Advance – Another hapless centrist ‘party’

Liberal Democrats continue to be irrelevant, rightly forever condemned by the Clegg/Cameron alliance, and the opponents of Corbyn in Labour continue to fail and to diminish.  Consequently, some opportunists deduce, deliberately, that a new centrist party is needed.  This deduction is more than false: It is a con.

The two themes that define the intent and strategy of these snake oil salespersons are:

  1. Pretend to be opposed to Tory enabling of free market annihilation of society.
  2. Use opposition to Brexit as a tool to attack Labour.

There is little or no difference between the Tory destruction of society and the true intent of any of these self-ascribed centrists.  Variations on a theme.  The latter pretend to be different to acquire support from people who are opposed to the Tories; simultaneously, they conveniently distract attention from genuine opponents of Tory criminality.

Opposition to Brexit should focus on the Tory government’s shambolic and lazy progress and on its intent to use Brexit as a tool to further destroy the NHS, human rights, free speech, workers’ rights, tenants’ rights and access to justice while enabling further mass tax avoidance for the wealthiest.  Conversely, centrists prefer to object to anything that Corbyn or Starmer say, or don’t say, or might say; these complaints never match the facts of Labour’s plans or statements.

Wait a minute Mr. Postman

Advance and Grenfell
Created by Annabel Mullin, a former Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate, Advance follows the normal centrist template described above.  She invented Advance to take advantage of focus on Kensington (and on its Tory council) following the Grenfell Tower fire.  Her website, Advance, explains how the plans for the “party” (primarily for the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea) have no substance and how they refrain from bold, necessary and effective action.

In Advance education Mullin claimed that Advance wants to “engage young people in the life of our community so they feel they have ownership” because “too many have lost their lives or been scarred for life by gang related violence.”  She avoided blaming savage Tory cuts (locally and nationally) to state education and avoided blaming the lack of availability of full-time properly paid employment and apprenticeships for school leavers.  Advance’s solutions are “buddy schemes,” “mentoring schemes” and “identifying internship opportunities.”  There is a haughty tone to how she views the young residents of Kensington.

In Advance housing there was no mention of council house building.  Instead, there was a woolly proposal about part-private newly built affordable homes.  The only mention of dealing with the thousands of empty properties in Kensington that are owned by absentee investors as a money-laundering tactic, and who pay no tax in the UK, was a proposal for higher council tax for them.  (These houses and apartments should be acquired for use with no compensation for the absent tax-dodging “owners.”)

A letter sent by Mullin to the Tory-edited Evening Standard, Advance letter on Brexit, included typical anti-Corbyn nonsense:

This is a sign that Labour is being controlled by Momentum and that it is protecting Jeremy Corbyn from the embarrassment of having to take a position on the most crucial matter of our generation. It is an affront to democracy and an abdication of Labour’s duty as the Opposition.”

Such stupidity and misrepresentation have been given the peremptory responses they deserve many times.  Mullin’s comments revealed a paucity of cohesive argument.  

Her twitter account and the party account are packed full of links to right-wing journalists attacking Labour and nonsense about Russia being to blame for everything.  There is also this gem:


Retreat, retract
Suspicion exists that Advance is a one person operation.  Hollowness of ideas matched by hollowness of membership?  However small it may be, Advance was able to acquire TV interviews to accompany its “launch.”  A triumph of PR over substance?  It is another limp centrist invention bereft of analyses, of ideas and of intelligence.  The centre of British politics has collapsed to a singularity.  This is welcome news.

Related Links
Other Advance site
Out, out brief Cable!
Centrists’ Fear Of Socialism Grows
Jo Swinson explains how the Lib Dems are utterly pointless
On Lieberty

Advance – Another hapless centrist ‘party’

UK right-wing con-tanks

The relationship between free market think-tanks and the Tories is embedded and corrupt, and it is often unclear which node of the relationship is the wagging tail and which is the dog.  

Some think-tanks were created by politicians – Centre for Social Justice is an invention of Iain Duncan-Smith, some were created by politicians’ advisers – Tim Montgomorie (Centre for Social Justice, Unherd, CapX) was a speech writer for William Hague and Iain Duncan-Smith, some are entirely a forum for politicians’ contributions – Policy Exchange, and some are populated by lackeys of international wealth terrorists – Adam Smith Institute, Tax Payers’ Alliance, Institute of Economic Affairs, Centre for Policy Studies, Legatum Institute.  

Whatever the origin of a free market think-tank, or its age – some are decades old, the purpose of its relationship with the Tory government is a combination of keeping the government in line to serve the exploitative financial elite coupled with presenting the government’s plans as falsely as possible to con the public.  The image below encapsulates the think-tank/Tory government partnership.


Free market think tanks are keen abusers of language.  At no time in the entire history of the written word have “independent” and “grassroots” been used as frequently and as dishonestly as they are by right-wing think-tanks to describe themselves.  Their use of the word “freedom” is always the diametric opposite of the meaning of freedom.  

Free market think-tanks are funded by large corporations and financial institutions; they are effectively part of the PR teams and, simultaneously, the sales teams of the latter.  However, that relationship is hidden by the largest and most active think-tanks.  Transparify Report on Think-Tank Funding is a good account of funding transparency and it revealed that right-wing think-tanks are very secretive.

Transparify table showing transparency of think-tank funding

Every mainstream British TV channel, radio station and newspaper uses free-market think-tanks to supply “experts” for group debate, analysis and opinion pieces.  Sometimes these voices are presented by the media as corporatist perspective on the topic being discussed but often they are cast as “independent” voices.  The latter scenario is fraudulent and deceitful; the media outlet hosting the think-tank member is sometimes party to this deceit, sometimes not.  If the media outlet is unaware of the fraudulent independence claim then sheer laziness coupled with misplaced urgency to get someone to comment are the causes of the error.  The think-tanks know that most media outlets are hurried and desperate to get a talking head on quickly to compete with other outlets, and the former have nurtured contacts with gullible staff so that there are always think-tank voices ready and available.  The BBC is particularly culpable with the ease on which the free market think-tanks are able to get themselves airtime as false “independent” voices.  (see BBC News: Balance and Bias)

Think-tank hopper Tim Montgomorie on BBC TV

Below are links to descriptions of free market think-tanks based in Britain including some examples of how they concoct narratives to help the Tories to con the public.  Some of their respective members who may appear in the media are named.

UK right-wing con-tanks