Tory MP Andrew Percy and the Yorkshire Floods

Tory MP Andrew Percy sent me this nice message on facebook – a concoction of lies, misdirection and abuse.  It is a reply to a brief comment I left where I pointed out the Tory cuts to flood defence spending and accused Percy of self-promotion.  (Note that, after sending the message, Percy removed access to commenting on his facebook page.)  

“Keep your stupid comments to yourself you nasty piece of work. Flood defence funding has increased and is at record levels but you don’t care about the facts do you, just making snide comments.

More is being spent than ever before. Now if you want to talk records, let’s talk the last Labour government who were warned after the 2000 floods to massively increase spending. They didn’t increase it as they were told to, but it went up. Then, as in previous periods, it started to fall until we were hit by further floods in 2007 so it went up again.

Sadly, if you want a sensible debate this rise after an event and then reduction in later years as the focus moves on is something all governments are guilty of.

You get difference year on year as some schemes come to fruition and others don’t but under this Government over the course of the last parliament we spent more on capital for defences than the previous Labour government did. This parliament it will be higher still.

Instead of seemingly enjoying the flooding people are suffering you could do what I’ve been doing and get out there and help people. Instead you, who has no expert knowledge at al, is taking to social media to tell people that the reason they are flooding is because of cuts. Well. For one, spending is greater now and two, even if there had been cuts, it would be far too early to say if that had had anything to do with what we are seeing.

Truth is EU legislation making water course management more expensive and more difficult, mixed with governments of all colours not heeding warnings, mean we aren’t as well protected as we might like to be.

You aren’t interested in that though just spreading your bile. Shame on you, you make me sick.”

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Tory MP Andrew Percy and the Yorkshire Floods

Sir Lynton Crosby

International propagandist and election campaign strategist for right-wing political parties, Lynton Crosby, received a knighthood in the New Year’s honours list.  

Crosby has operated in many countries assisting election campaigns.  Most of his work has been in Australia, Canada and UK.  

Crosby campaign strategy

Crosby is very limited intellectually and so he sticks to a simple method that utilises the following tools:

  • Distraction
  • Lies
  • Fear

Given that the political parties Crosby promotes are always right-wing conservatives, it is vital the public are distracted from analysing anything that these parties have done or are planning to do, as almost all such acts and plans will be for the benefit of only a small minority of people.  Crosby achieves this by instructing the party’s spokespersons to indulge in repetition of meaningless soundbites and platitudes in all media interaction and to randomly point the accusatory finger of blame at opposition politicians whenever probing questions are asked.

Nowhere in the brief Crosby receives from his employer does it ever state that his work needs to have even the slightest relationship with the truth.  Thus, lies are an integral part of his advice.  He advises the politicians to lie constantly about their performance as a government, including gross manipulation and deliberate misrepresentation of statistics, to lie copiously about their plans post-election, including making claims they have no intention of fulfilling and choosing to not mention some of their more objectionable plans, and to lie about their opponents’ achievements, plans and political stance.

Crosby knows that the parties he works for do not have policies that will appeal if fully analysed, and he does not have any cognitive skills that could be used to promote the parties’ policies coherently; therefore, his choice of tactic for persuasion of the electorate is fear.  He invents an enemy and then piles on the fear.  His invented enemies are, typically, people from other countries, people with different skin pigmentation, people who follow a different religious faith, people with disabilities, people with non-heterosexual sexualities, people who are unemployed, etc.  Crosby instructs the politicians to pile on the fear, with no limit on how bigoted the language and how fraudulent the argument.

Crosby hates people and hates democracy

Crosby makes a grand living from advising politicians how best to con the electorate.  There is an abject lack of ethics, of morality and of soul in his profession and its execution.  For him, the democratic process is merely an occasional obstacle and the people, the voters, are an audience to con, fool and defraud.  Crosby’s strategy epitomises Tory “values.”

Sir Lynton Crosby

Cameron’s Christmas Message: Same Objective As Trump

Airhead soulless PR guy David Cameron, the current prime minister of the UK, instructed his team of dutiful inhuman advisers to cobble together a politically charged “Christmas Message.”  The full message is printed below (reference numbers inserted by myself), followed by line-by-line comment and a preçis of the intent of the message; the intent differs only slightly from the main political thrust of the hateful statements of US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Cameron’s Christmas Message

