Tories preparing to stop political opponents from standing in elections

In December 2017 Paul Bew concocted and published a report under instruction from the government with the intent of preparing the groundwork for an extreme attack on democracy.  Presented as response to “intimidation of MPs” one of the suggestions in the Bew Report was that people who opposed the government could be barred from voting in elections in Britain.

Electoral law can overlap with and complement the criminal law, such that offences with criminal sanctions can also involve sanctions under electoral law. These sanctions are specific to the election process, such as being barred from voting for a certain period, or removal from the electoral register.” (p 60, section: Electoral Law)

On the following page Bew said

The government should consult on the introduction of a new offence in electoral
law of intimidating Parliamentary candidates and party campaigners.” (p 61, box)

That “consultation” has just begun. 

Tory Minister for the Constitution Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, quoted in a BBC report, said “intimidation was putting talented people off standing for election,” and “the measures being consulted on would protect voters, candidates and campaigners so they can make their choice at the ballot box or stand for public service without fear of being victims of misinformation or abuse.” 

The BBC report also claimed that a Cabinet Office spokeswoman said the length of the ban on convicted “abusers” standing for or holding public office would be a part of the consultation.

To clarify, the Tory proposals are:

  • Stop political opponents and critics from voting
  • Stop political opponents and critics from standing in elections against the Tories

That was always the intent of the Bew Report and of preceding debates in parliament on “intimidation of MPs.”

A consequence of the introduction of laws to enact the above proposals would be a significant fall in the volume and the intensity of criticism of Tory acts, statements and policies.  Of course, that diminution of criticism and inspection is precisely what the Tories are aiming for.  Threats of being barred from voting or from standing for office is sufficient to attain the reduction in accountability that the Tories want and need.

This is not the first time that the Tories have sought to greatly reduce inspection of their behaviour, particularly during election campaigns.  They created the infamous gagging law to stop charities revealing the savage effects of Tory policy.

It is also not the first time that the Tories have sought to restrict voting.  They intend to expand voter suppression trialled in this year’s council elections.

The Tories claim that their proposed changes to the law are a response to “intimidation of MPs.”  But, analysis of the Bew Report and analysis of the debates in parliament about such “intimidation” show that the justification for any changes to the law is manufactured and contrived:

Analysis of Bew Report
Analysis of debates on intimidation of MPs

After publication the Bew Report did not get much attention.  Understandably, a long-winded repetitive government report is not an appealing read.  But, the proposed attacks on democracy and on the ability to examine, criticise and hold to account the government are deeply disturbing and need to be understood in their intent and their consequences.

ChloeSmith

Chloe Smith has form.  Earlier this year she pressed criminal charges against a disabled constituent who had criticised the government’s persistent attacks on people with disabilities. 

Her contempt for democracy was demonstrated via her misuse of a parliamentary credit card that was suspended fourteen times in three years for.

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Tories preparing to stop political opponents from standing in elections

Own the words and own their definitions

Elmo

In political discourse certain words and their definitions are mini soundbites.  They are hooks onto which an argument can be attached and they are guides to direct the perspective of the opponent or the observer.  

New words and new meanings for existing words acquire a majority consensus for their respective definitions quickly which are difficult to alter.  Many of these definitions are specifically designed to hide or to distort. 

For example, alt-right” was invented as a tool to humanise and to downplay extreme-right racists, populist” was given a new definition that sought to obscure the extreme-right nature of the politics to which the word is applied, “gig economy” was invented as a jaunty neutral description of low paid, insecure, unsafe, unregulated employment with no statutory rights, and moderate” was given a new political definition that sought to describe nothingness as a viable entity while simultaneously implying anything else was immoderate.

There has been a recent fightback against new definitions being dominated by the right or the centre.  “Centrist dad,” “melt” and “gammon” have attained popularity alongside old favourite “Blairite” and its neighbour “bitterite.” 

It is vital that socialists continue to try to direct the definitions of politically charged words and phrases and eschew others’ definitions. 

