Stalwart Progress MP Chris Bryant dug a new nook of absolute bonkery down in the dank depths of the anti-socialist smear-hole this week. He chose to pretend he thought a description of Progress member Mike Gapes as ‘gammon’ was an insult with anti-Semitic undertones.
Even a Blairite numpty like Bryant knew that the comment was not meant as anti-Semitic and he knew that there is a definition of gammon as
“Middle-aged white overweight balding Englishman who expresses right-wing views angrily causing his face to redden.“
Nineteenth century author Charles Dickens was credited as the creator of that particular use of ‘gammon.’
When challenged by patient observers, Bryant declined to own his absurdity and continued with his nonsense: Bryant shenanigans.
Bryant knows he has no future as a Labour MP. Whenever the next general election is called – soon, hopefully – Bryant will not be a Labour candidate. He could disappear before an election. His future is as a think-tank contributor, quango member or consultant; all such jobs are well-paid but ethically worthless.
Without a meaningful political future, Bryant does not need to care how daft or petulant he behaves. This ‘gammon’ incident is unsurprising.
The Unwin Window Named after the entertainer Stanley Unwin who was a master of deliberate gibberish, the Unwin Window, a companion to the Overton Window, is the breadth of political verbiage that is not considered too idiotic or nonsensical from the perspective of prevailing popular opinion. The closer to the centre of the Unwin Window any comment lies, the more likely it is an intelligent informed remark worthy of inspection, debate and analysis.
If the Unwin Window is stretched then not only does gobbledygook creep into its range but also its previous extremities move inward from the edge of the window and, thus, acquire more legitimacy. If Bryant’s absurd remark about ‘gammon’ is allowed to be within the Unwin Window’s range then other stupid comments appear less dismissable, relatively.
For example, this week David Aaronovitch claimed that an extremist left-wing group planted a bomb in Warrington in 1993 in which two children died, and he claimed Jeremy Corbyn supported this group. (The IRA had admitted planting the bomb.) Such a claim by Aaronovitch is barely within the boundary of the Unwin Window but, if Bryant’s absurdity is allowed in, then Aaronovitch’s assertion is further in and, so, assumes more (spurious) legitimacy.
A greater quantity and greater stupidity of gibberish can be expected from the opponents of socialism.
(All schools mentioned in photo captions below are private “independent” schools)
In news, current affairs and sport, the percentage of privately educated presenters, reporters and interviewers at the BBC is much higher than the percentage of people who attended a private school in the UK. If all visible BBC employees were competent and intelligent their respective school backgrounds would not be important. However, some of these posh boys and girls are well-equipped to do their jobs, some are just about adequate and many are inadequate.
For any job in any profession, the school an applicant attended should play no part in her or his suitability for the post. But, in some BBC departments, the best candidates for a job have not always been the successful candidates because the names of the schools on the CVs and/or applications have played their part.
The BBC has woolly excuses for its recruitment bias. It claimed (correctly) that a good education is preferable; however, the percentage of privately educated people with university degrees is lower than the percentage of privately educated successful candidates for public BBC roles. A good degree and some good relevant experience are useful components of a CV; the school attended should carry no importance.
The voice How rarely is a real regional accent heard on BBC news and current affairs? Occasionally, a Morningside accent is heard, or the softest of Welsh of Irish tilts. But, Geordie, Liverpudlian, Glaswegian, Mancunian, Brummie, the great variety of Yorkshire and Lancashire accents, West Country, Cockney and many other London accents are all absent among the presenters of national news and current affairs programmes.
Bizarrely, even on BBC Radio 5 Live’s sports coverage there are a plethora of posh voices pretending to have knowledge of sport.
Why is attendance at a fee-paying school a necessity to speak on the radio about football, rugby, tennis, motor-racing, etc?
Is it the voice that appeals to the recruiters at BBC sport? Decades ago, there used to be a phenomenon of “the BBC voice” for broadcast on radio and TV. This voice was accentless and spoken clearly. Today’s privately educated 5 live voices sound as one, a screechy harsh sound that is unkind on the ears; it is definitely not similar to the traditional “BBC voice.”
At private schools pupils are taught how to dominate conversations via the use of loud voices, rude interruptions, distractions and vacuous verbosity. These characteristics are displayed in job interviews because, for some jobs at the BBC, such behaviour is considered to be a necessity for an employee in a public-facing role. These anti-skills obscure a lack of talent, a lack of knowledge and a lack of intelligence.