(1) If there is one thing people want at Christmas, it’s the security of having their family around them and a home that is safe. But not everyone has that. (2) Millions of families are spending this winter in refugee camps or makeshift shelters across Syria and the Middle East, driven from their homes by Daesh and Assad. (3) Christians from Africa to Asia will go to church on Christmas morning full of joy, but many in fear of persecution. (4) Throughout the United Kingdom, some will spend the festive period ill, homeless or alone.
(5) We must pay tribute to the thousands of doctors, nurses, carers and volunteers who give up their Christmas to help the vulnerable – and to those who are spending this season even further from home. (6) Right now, our brave Armed Forces are doing their duty, around the world: in the skies of Iraq and Syria, targeting the terrorists that threaten those countries and our security at home; on the seas of the Mediterranean, saving those who attempt the perilous crossing to Europe; and on the ground, helping to bring stability to countries from Afghanistan to South Sudan.
(7) It is because they face danger that we have peace. And that is what we mark today as we celebrate the birth of God’s only son, Jesus Christ – the Prince of Peace. (8) As a Christian country, we must remember what his birth represents: peace, mercy, goodwill and, above all, hope. (9) I believe that we should also reflect on the fact that it is because of these important religious roots and Christian values that Britain has been such a successful home to people of all faiths and none.
(10) So, as we come together with our loved ones, in safety and security, let’s think of those who cannot do the same. (11) Let’s give thanks to those who are helping the vulnerable at home and protecting our freedoms abroad. And let me wish everyone in Britain and around the world a very happy and peaceful Christmas.”

Line-by-line analysis

(1) True, not everyone has that: People made homeless by UK government policy; families split due to housing policy of UK government; families split due to border controls of UK government; people jailed in violation of their human rights in countries supported by UK.
(2) There are thousands and thousands of families whose homes in Yemen have been destroyed by British weaponry sold to Saudi Arabia and UAE, whose air forces operate with direct assistance from British military personnel.
(3) Does Cameron include the Christians in Gaza, West Bank and Israel being attacked by IDF?  Did he mention the Christians in China to the president of China when the latter came to the UK to finalise the purchase of British state assets?
(4) Yes, people made homeless by the bedroom tax and welfare sanctions that are targeted at people with disabilities and those with terminal illnesses.
(5) The government continues to deliberately weaken the capabilities of the NHS and gives it away piece by piece to its hedge fund tax-dodging friends; it treats carers and the people they care for with absolute disdain.
(6) I don’t notice the British air force bombing the oil transportation from ISIS to Turkey.  Please do explain the word “stability” to the people of Afghanistan and of South Sudan.
(7) The “Prince of Peace?” Don’t tell your arms dealer mates about him.
(8) When did Britain become a “Christian country?”  I didn’t get that memo.
(9) So, I look forward to a member of the royal family marrying someone of the Muslim faith, or Jewish faith or Sikh.  What?  Are you saying that isn’t allowed?
(10) So, as the “we” Cameron talks about is only those who do have safety and security, then his message is not for those who are homeless (due to government actions) or hungry (due to government actions) or denied access to the UK (due to government actions); Cameron’s “we” and “they” draws a clear line.
(11) The people helping the vulnerable at home are doing so despite all the obstacles that the government puts in their way.

Intent of Cameron’s message

The purpose of Cameron’s message is to assist the invention and maintenance of a differentiation between an imaginary British christianity and an otherness.  The message tries to emphasise a clear distinction between “we” – the British christian – and the other – non-christian in a far off land.  The depiction of christians in foreign hostile countries who need the protection of the British war machine, and that same machine protecting Britain from foreign otherness invasion – all is standard imperialist claptrap straight out of nineteenth century propaganda.

Of course, Cameron couldn’t give a princess’s turd about the welfare of christians, or any other faiths, either in Britain or abroad.  His motivation is the continuity of the welfare system for the arms industry and a desire to make sure that people in Britain look elsewhere for enemies rather than looking in Downing Street, Whitehall, Palace of Westminster or Buckingham Palace.  That is, his purpose is similar to that of, say, Donald Trump in the USA.  Republican party nominee Trump’s language and directness is clearer than Cameron’s, but both seek to distract the public by blaming all their respective countries’ ills on a foreign otherness.  Trump’s greater and unpleasant bluntness could also be described as just more honest than Cameron about his intent.

 

 

 

Cameron’s Christmas Message: Same Objective As Trump

CapX

(Website: CapX)

“CapX was founded to make the case for popular capitalism: now more than ever, it is vital that the case is made for markets, innovation and competition, and for policies that deliver for the masses as well as the elites.”

CapX is the pro-capitalist think-tank that houses the Screaming Heads And Professional Trolls who have been rejected by other pro-capitalist think-tanks.  (Analogously, there is an animalarium in Borth, Wales that houses zoo animals rejected by other zoos in the UK.)  CapX is a drab celebration of dampening capitalism and exclusivity, written by contributors who have not mastered a good balance between quantity and quality.  

