Huge profits are being taken by businesses with no expertise related to their respective government contracts.  Many of the businesses have connections to Tory MPs and many are donors to the Tory party.  It is corruption on a scale unmatched in the history of the UK.

One consequence of the pandemic is closure of schools and subsequent need for online learning for pupils.  Ineluctably, Tories’ management of out of school education is a shambles.  Laptops provided for children for home learning were infected with malware.  The supplier of the laptops, Computacenter, is owned by a six-figure donor to the Tory party and the cost of each laptop via the contract was twice what it costs normally.

It is the Department For Education’s (DfE) responsibility to ensure children are taught.  In the context of school closures, it is DfE’s responsibility to provide access to online learning for all children.  It failed to do that.  Education Secretary Gavin Williamson failed to do his job. 

Williamson’s incompetence is a smokescreen for corruption.  He is listed as a ‘Supporter’ of private online tutoring business Invicta National Academy that supplies lessons in selected subjects (Mathematics and English) for primary school children.  Sian Norris reported for Byline that Invicta altered its description of people now called ‘Supporters.’  Prior to being contacted by Byline they were called ‘Sponsors.’  All ‘Sponsors’/’Supporters’ and both of the company’s co-founders have close ties to the Tory party and include MPs, councillors and parliamentary candidates. 

Invicta was created because of the need for online learning due to the pandemic.

During the summer of 2020 and as a direct result of of COVID-19, Invicta Academy was set up with the sole purpose of helping the children of the United Kingdom catch up on missed learning.”

Co-founder Stephen James – former Tory parliamentary candidate, Deputy Chairman Political & Campaigning at Folkestone and Hythe Conservative Association, and founder of Conservative Friends of Education –  observed inadequacies of online learning provision during the pandemic and, rather than blaming the culprits (and his good friends) in the Tory government, he chose to blame teachers’ trades’ unions.

The unions are basically saying ‘do not live teach’, and they are not for it because they see it as extra workload for teachers.  It just seems that for every solution, they come up with a problem, which is a real shame.  The profession deserves better than the unions.” Stephen James, quoted in Stephen James in Mail

James’ criticisms of unions were, of course, an invention.  He knew who was to blame but his political allegiances and profit margins for his business motivated him to attack teachers. 

Many of Invicta’s courses appear to be free to use but there is a lack of clarity of funding for Invicta including the reactive decision to rebrand ‘Sponsors’ as ‘Supporters,’ and only initial courses are free.  Its 11+ Preparation Price List stated that 

We are also dedicated to levelling up the 11+ playing field so that children from all socio-economic backgrounds have the same chance of passing the test.  Therefore, a proportion of our 11+ places will always be reserved for children from disadvantaged backgrounds to attend free of charge.  Please visit www.InvictaFoundation.com to find out more.”

The link to Invicta Foundation does not work and the Charity Commission stated that Invicta Foundation no longer exists.

Among Invicta’s financial ‘Sponsors,’ who remain listed as ‘Sponsors,’ are Richard Oldfield, chairman of Oldfield Partners PLL, a global investment business that advises people with money how to increase their wealth via others’ work, and Tory councillor Rory Love.

Williamson, like all of his Tory cabinet colleagues, uses any crisis as potential source of profit for himself, his political colleagues, his business associates, his friends and his family.  That is ingrained Tory philosophy.  It is immutable. 

James is an opportunist and a Tory loyalist.

StephenJames
Stephen James

Final word from children’s poet Michael Rosen:

If the government were serious about home learning during lockdown, they would have hired strings of experts in our fields – writers, scientists, historians, geographers etc and got us to talk directly on zoom to different ages of students for twenty to thirty minute chunks.” Michael Rosen, 25th January 2021

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Invicta National Academy

My Life My Say

Former Tory councillor Stephen Canning used his skills as “a result-driven communicator” to write a glossy CV describing himself as “versatile,” “experienced,” “strong,” “exceptional” and “strong” (again), with a “leading role.”  He “consults across the world on strategic communications” means he is, according to himself, good at advertising and good at persuasion.  If true, such ability says nothing about the veracity of what he communicates.  

StephenCanning

The key facet of Canning’s persuasion is he persuades potential employers that he is good at persuasion.  That is normal for people in his profession.  As he persuades more people to employ him (briefly) as a persuader his CV grows with more examples of employment of persuasion and that persuades more employers to hire him to persuade.  His roles include public presentation – speeches, media interviews, etc. – that help to promote Canning.  Crucially, he never has to prove that what he does is useful to his employers.  His profession is guided by manipulation and is no benefit to society.  