Political position Intelligent pupils at any school will develop whatever political position that suits them. Less intelligent pupils are more likely to be persuaded by the education they receive. Pliable students can be easily led.
For many employers who are seeking employees with a restricted political outlook, there would be more confidence that a private school will have ensured that an intellectually challenged candidate will fit the required restriction. There is greater political safety for an employer choosing a privately educated candidate for a job.
Understandably, the BBC, in constant fear of the Tories’ threats to destroy it, would favour a less capable but more politically trustworthy candidate for a BBC job over a better-skilled but more politically independent and informed candidate.
Consequences The skewed policy of recruitment has the obvious consequence of exclusion. The exclusion exists not only in recruitment but also in promotion.
A second consequence is an unnecessary variation in the quality of the presenting and reporting. Much of the BBC’s news and sport presentation is very good but too great a quantity is very pedestrian, contentless and inept.
The special courses at the private schools on how to talk incessantly in a pseudo confident loud voice are useless when critical analysis and imparting facts and information are needed. It’s like teaching a dog a single trick which is to bark loudly.
Changes? There is no need for government legislation or imposed quotas to solve the biased recruitment policy at BBC news and sport. All that is needed is more intelligence by the corporation in its recruitment. Being impressed by the name of a school is a stupid reaction.
It is an issue that can be fixed easily without fuss.
Tax-dodger, bigot, rabble-rouser, expenses-fiddler, liar and conman Nigel Farage – a veteran of SEVEN failed attempts to be elected to UK parliament and an MEP with one of the worst attendance records in the European parliament – has stuck his fame-hungry offshore accounted noseinto British politics again: He announced his intention to prance around the UK in a bus to promote a hard Brexit. The mediocre ex-commodities broker and current puppet of disaster capitalists chose to express doubts about Theresa May’s commitment to a no-deal Brexit and he has been encouraged – and doubtless amply rewarded – to be a town crier again to con the public into supporting a disastrous event.
The only beneficiaries of a hard no-deal Brexit would be a tiny elite of financial gangsters who would vacuum up the remains of catastrophe, at cheap prices. These filthy wealth terrorists are salivating at the prospect of the mayhem and destruction resulting from a monstrously stupid decision to waltz away from the EU abruptly without any plan. They intend to meander among the debris, pocketing land, property and public services at fire sale costs, and buggering off to their tax safe havens.
The disaster capitalists need an absence of public analysis of the consequences of a hard Brexit. They want all knowledgeable and unbiased experts to be pushed aside and ridiculed. They want clowns, confidence tricksters and shamans to dominate media coverage and to drive discussion. They want to keep the public blisslessly ignorant. Farage is one of their grotesque little gimps who has the gob to chatter incessantly and who has the necessary aversion to integrity, honesty, ethical behaviour and concept of society. He is one of their hurlers of dead cats.
Farage could be ignored. He could be driven around in his silly bus, he could pose for a few photos and he could meet a handful of gurning twerps, and be given no airtime or newspaper inches at all. He could be treated as the gormless, unpleasant ogre that he is and receive the universal snub and the contempt that he deserves. That is what would happen if the media was peopled by intelligent, balanced and skillful journalists and reporters who knew what was important and what was fraudulent tripe.
Will the media scramble to smell the malodorous emissions from the rancid racist rectum? Recent behaviour suggested they will. Newspapers, radio and television are obsessed with news as entertainment and any distraction from informed discussion is always given prominence. Farage possesses the anti-intellect persona loved by producers and editors, and his constructed lack of self-awareness means he can lie continuously and repeatedly despite easy valid debunking of the nonsense he spouts. He is a pantomime character and a political fraudster.
For almost a decade, wilful compliance by the media has simultaneously fed on Farage’s hollow, corrupt rhetoric and fed it. A duonanistic tragedy has mocked debate and stifled analysis. Promulgation of circular uninformative verbosity has helped to enhance ignorance and deter inspection. If Farage is farting all over TV, radio and newspapers then worthy debate and informative analysis are hidden by his scatological cloud. The media’s complicity in the Farage-clouding has not been accidental. Will it continue?
Yesterday (9th August) the Israeli airforce bombed civilian neighbourhoods in Gaza. Among the deaths were a pregnant woman and her young son. The BBC website covered the incident with this headline:
That headline was uncontroversial, accurate and balanced.