An example of CapX trolling
Sarcastic troll Oliver Wiseman banged his head on his keypad several times and produced some nonsense about Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell.  In Wiseman on McDonnell the “writer” pretended to compare the actions of the then Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling during the Northern Rock Bank scam with actions that McDonnell might take in a similar but hypothetical scenario.  Obviously, the intent of the article was to cast doubt on McDonnell’s competence and responsibility because Wiseman fears McDonnell might not genuflect at the altar of banking decadence and theft.  Conversely, Wiseman praises Darling for stealing billions from the people of Britain to feed a reckless bank.  It is a formulaic article that re-writes history, conflates “the country” with financial gangsters and reeks of fear.

CapX staff who might pop up in the media

CapXStaff
Tim Montgomerie and Robert Colvile

Links to brief descriptions of other right-wing think-tanks

CapX

Right-Wing Con-Tanks

Right-wing think-tanks are tools to assist capitalist gangsters by promoting an enabling political perspective and attempting to direct public debate.  Each consists of a core group of like-minded persuaders who produce literature, speak at conferences and partake in debate hosted by the mainstream media.  Funding for the think-tanks’ expenses and the fees for the participants is provided by capitalist entities.

Given that the objective of any such think-tank is to try to provide and force through opinion and agenda that is wholly biased in favour of an exploitative minority at the expense of the public, it is vital that a think-tank presents itself deceitfully and that its members’ often hide their association with the think-tank when speaking on its behalf in public debate.  Nowhere in the entire history of the written word have “independent” and “grassroots” been used as frequently and as dishonestly as they are in the introductory descriptions of right-wing think-tanks and almost as frequent is the use therein of the word “freedom,” used, without exception, to mean the opposite of what freedom is.  The self-congratulatory descriptions claim that the think-tanks are defenders of the public’s interests and that they fight against an undefined enemy.  That is a simple, unsubtle deceit.  The truth is that these think-tanks’ objective is the opposite.

Right-wing think-tanks and the media

An isolated group of talking gimps of exploitative capitalism would have little impact if it was restricted to conference presentations, literature and a website.  A mainstream media presence is a necessity.  Indeed, media airtime is the real location of a right-wing think-tank’s operation.  The main purpose of the literature and lectures of each think-tank member is to provide a CV that assists invitations to participate in TV and radio debate.  

The nomenclature of modern journalism and broadcasting defines an ‘expert’ as someone who has an extensive knowledge of a topic, who has well-tuned analytical capabilities and who has an open inquiring independent mind.  Think-tank members’ knowledge is very selective, their analytical capabilities are stunted and their normal mode of communication is based on misdirection, obfuscation, lies and a focus on driving home a specific unproven viewpoint; that is, a think-tank member is the opposite of an ‘expert,’ she or he is just a PR person.  But, it is important that a think-tank’s spokespersons are described as ‘experts’ when they appear on TV and radio or have an opportunity to write an article in a newspaper because the ‘expert’ description adds intellectual weight to what is said and enhances the false claim of independence.  The recruitment of media people and the CV of literature and lectures help to persuade the media hosts to use the ‘expert’ description for think-tank members.  To further enhance the (spurious) legitimacy of the ‘expert’ tag, think-tanks recruit learnèd academics as salespeople for media interviews; these academics may be well-educated but their contributions are deliberately as simplistic and as misinformed as the other think-tank members – the only reason for their recruitment is to use their respective academic titles and associations with respected universities as aids to bolstering the claim of ‘expert.’

Below are links to brief overviews of the respective agendas of some right-wing think-tanks based in the UK including the identity of some contributors who may appear in the media.

 

 

Right-Wing Con-Tanks

Progress Online

(Website: Progress Online)

“Progress, Labour’s new mainstream, aims to promote a radical and progressive politics.  We seek to promote open debate and discussion of progressive ideas and policies.”

A year ahead of Labour’s successful 1997 election, Progress was created as an internal pressure group with the objective of ensuring that a Labour government did not stray from a right-of-centre capitalist-friendly stance.  War-happy Blair and laissez faire financial deregulator Brown did not need much persuasion from Progress.  They and their merry breed of centrist Herberts were happy to be a continuation of Major’s banality and to pass the unprincipled baton of administration onto Cameron (and Clegg).  