Also, it is important to replace directional words or phrases with alternatives, with exactly the same meaning, in order to change subtly the emphasis of the description.  

An example of positive word replacement is to use “unprivatise” as an alternative to “renationalise.”   The words mean exactly the same but they can direct the listener or reader in different ways.  “Renationalise emphasises the act of a state taking control of a service forcefully and, thus, could be perceived negatively whereas “unprivatise” emphasises the removal of something and helps to posit the thing to be removed as negative.  “Unprivatise a public service” is a much more positive sounding action than “renationalise a private business” and it is a much more accurate description of the action.

When a socialist party becomes the government in Britain it will face obstructions to its aims.  These will include actions by High Court and Supreme Court, decisions by unelected quangos and procedural restrictions in parliament.  The deceptive phrase normally used for these obstructions is “check and balances” which depicts them as positive and harmless and also implies that an elected government cannot be trusted to govern without higher (unelected) powers interfering.  A better phrase to use to describe the obstructions is “legacy obstacles.”  This phrase highlights the obstructive nature of the non-democratic bodies and emphasises their historical nature, and, thus, implies that they are removable.

One of the most successful phrase replacements in modern British politics was “poll tax” replacing “community charge.”  This simple substitution helped to force changes to the tax and showed how powerful ownership of words is.

Own the words and own the definitions.

Related blogPolitical Glossary.

Own the words and own their definitions

Centrists Assemble! Prop Up The Imploding Tories

Parliamentary summer recess arrived at the end of yet another week of debacle and relentless lies from the Tories, and the Progress mob and their fellow centrists became ever more fearful of how the Tories’ calamities could help Corbyn to become prime minister soon.

Tories Collapse

The previous week had been a chaotic mess and the clustershambles continued into last week. 

May’s carefully constructed Brexit plan had an inevitable and rapid demise as she instructed her MPs to accept amendments from the ERG Tories in a parliamentary vote that completely changed the aims of the plan and, of course, made the plan unacceptable to the EU.   

Tory chief whip Julian Smith instructed MPs to break pairing arrangements with opposition MPs including LibDem MP Jo Swinson who was on maternity leave; Tory chairman Brandon Lewis was her pair and he, after receiving instructions from Smith, ran gleefully to the voting lobby.  Caught on camera and after receiving criticism from many directions including from other Tory MPs, the probability of the “honest mistake” excuse evaporated meekly.  But, later in the week, at a PR stunt near the Irish border, Theresa May glibly repeated the “honest mistake” lie in a live press conference.

There was enough time for May to be questioned by MPs at a parliamentary liaison committee hearing.  Her performance there redefined ‘abject’ and ‘pathetic.’  It was an excruciating shambling mess.  Basic questions put to her went unanswered or else were met with easily-checkable lies. 

Centrists Assemble

Given the collapsing Tories and the possibility of a general election, it would be absolutely the right time to ensure that Labour is prepared as well as it can be to take advantage, surely?

Equally, it would be absolutely the wrong time to reactivate oft-rebutted smears and to begin a series of partial resignations, surely?

But, fear is one of life’s strongest motivators.  Centrist Herberts – LibDems, liberal media and the Progress mob – are horrified by the growing possibility of a left-leaning Labour government.  These frightened creatures fear socialism so much more than they disapprove of the Tories or UKIP or Brexit or anything.  

All-consuming fear exposes real intent.  Pragmatism, circumspection, intelligence, honesty, professionalism and integrity are suffocated by fear. 

Friend of tyrants and arms dealers John Woodcock resigned from the Labour Party to dodge an investigation into his behaviour but decided not to stand in a by-election and so is currently stealing a seat in parliament; multi-million pound tax-dodger Margaret Hodge staged some public verbal abuse and slander at Jeremy Corbyn but was careful to do so inside the protection of parliamentary privilege; Guardian columnist Jane Merrick, who had joined Labour after Corbyn was elected leader because she wanted to take advantage of McNicol shenanigans that were devised to try to fix the second leadership election in favour of Owen Smith, decided to resign from Labour with a “very heavy heart,” and self-confessed run-of-the-melt TV comedian Hal Cruttenden copied the cut-up Labour membership card stunt to promote himself.