Later in the day, the headline was changed to:
The second headline attempted to provide an excuse for air strikes on civilian areas. It tried to present the air strikes as justifiable punishment.
After the second headline was published, the Board Of Deputies expressed approval of the alteration:
The BBC’s cowardice is clear. A false, malicious and fraudulent complaint was made because the first headline was accurate and appropriate, and the BBC capitulated meekly. Such cowardice is incompatible with the BBC’s charter and an embarrassment.
The quick capitulation by the BBC demonstrated an abject lack of confidence in its own capacity to make informed intelligent balanced decisions.
Last week (August 2018), Steve Bannon, former Breitbart chairman, former Trump advisor and present racist white supremacist, had a nice cosy chat with Murdoch gimp Michael Gove and old Etonians Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson. It was a meeting to share stupidity, bigotry and venality. Bannon wanted some help to create a series of extremist fascist states in Europe and the three Tory twerps wanted to get some advice on what tactics and strategy they can get away with.
Looming Brexit encouraged Bannon and his Tory friends to get together now. The latter three intend to do all they can to ensure that disaster capitalists make hay out of Brexit; equally, Bannon believes that Brexit’s calamitous consequences will be fruitful opportunities to rabble-rouse, organise and instill fascism on a grand scale.
The extreme-right is generally composed of two almost distinct groups: 1) Lumpen-headed foot soldiers with unbending, unchallengeable belief in the veracity of their views, and 2) financial beneficiaries and their servants (politicians) who direct the first group via misrepresentation and propaganda, and then reap the awards. For example, an EDL street thug and an old Etonian, respectively.
Steve Bannon, as an extreme-right activist, is both a believer in the politics of racism and fascism and also an influential leader and organiser with connections throughout governments, media, business and think-tanks. He straddles both of the above groups. Unlike Donald Trump, who is in it for the money for himself and his family, Bannon really believes what he thinks, says and promotes. Unlike street thug Tommy Robinson, Bannon has the influence to persuade people in power.
It is unsurprising that Rees-Mogg, Gove and Johnson were keen to meet Bannon. Their view of him is of someone who has succeeded in a support role to a politician. For this trio, Bannon’s use of racism, fascism and extreme dishonesty is not problematic, just tactical. The Eton machine taught Rees-Mogg and Johnson how to treat the world as a competition bereft of ethics, morality and integrity. Johnson’s racism has never been hidden by him. Rees-Mogg has been delighted to acquire a fanbase of dim-witted racist thugs.
Soon after meeting Bannon, Boris Johnson wrote a newspaper article wherein he made a few childish comments about Muslim women’s clothing, written in the style of Katie Hopkins. Most likely, these racist asides by Johnson were suggested by Bannon as a means of testing what could and what couldn’t be said and what would be the reaction and from whom. Johnson, a moron, would have been confident to follow Bannon’s instructions without ado; Bannon is someone who Johnson reveres as an intellectual. Of course, Johnson didn’t need encouragement to be racist.
The reaction to Johnson’s racism has been mixed. The right-wing media have used it as an opportunity to have debates about whether or not his racism is racism. The centrist media and politicians have managed to force out a few words of criticism before returning swiftly to whatever point they are trying to make about Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism. The media have been reluctant to use the word “racist” to describe what Johnson said, and have pitched their articles as people complaining about Johnson rather than his wrongdoing being the focus. Socialists have condemned Johnson. Prime minister Theresa May has, predictably, said absolutely nothing.
Thus, Bannon’s experiment with Johnson’s utterances could be construed as a success for both of them. The condemnation of Johnson’s racism has come only from the left, a section of the political landscape that Bannon has no interest in, and the media have used the racism as an entry point into a general discussion that questions whether racism is racism.
Steve Bannon cannot be dismissed as an opportunist, like Trump, nor as a barely human yob, like Robinson. Bannon occupies all parts of the extreme right circus with considerable manipulative skills and a strong knowledge of propaganda.
The least scary threat in the history of democracy, a history that is two millennia old, is the threat that some Labour MPs and the Lib Dems will form a new centrist party. This flaccid threat, never openly stated, elicits no fear in its intended targets because such a party would dissipate within seconds of its launch. It would have no political position and nothing to offer.