Progress retreated into the arena of in-house chat room until Jeremy Corbyn was elected as Labour leader.  Then, an explosion of bile, rancour and peremptory abuse erupted from the terrified Progress mob, so scared are they of the possibility of a Labour government with a left-of-centre core.  Alongside relentless attacks on Corbyn’s (and McDonnell’s) every word, gesture and decision, including those said and made many years ago, Progress repeats frequently the claim that a left-leaning Labour is less electable than a more centrist Labour, despte the fact that the latter Labour type lost the last two elections precisely because it was not an alternative to the Tories.  As Corbyn’s popularity increases steadily, the members of progress have been reduced to whining about abuse and ridicule directed at them by the former’s supporters.

Watch out for these Progress PR people on TV and radio, Richard Angell and Alison McGovern.

progressmembersred

Several current and recent Labour MPs contribute to the Progress Online website, most notably

  • Simon Danczuk
  • Michael Dugher
  • Dan Jarvis
  • John Woodcock
  • Wes Streeting
  • John Mann
  • Ian Austin

Each of the above offers nothing more than a decayed potpourri of bitterness, spite, condescension and patronising advice to the new Labour leader and his supporters.  Progress is defined by the gracelessness of defeat.

Links to brief descriptions of other right-wing think-tanks

Progress Online

Tax-Payers’ Alliance

(Website: Tax-Payers’ Alliance)

“Welcome to The TaxPayers’ Alliance, Britain’s grassroots campaigning group dedicated to reforming taxes, cutting spending and protecting taxpayers.”

The Tax-Payers’ Alliance (TPA) is PR tool for corporate customers and high-earners that focuses on campaigning in the media for reduced taxation for them and for reductions in fiscal spending on vital public services.  Complicit media and politicians, who share TPA’s objectives (though sometimes reluctant to admit so), are happy to allow TPA members to be cast, frequently, as ‘independent experts’ on issues related to tax and to public spending.  To differentiate itself from other think-tanks that promote assaults on necessary public-spending and assist the elite minority of exploiters, the TPA pretends to be a defender of typical middle- and low-earner tax-payers, a pretense that is very transparent.

In a section on fiscal “debt” the TPA makes the following hilarious comment

“Public Sector Net Debt now stands at £1.3 trillion.  That means the government has borrowed £1.3 trillion from the taxpayers. Over £20,500 is now owed to every single citizen in the UK.”

 BezYouWhat

This “debt” that the government accrues is definitely not money borrowed from the people of Britain, or of any other country.  Indeed, this so-called “debt” is an imagination of the gangster banking and financial worlds.  For the TPA to claim that this “debt” is owed to the people of Britain reveals both the TPA’s intrinsic dishonestly and its abject stupidity.

Case study: TPA reaction to tax-avoidance in Panama

The recent leak of tax-avoidance details linked to Panama has featured voluminously in the media.  Self-appointed ‘experts’ have had their respective agents working as assiduously as accountants to acquire a few minutes on a news channel or a cobbled-together incoherent article on a newspaper’s website.  There has been much (often ill-informed) analysis of the mechanics of tax avoidance, its morality and its use by prominent politicians.  For a think-tank that claims to represent tax-payers, the TPA’s media presence has been almost unnoticeable.  One or two of its usual suspects have uttered platitudes here and there but it has been remarkably circumspect on this issue.  

Eventually, a statement appeared: TPA Panama statement.  After a cursory comment expressing disapproval of criminals hiding stolen money, the TPA explains that people misunderstand what tax havens are because “clearly, some just use the term [tax haven] pejoratively rather than to meaningfully categorise jurisdictions,” and that “the amount of tax avoidance that actually takes place is often hugely overstated.”  In common with all con-tanks, the TPA invents a phrase in order to purposely misrepresent the topic being discussed: They are not “tax havens,” they are “low-tax jurisdictions.”  One such fraudulent phrase is not enough for the TPA; they also use “international financial centres.”  Quoted extensively throughout are James Hines who is a respected academic analyst of international corporate taxation, but Hines’ objective analysis is presented by the TPA as if it is supportive of tax-dodging.  To add a comedic facet to its statement, the TPA also quotes Gordon Casey, a “Managing Director of a hedge fund consultancy based in the Cayman Islands.”  That description is worth repeating in bold: Managing Director of a hedge fund consultancy based in the Cayman Islands! The statement concludes by asking the UK government to do absolutely nothing about the UK’s tax havens because “if the UK were to place, for example, Jersey under direct rule and subject it to the UK’s tax regime, its unique selling point would be lost and its economy destroyed.”  

If anyone was unsure of the TPA’s real role then the aforesaid statement on the Panama leaks should clarify exactly where it stands: A cheerleader for the wealthy elite.

Watch out for this lot on TV.

tpastaff
Andrew Allum, Alex Wild, Dia Chakravarty and John O’Connell

Links to brief descriptions of other right-wing think-tanks

Tax-Payers’ Alliance