CutUpCard

The most sweaty trembling demonstrations of fear of socialism are always those of the Progress mob.  Responding to their fear, they have put a brick on the accelerator, closed their eyes and hoped their rush headfirst leads somewhere coherent. 

John Mann claimed “there is a continuous roll call of brilliant Jewish activists resigning from the Labour Party today [July 20th]” with no proof of numbers, brilliance or activism; Richard Angell said “Corbyn and his Momentum-controlled NEC went out of their way to ignore Jews this week!” –  a random insult and slander without any foundation; Melantha Chittenden, when not enthusiastically quoting hard-right economic libertarian and notorious libeller Stephen Pollard, said “I certainly don’t want the people who voted against the IHRA definition representing me on Labour’s NEC. In fact, I don’t want them anywhere near power. The best way to challenge anti-Semitism in the party is to vote against those who create an environment that allows it to flourish,” thus making clear her opposition to a Corbyn-led Labour winning an election, while stating that opposing the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism makes someone into an anti-Semite, which is a knowingly stupid and libellous assertion; Ian Austin echoed Chittenden’s illogic: “They [NEC] have adopted a position on antisemitism that allows members to be antisemitic,” and he also described the aforesaid Pollard as “completely right” and declared “I am ashamed to be a member of the Labour Party,” and Joan Ryan contorted facts, logic and reason with a Trump-like exclamation: “The NEC has decided to prioritise the rights of those who wish to demonise and delegitimise the state of Israel over the struggle against anti-Semitism.”

Duplicitous Wes Streeting, a character with more faces than a refurbished Big Ben seen through a kaleidoscope, brazenly congratulated himself on being aware of the tactics that he and the Progress mob utilise.  In Streeting shoots his own foot he said

At Monday’s meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party, I warned that three things would happen should the NEC fail to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism including the full list of examples.
Firstly, Jeremy Corbyn would be denounced as an antisemite leading an antisemitic party. Secondly, Labour MPs like me would be accused of whipping up a row on antisemitism to undermine Jeremy Corbyn. Thirdly, the Jewish community would experience an antisemitic backlash by those accusing them of a politically motivated attack on the Labour Party. I warned that this would be a row that benefits precisely no one; a costly row that the party cannot afford, particularly at a time when the Tories are on the ropes. Every single one of those three predictions have come to pass.”

By “warned” he meant “threatened.”  Streeting is correct to say that his fellow Progress MPs would call Corbyn anti-Semitic.  “A costly row that the party cannot afford, particularly at a time when the Tories are on the ropes” is also true and that is precisely why Streeting, Progress and the rest are campaigning as they are.  The fear of complete Tory implosion followed by a Corbyn-led government is their greatest fear and combatting a left-leaning government is the reason Progress exists. 

Streeting’s decision to describe the centrist Machiavellianism accurately and chronologically is a standard tactic of wrong-doers whereby they describe exactly what they are doing as if it is out of their control rather than entirely an account of their own deliberate actions.

Centrists have assembled and they are trembling.

 

 

 

Centrists Assemble! Prop Up The Imploding Tories

Boris Johnson’s speech to parliament on his resignation

BorisJohnsonStares

Transcript of Boris Johnson’s speech to parliament on July 18th:

“I recently resigned as, er … <checks notes> … Foreign Secretary.  Really?  Foreign Secretary.  I don’t remember doing that.  Well, whatever, I recently resigned from something because the prime minister’s latest fudge about Brexit, due to be rejected by the EU very soon, did not satisfy the disaster capitalists for whom I work. 