Even the most blinkered and most bubble-encased Progress and Lib Dem MPs know a new centrist party is a ticket to oblivion. Equally, they know that the supposed recipients of the threat to form such a party – the Labour left – are not at all perturbed about the possibility of one being created. Indeed, there is encouragement from labour’s left for the creation of a centrist party in order to hurry along the departure of some annoying MPs.
If the formation of a new centrist party is a certain failure, what options do the self-penned “politically homeless” MPs and activists have in their centrist dilemma?
They have three options.
Option 1: Continue the disruption They could stay where they are, keep the MP’s salary, keep their access to media and continue to disrupt, both in parliament and particularly within the Labour party. They could continue their relentless, spurious attacks on Corbyn and his colleagues to try to ensure that neither he or any of his like-minded colleagues ever becomes prime minister. That is their top priority. Anything else is secondary and a long way behind. If Brexit leads to an absolute disaster, as seems likely, then at least the centrists would be keeping Corbyn away from power; if Johnson, Rees-Mogg or Gove replaces May and the Tories lurch even further to a Trump-like racist freedom-crushing extreme-right then at least Corbyn would not be in power. Keeping a tendency toward socialism away from government is the centrists’ focus. Nothing will divert them from that aim and they prefer any other type of government.
Option 2: Steal parliamentary seats John Woodcock, a good friend of and employee of the arms industry, is currently stealing a parliamentary seat. He “resigned” from Labour but has chosen not to call a by-election. His decision to refuse to contest a by-election is understandable cowardice because, clearly, he would lose. His constituents elected a Labour MP. Right now, they do not have a Labour MP. Woodcock’s disruptive colleagues might choose to follow his example and resign from Labour but stay in parliament unelected. Their departure from Labour would be welcome. Their theft of parliamentary seats would be an unsurprising demonstration of their opposition to democracy.
Option 3: Do one They could just sod off. Resign from Labour and step down as MPs. Whether or not they stood in any ensuing by-elections would be irrelevant because they wouldn’t win. Away from parliament they could console themselves by writing incoherent, inconsistent fact-averse columns for think-tanks and newspapers or set up secretly-funded talking shops and lobby groups. They could do that, but that decision would be a relatively honest decision with integrity, and honesty and integrity are not qualities associated with the Progress mob.
Grubby violent crook Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (mortgage fraud, assaulting a police officer, travelling on a false passport, etc.) was released from a jail sentence recently via a technicality. He had been jailed for contempt of court after physically harassing witnesses and defendants on several occasions at different courts.
Whether he should or should not have received a custodial sentence is of interest only to legal nerds. His racist supporters used the conviction as an opportunity to grab media airtime. Intelligent humane people snorted in derision.
As soon as the racist twerp was free, liberal centrist media wrestled with each other to be the first to prostrate at Yaxley-Lennon’s feet and beg for interviews. He was happy to oblige, of course. But, why would the allegedly anti-racist section of the media be so keen to offer free airtime to such an extremist and such an idiot? Their fraudulent excuse was “free speech.” That argument would contain the smallest possible smidgen of validity only if characters like Yaxley-Lennon had a single opportunity to speak followed by a deluge of jacksons, but he and his ilk have had many such opportunities. There is no longer any valid reason to hand airtime to them and, thus, the free speech excuse is a lie.
Free speech is not the reason that centrist media gave Yaxley-Lennon exposure. Two motivations have driven their interest in him.
1)Ratings Disgusting, dim-witted, bigoted scum on the extreme-right can give a temporary boost to the viewing figures for TV news shows. Even the non-commercial BBC is very aware of ratings. Ratings trump (no pun) integrity and ethics, always.
2) Shift the Overton window rightward Normalisation of the extreme-right pulls the Overton window rightward with a resultant shifting of the position of the imaginary centre to the right. The knock-on effect is that any view that is left-of-centre appears to be closer to the left extremity. This false perception aids the rhetoric that seeks to describe the Labour leadership as far-left.
TV and radio news, current affairs and political debate shows in Britain are increasingly geared toward entertainment and there is an absence of true objectivity. The executive staff, producers and presenters do not have the intelligence or knowledge to differentiate between analysis and propaganda; they are easily (often very willingly) guided by professional lobbyists employed by hard-right think tanks; they do not understand how balance works. The absence of courage, independent thought and confidence is palpable.
A consequence of the above is that a racist street thug is treated as a serious interviewee.