One of Canning’s recent additions to his CV is “trustee” of My Life My Say (MLMS), a cross-party organisation that encourages young people to focus on “traditional forms of democracy” rather than political protests, demonstrations, pickets and strikes. 

MLMS claims it “seeks to represent the views of young people to stakeholders and decision makers at a local, national and international level” restricted by “a mission to empower young people to participate in democracy.”  MLMS “values” are “linked to the people, causes and movements that are pro-democracy and politically progressive.”

At Democracy Cafés young people express opinions and observations, in a civil atmosphere, to MLMS staff who, later, pass on the views to politicians and others.  MLMS’s description of its Democracy Cafés reads like an extract from an archetypal science fiction story of a controlled utopian society.

Democracy Cafés kick off with an icebreaker to create a comfortable, friendly atmosphere.  Then, our trained facilitators gather people around tables and host the session, guiding the discussions at their [respective] table.  The facilitators then rotate, giving participants the opportunity to explore a variety of topics.  The event lasts approximately two hours.

Working together with the London School of Economics (LSE), we have developed a research methodology for these events to ensure that they are more than just a ‘talking-shop’ and we are able to gather invaluable insight to help support decision-making.”

Rotating facilitators guiding discussions in a friendly atmosphere under direction from the (very conservative) LSE is the opposite of young people engaging in politics.  It is smothering of political engagement.  

The ethos of Democracy Cafés assumes a lack of prior knowledge of political issues, and potential solutions, by both participants and facilitators.  MLMS assumes young people attending the events would not have been able to use didactic reasoning to accurately connect cause and effect of political decisions by government and the lives of young people before being facilitated to do so.  If facilitators need a Democracy Café in order to learn about daily issues in young people’s lives then the former are not capable of conveying adequately young people’s concerns to “stakeholders and decision makers.” 

Politicians know how their decisions adversely affect young people.  The politicians don’t care.  Provision of a conduit between young people and government via MLMS facilitators will not change government policy unless a change was already planned.  

MLMS claim there exist other positive consequences for young people who attend Democracy Cafés.

MLMS identified twenty-one different life development and employability skills ranging from leadership to critical thinking, that a young person gains from participating at one of our Café events.  These include public speaking, critical thinking, debating, teamwork and many other key transferable skills, to support and empower young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

A meeting and a controlled facilitated chat in a coffee shop does not transform anyone so fully.  The pertinent mendacious point in the quoted paragraph above is that the acquired “skills” would “empower young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.”  MLMS’s intent is for people to infer that absence of such skills is the reason that anyone from a “disadvantaged background” remains disadvantaged; that is, MLMS absolve the government of blame for societal inequities despite the Tories being responsible for overcrowded schools, for the lack of financial support for ‘A’ level students, for the huge debts incurred during a university degree, for the abject lack of useful apprenticeships, for extremely low minimum wage, for the gig economy, for the lack of job security, for the lack of affordable homes, etc.

The Common Futures Forum (CFF) “gathers young people, world leaders, visionaries, policymakers and academics annually to establish a new approach to economic, political and community life.”  

CCF is another vehicle for politicians and “decision makers” to pretend that they were unaware (before attending CFF) of how their decisions affected young people, particularly financial decisions and climate change decisions.  

CFF provides invaluable insight for decision makers to help improve their knowledge and understanding of youth issues and how policy affects young people.

By claiming prior ignorance, politicians and others restrict themselves to responding only to what is said at a controlled politely facilitated MLMS event.  Thus, they avoid any effective change.

Also at CFF are “lab sessions” that “are designed to test out new and innovative ways of democratic engagement, debate facilitation and discussion tools.”  Useful modes of debate have not been bettered since the first civilisations.  It is unclear why MLMS thinks it discovered “new and innovative” updates on millenia-old practices.

Some of the people at MLMS are sincere about what they do and their reasons for doing so and some of the work MLMS does is useful – for example, explanations of how parliamentary and electoral structures work, but MLMS is not a substitute for understanding how and why governments act as they do and how that impacts on young people, and it is not a substitute for effective political activism.  Its insistence on civility and “we make politics fun” is a form of censorship.

The most prominent endorsement on the MLMS website is I have long been a supporter of MLMS, both the thinking behind it, and the people involved.  Your support will go a long way in building the leaders of tomorrow.”  That endorsement came from Mr. Forty-Five Minutes: Alastair Campbell.