“Yes. it didn’t please them at all.  The only option that would satisfy those nice slavering, salivating, extremist economic libertarians would be a complete break from all those nasty EU laws, regulations and checks that are a hindrance to absolute exploitation.  How on earth, or anywhere else, is an honest thief supposed to make millions in unearned, untaxed wealth if there are bureaucrats in Brussels telling them that workers need reasonable hours of work, and holiday and sick pay, and that people need edible food and even healthcare?

“I have campaigned short and softly for … <checks notes> … Brexit for some time.  It has been a passion for me.  Ever since I wrote two essays a few weeks before the referendum, one in favour of staying in the EU and one in favour of leaving, and hawked myself to the higher bidder, I have worked occasionally to support leaving the EU.  I have been happy to meet some of the most odious twerps imaginable and stand stupidly in front of buses and banners, sometimes both, displaying my support for actions that will harm the majority of the British people but enrich a small elite of vagabonds.

“My education at the Eton machine taught me that society – the people – are there to be exploited, by whatever means necessary and available.  I was also taught at length how to be deceptive, to obfuscate, to cheat and to lie relentlessly.  It is a fine college doing fine work.  Ask my esteemed colleagues David Cameron or Jacob Rees-Mogg or that data fellow Alexander Nix.  Happy days.  I have always sought to bring what I learnt at Eton into my political life and a trail of con-tricks, confidence tricks and millions upon millions of wasted public money will forever stand as a testament to my schooling.

“But, I digress.  On the matter of my resignation, the time had apparently come when I had to make a dramatic gesture.  To be honest (for a change), I don’t see what’s different myself, but, apparently, others think there’s to be a leadership challenge and that I should go for it.  Sounds like a laugh.  Is Murdoch’s little gimp Gove going to stab me in the back again?   He’s not laughing.  Anyway, I had to resign because the prime minster’s plan was insufficient or something, even though she gladly accepted all the amendments that the ERG Tories added, meaning she’d already scuppered her own plan and I needn’t have resigned.  Gove’s laughing now.  

“My leadership challenge, which doesn’t exist, has the full backing of several of my fellow Tories, and you all know how reliable they are when they make proclamations of support prior to a vote, and the backing of seven times failed parliamentary candidate Nigel Farage, of two-shirted red-faced raving white supremacist Steve Bannon and of Donald Trump who said he would support me … <checks notes> … wouldn’t support me … <checks notes> … would support me; yes, well, leave that one as a ‘maybe.’

“My indecision, obfuscations, permanent confusion, incoherence, dead cats and wibble have got me a long way in my political life, much to the distress of those who voted for me and those who didn’t, and I intend to continue to use these skills in whatever way I accidentally do.

“Finally, I would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Foundation and their daughter Legatum; <taps nose> … you know what you did.  I want to give my full support to my successor … <checks notes> … Jeremy Hunt.  What?  Seriously?  Bloody hell, he’ll privatise foreign.  Er, I’m sure he will continue my good work, whatever the hell that was.  Oh, can someone do something about that lawyer that keeps calling about a women in Iran?  Buggered if I know what that is about. <farts>”

Boris Johnson’s speech to parliament on his resignation

John Woodcock: Coward

Anti-socialist MP John Woodcock, facing a Labour Party investigation for alleged sexual harassment, has resigned from the party but has chosen to not stand down as an MP and to avoid a by-election.

His decision to leave Labour rather than contest the allegations against him was blatant cowardice and means his name will never be cleared of the accusations. 

His decision to refuse to stand down as an MP and not fight an ensuing by-election as an independent candidate was another display of abject cowardice.

Legally, he does not have to stand down as an MP, but to choose not to do so means he is currently stealing a parliamentary seat.  The voters in his constituency voted for Labour and were inspired to do so by the new direction Labour has taken under Jeremy Corbyn; they did not vote for an independent who is opposed to Labour.  Even the Tories who switched to UKIP a few years ago chose to stand down as MPs and fight by-elections.