Newspaper hack and talking head Stephen Pollard is determined to prevent a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn. Some observers have been puzzled by the relentlessness and ferocity of Pollard’s chosen stance toward Corbyn. Are there valid reasons for the deliberate tone and intent of the attack?
Corbyn and his front bench colleagues’ views are well-known. If in government, their probable policies on NHS, wages, tax, welfare, privatisation, housing, defence, education, etc. can be predicted with confidence. On such issues, and others, how much does Pollard’s political stance differ from that of the Labour leadership?
Pollard’s views can be seen easily from the many pieces he has written for various newspapers over several years.
All italicized quotes below are the words of Pollard.
In Pollard on NHS Pollard expressed his glee that patients could be increasingly forced to provide extra payments for vital treatment. Written ten years ahead of the NHS’s 70th birthday (this year) Pollard stated enthusiastically “the introduction of co-payment will lead, inevitably, to a blurring of that divide, as there will be no reason in principle why patients will not be able to top up the care they receive from the health service. By the time of its 70th birthday, the NHS will not look remotely as it does as it celebrates its 60th.”
In 2004 Pollard co-wrote a pamphlet for right-wing think-tank Centre for New Europe that tried to paint the NHS as a NAZI-style project. On Beveridge’s plans for the NHS, devised during the second world war, the pamphlet stated “significantly, after the second world war, two papers marked ‘secret’ and providing a detailed commentary on Beveridge’s plan were found in Hitler’s bunker. One ordered that publicity should be avoided but, if mentioned, the report should be used as ‘obvious proof that our enemies are taking over our national-socialist ideas.’ The other provided an official assessment of the plans as ‘no botch up’ and ‘a consistent system of remarkable simplicity, superior to the current German social insurance in almost all its points.’ “
In Pollard on Unions Pollard launched an angry rant against the power of unions to protect workers’ jobs and money. “It’s easy to think that these [rail] strikes are based on nothing more than greed, bloody-mindedness and union bosses’ desire to throw their weight around and show they’re powers in the land. It’s easy to think that – because that’s exactly how it is.”
Yes, union power and strength is vital. Pollard doesn’t like that power and he expressed his gleeful support for further undemocratic attacks on workers by the (Cameron-led) Tory government. “Yes, they can throw their weight around and cause chaos. But with a Government committed to restoring sanity, that can only last for so long. In the 1980s, Baroness Thatcher changed the law to neuter another bunch of militants and hand unions back to their members. Now David Cameron and Sajid Javid, the Business Secretary, are going to deal with the latest bunch of militants.”
Pollard displayed full unconditional support for employers to be free to exploit employees without effective organised resistance led by unions. He criticised the relationship between the Labour party and unions, conveniently forgetting that the Labour party was created by trades’ unions.
Interestingly, in the above 2015 article, Pollard claimed “Mr Corbyn, of course, is unelectable.” If he still thought that now, Pollard wouldn’t be spending so much energy criticising Corbyn.
In more Pollard on unionsPollard said “rail unions RMT and Aslef are calling strike after strike over entirely spurious ‘safety’ issues.” Unions, staff and passengers have proven repeatedly that safety concerns are valid. Pollard’s dismissal of them exposed his political stance bereft of objective analysis.
The rail system is owned by gangs of charlatans and thieves. Tax-payers, passengers and employees are fleeced continuously. The rail unions are trying to fight back against the gangsterism as much as they can, but Pollard pretended to see only unions playing games. “In reality they [unions] are striking for the sake of striking. All three of the unions involved in these two disputes – CWU, Aslef and RMT – take the public for idiots. Because when you strip away their ludicrous explanations, this is what it’s really all about.”
In the same article Pollard dismissed the CWU’s concerns about the future of the postal service. “There is no threat to the Post Office,” he proclaimed before expressing his delight with some selected statistics. Two points jumped out from Pollard’s analysis: 1) He was delighted that the service has been reduced, and 2) he had no understanding, or claimed to have none, of what a public service is supposed to be. “You really don’t need me to tell you that it’s good news that the Post Office is no longer a basket case propped up by the taxpayer.” Pollard’s figures on the postal service failed to include all the buildings and infrastructure that were stolen by the privateers.
Pollard returned to the rail network with an attack on Aslef. “Not one employee will lose his or her job over Southern Rail’s plan to introduce driver only operated (DOO) trains,” he said randomly. “Aslef says, in desperation to find a cause to justify its strikes, that DOO trains are unsafe.” People being attacked or falling ill on trains without guards are not a problem for Pollard.