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Robert Jenrick, planning permission and statues

Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick understands his responsibilities to oiling the Tory corruption machine.  In 2020 Tory supporter and former owner of the Express newspaper Richard Desmond saved £45,000,000 by avoiding Tower Hamlets council’s Community Infrastructure Levy because Jenrick fast-tracked Desmond’s planning application for property development on the Isle Of Dogs; the planning permission was granted by Jenrick just twenty-four hours before the levy was applicable.  Two weeks later Desmond made a £12,000 donation to the Tory party.  When exposed, Jenrick reversed his decision but tried to hide any documentation or details of communication about the corruption.  He was forced to release the details.

A few months before 2019 general election Jenrick ensured the Towns Fund was allocated to marginal constituencies and to predominantly Leave-voting areas as a bribe to voters.  His own constituency received money from the Towns Fund.

In January 2021, via a salaried article in tax-dodging Telegraph newspaper, Jenrick stated the government’s intent to protect outdoor statues.  Over the last year statues in public places of racists, colonialists, imperialists and slave traders were defaced, damaged, toppled and, in the case of Edward Colston, thrown into the river.  Destruction of statues is driven by similar but opposite intent as erection of statues.  In any epoch, prevailing political philosophy demands either the construction of an idol of (usually) an historical figure symbolising victory or dominance or its destruction to indicate rejection of the subject of the idol’s symbolism.  Coherent anti-racism in Britain in 2020 encouraged direct confrontation with symbolism of many existing statues. 

Edward Colston in the river

Jenrick’s piece in the Telegraph was worthy of a Guido or Breitbart commentary or a UKIP press release.  Screaming extreme-right Gits such as Laurence Fox, Darren Grimes or Julia Hartley-Brewer would be proud to have written it.  His second sentence included a Soviet Union reference; his argument descended intellectually from that point. 

He lied about who, in previous centuries, decided to erect political statues – he said they were “erected by public subscription.”  Non-political statues were often erected in response to public demand, but almost all political statues in Britain were built and placed in public locations by governments or councils.

Jenrick claimed “previous generations” had “different understandings of right and wrong.”  The erectors of statues of mass-murdering racists and colonialists knew the objects of their idolisation were genocidal criminals with no regard for human life.  Governments, councils and business societies who commissioned statues such as that of slave trader Colston were fully aware that what his type did was “wrong.”  Equally, opposition to the people being honoured with a statue and to the erection of their statue was driven by similar anti-racist, anti-imperialist and humane philosophy as today.  Jenrick’s “previous generations,” on boths sides of the political divide, understood what was “right” and what was “wrong.”  Jenrick’s epoch-dependent claim typified conservative excuses for tolerance of prejudice and racism. 

It is illegal to vandalise, damage, remove or destroy a statue whether the statue is publicly owned or privately owned.  Prosecutions are in progress (January 2021) regarding the dumping of Colston’s statue in the river Avon in Bristol.  That is, laws exist to deal with direct action against statues.  Jenrick’s proposed change to the law would prevent elected councils from making decisions on whether any statue should be removed from public view.  He wants councils to seek planning permission to remove a publicly-owned statue from a public place.  By imposing the requirement for planning permission the government will be able to override any decision by a council.  Jenrick’s record revealed he is the last person to be trusted on assessment of planning decisions.

Jenrick wrote lazy abusive terminology as an alternative to considered argument.  His opponents were called a “flash mob,” “town hall militants,” “a baying mob” and “woke worthies.”  On the other hand, centuries of colonialist destruction and mass murder were dismissed as a “deep, rich, fascinating and yes, often complex, past” and “uniquely rich history.”  Statues of perpetrators were described as “historic monuments” and “heritage assets.”

A deceptive theme Jenrick used was a deliberately false argument that removing statues hides history: “We should not try to edit or censor our past” and “we won’t allow people to censor our past or pretend we have a different history to the one we have.”  He pretended he was concerned about erasure of knowledge of bad British history and claimed removal of statues (and re-naming of buildings and streets) would assist that erasure.  “[Removal of statues would] distort our past rather than educate, inform and unite people.”  The hollowness of the veracity of his argument was obvious.

Jenrick doesn’t care about statues.  His announcement of action to combat automatonophobia was partly to indulge in the basest mode of pseudo-patriotic claptrap as a tool of division and partly to usurp the authority of elected councils as well as general time-wasting of news space to lessen coverage of Tories’ dual calamities of Brexit and Covid-19 pandemic management.  He is another performing clown and is as corrupt as he can get away with.  He is crass.

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Robert Jenrick, planning permission and statues