Woodcock’s cowardice epitomised the lack of integrity throughout the Progress mob.  Their failures and their losses continue and their reactions to these failures are becoming ever more desperate, dishonest and disgraceful.  Woodcock’s latest stunt showed utter contempt for the disciplinary procedures within Labour, procedures that the Progress mob have been happy to abuse against supporters of Corbyn, and it displayed contempt for democracy and for parliament due to his refusal to stand down as an MP.

JohnWoodcock2
John Woodcock, hard at work

However, none of his behaviour was surprising.

Related blogProgress

John Woodcock: Coward

Margaret Hodge has a good reason to oppose Corbyn

Labour MP Margaret Hodge is determined to remove Jeremy Corbyn from his position as leader of Labour.  Usually, she has vocalised her opposition in the form of accusations of anti-Semitism aimed at him and his supporters, including a verbal attack face-to-face with Corbyn inside the House of Commons within deliberate earshot of journalists after a debate on the Tories’ Brexit bill yesterday.

In other news, if Corbyn or a like-minded colleague of his is Labour’s leader when the party wins an election then the party’s plans for tackling tax avoidance will have a significant effect on the behaviour of companies like, for example, Stemcor that pays tax equal to 0.01% of its profits.  Stemcor is registered on the notorious tax-dodging island of Jersey.  Coincidently, Margaret Hodge has over a million pounds worth of shares in Stemcor, which was founded by her father and is run by her brother, shares that routinely pay “dividends” of over £50,000 per annum to her.  

jersey
Tax-free Jersey

Thus, she does have a very good reason to fear the consequences of a Corbyn-led Labour government.

Related blogBritish Tax Havens Are Acts Of War Against British People

Margaret Hodge has a good reason to oppose Corbyn

Trump and Putin: Treason, apparently

Donald Trump serves himself, his immediate family and the wealthiest 0.1%.  That has been his objective throughout his tenure as president.  Anything else is just rabble-rousing to keep his supporters happy and onside, while he steals their healthcare, raises their taxes, raises prices and destroys their environment.

Two words that have no meaning whatsoever to Trump are ‘patriotism’ and ‘treason.’  His US nationality is by accident and a convenience, nothing more.  He has no connection to the USA other than financial connections; he certainly has no tax connections.  For him, being president, alongside being a great ride, is a tool to further enrich himself, his associates, his crooked family and a few other wealth terrorists.

Yesterday, US Democrats, many journalists, and some US Republicans accused Trump of treasonous behaviour after his press conference with Russia’s president Vladimir Putin.  During the press conference Trump suggested that he might be more likely to believe Putin rather than the US intelligence services regarding Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.  He has said similar many times before.  For him to repeat such comments yesterday was not surprising; indeed, it would have been surprising if he hadn’t.  Trump is an idiot.  Among his many faults is that he has no concept of diplomacy and none of circumspection.  But, his opponents acted all giddy, frenzied and shocked at his comments.

“Treason,” they cried dramatically.  Yes, Trump is treasonous, because he has no interest whatsoever in the American people and he wants to make millions upon millions for himself at their expense.  He is taking everyone for a ride.  However, a few comments when sat next to Putin, remarks that Trump has made many times before, are not interesting, significant or important.  It is just a pantomime.  And, it is a pantomime wherein Trump’s opponents have parts to play; their role is to act shocked and aghast and faint with a sigh, while simultaneously defending the US intelligence services whose activities over many decades have been criminal, murderous, politically motivated and extremely corrupt.  So-called political opponents of a Republican president lining up to protect CIA and FBI is absurd.

Trump – a buffoon, an oaf, a nurtured racist, a multi-million dollar tax-dodger, a persistent bankrupt, a relentless liar, a sexist, a thief, a moron – is, ultimately, enacting policies that are typical of the Republican party.  Some of his opponents are challenging him properly, but the most visible Democrats and the professional hacks are behaving like characters in a bad Victorian novel.

VictorianFaint

Trump and Putin: Treason, apparently