“This [strike action] is what the hard Left do. Playing political games with the public services on which we all depend is the core of their ideology. And they’re not alone. Guess which politician is backing them? Yes – you guessed right. Guest speaker at last week’s Aslef Christmas dinner was Jeremy Corbyn.”
Pollard’s closing comments in the above article revealed his economically hard-right political stance very clearly and demonstrated without doubt why he vehemently opposes the politics of Jeremy Corbyn and his colleagues:
“So what do we do about this madness? As so often, the answer is provided by Ronald Reagan. In 1981 President Reagan sacked 11,000 striking air traffic controllers when they refused to return to work. At a stroke it destroyed the union wreckers, showing they would no longer be able to get away with it. We now need equivalent action. That will almost certainly mean legislation barring strikes in essential public services – and then sacking those employees who refuse to work. As a first move, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling should strip Southern Rail of its franchise and replace it with an operator who will face down the unions. The time has come to put the union militants in their place.”
In Pollard on welfarePollard attacked the centrist Fabian Society for daring to suggest that vicious Tory cuts have caused child poverty to rise. Summoning the verbal dexterity of Donald Trump, Pollard said “let’s be clear about this. Even if every figure in this report [by Fabian Society] is true and every calculation flawless, it’s rubbish.”
As DWP minister and via his Centre For Social Justice, Iain Duncan-Smith orchestrated Social Murder with his vicious cuts to a variety of benefits. The cuts purposefully caused homelessness, destitution and death, with the greatest effects suffered by people with disabilities. However, Pollard said “to those on the Left, Iain Duncan Smith is a bogeyman.”
“He [IDS] is portrayed as some kind of lunatic Right-winger who enjoys nothing more than stamping on the poor. But the caricature, along with the premise of yesterday’s Fabian report, says far more about those who make the attacks than they do about IDS.” What the “attacks” on IDS say is that his critics have qualities he lacks: Humanity, generosity and a sense of society.
Pollard continued with the deceptive analysis favoured by the economically hard-right. This included the familiar false claims that many people prefer to be on benefits and that enough available jobs is insufficient to reduce unemployment. He noted that the number of people claiming benefit had reduced but failed to mention that many were in zero-hours jobs or sub-minimum wage jobs or had simply been sanctioned to starvation.
His disgusting analysis included all the usual vindictive and fraudulent presentations of arguments about unemployment that are popular with hard-right think-tanks and their puppet politicians including “dependency culture,” “cycle of dependency” and “it’s no longer an attractive or even feasible option to opt for a life on benefits.”
In Pollard on child benefit Pollard emphasised his contempt for people receiving benefits and reused the directional language mentioned above.
“Welfare has become, for many, not a helping hand in times of need – the help in need that almost everyone agrees we should offer to the vulnerable and those in temporary difficulties – but an alternative way of life. Welfare is thought of as an entitlement, so that those who choose not to work to support themselves can rely on the rest of us to pay their way. And that is not just financially reckless; it is morally reckless, promoting an entirely new and warped model for society itself.”
Pollard’s bigotry and dishonesty shone in a diatribe against child benefit. Child benefit, and its predecessor Family Allowance, has existed for decades. It is not a new benefit. Also, high earners benefit hugely from procreation via income tax cuts. But, Pollard choose to ignore those facts.
“We tell parents that the rest of us will simply hand over our hard-earned income to them every time they choose to have children. Now it’s certainly not for the state, or anyone else, to tell us how many children we should have. I have two, but it’s a matter for me and my wife if we want to have any more. But just as no one has the right to tell me how big my family can be, I equally don’t have the right to expect the rest of society to hand over cash to me if I decide to have more children. And that is doubly true if I am not even working, and am already living on benefits at the expense of the rest of society.”
Clearly, Pollard has no concept of society, or of humanity. “Capping child benefit is a modest change, that will save money and change behaviour,” he concluded. The change in behaviour that Pollard spoke of appears to be social eugenics.
Kissing Murdoch’s backside
Stephen Pollard is a big fan of media mogul Rupert Murdoch. In Pollard on Murdoch he said “the real Murdoch is a man who has done more to democratise news, sport and leisure than any of his opponents.” “Democratise?” That’s an odd way to describe something that is a product (Sky TV channels) that is bought.
He praised the two cheeks of the same ordure-packed backside, The Times and The Sun: “The Times, which Murdoch has for many years not merely propped up but lavished with care. And, yes, the Sun —sneeringly dismissed by bien pensants but a newspaper of genius in the way it presents stories with flair and accuracy.” “Accuracy?” Ask the families of the ninety-six victims of Hillsborough about The Sun’s “accuracy.”
Pollard’s hatred of trades’ unions’ ability to protect workers’ jobs and rights was displayed again: “It is ironic that one of the causes of the hatred for Murdoch is his role in breaking the print unions in the Wapping dispute. But their corrupt and damaging grip on Fleet Street had to be broken if newspapers were to have a future.”
Arms industry profits
Pollard backed Donald Trump’s assertion that some NATO members do not donate enough tax payers’ money to the arms industry. In Pollard on NATO he claimed to fear an imminent Russian military attack on a NATO member. He tried to justify his fear by mentioning the Novichok attack in Salisbury, which was aimed at British spy Sergei Skrypal, and he described the “annexation” of Crimea as “brutal.” It was the most non-brutal “annexation” in the history of the world.
Pollard’s brief historical analysis of the “cold war” and beyond was laughably stupid. “The Nato concept of an attack on one member being treated as an attack on every member was pivotal in keeping the Soviets at bay.” Firstly, a “Soviet” is a governing assembly not a person; secondly, the USSR invaded many countries between the dates of NATO’s creation and the demise of itself, and the members of NATO invaded many countries during that time. The exclusivity of NATO membership has always negated any claims it has had to being a force for good.
“Our feeble response to the invasion of Ukraine sent a bad enough message to Putin.” The conflict in Ukraine began due to interference from NATO members who encouraged a non-democratic change of government, which has led to a Ukrainian government full of far-right extremists.
Pollard had a particularly uninformed perspective on Eastern Europe: “Russia still smarts from the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and believes those countries that turned to freedom, such as Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia are naturally part of the Russian sphere of influence.” The Warsaw Pact’s relationship was with the USSR, not Russia. The countries Pollard named have no desire to be in a “Russian sphere of influence.” Like Sarah Palin and her Russian air force jets seen from Alaska, Pollard has confused geographical proximity with political interaction and listed some countries that he saw on a map close to Russia.
The depiction of Russian troops on the verge of driving across Europe and rocking up in Kent was a daft idea during the “cold war” and even dafter afterward, and was a very clumsy method to try to justify more taxes being handed to arms manufacturers.
Bad Bootle Meff
Pollard’s expertise in political prediction was glowing in his assessment of the electoral prospects of UKIP when Paul Nuttall was appointed leader in 2016. In Pollard on Meff he gushed that “the announcement of Ukip’s new leader could turn British politics on its head in ways that will make even that mad fortnight after the referendum look positively dull. The real threat Ukip poses is to Labour. If Paul Nuttall plays his cards right – and the evidence of his campaign is that he knows exactly what to do – Ukip could be the final nail in Labour’s coffin.”
He justified his theory by insulting working-class people who Pollard believes would be easily led by UKIP’s dishonest rhetoric and by its xenophobic rabble-rousing. (To be fair to Pollard, many centrists in the media made the same stupid predictions about Nuttall.)
Pollard took his analysis of what he claimed was Labour’s demise further from reality.
Fidel Castro was mentioned: “Nothing better illustrates the parallel universe in which they live than the reaction to the death of Fidel Castro. Most normal people can see that he was a monster who locked up and murdered his opponents and impoverished his country.”
Immigration: “Labour leader believes that any cap on immigration numbers is racist.”
Defence: “And on defence, not only does he [Corbyn] want to ditch Trident, his – and his allies’ – sympathies lie with all the West’s key enemies.”
These bizarre Farageist utterances from Pollard were pitched as a reason for his perception of Labour losing the working class vote. More accurately, they were propaganda comments designed to fool people.
The article ended with an acutely dishonest appraisal of Theresa May’s political stance and her intent. “Lazy commentators have peddled the line that the Tories have tacked to the right under Mrs May. The opposite has happened. She wants to move the Conservatives towards becoming a more continental-style Christian Democrat party.” That’s the same Tory party that has conducted a campaign of Social Murder, particularly at people with disabilities, and is systematically destroying the NHS.
Direct criticism of Corbyn and his colleagues
Pollard has attacked Jeremy Corbyn and other members of Labour’s leadership team often. A year ago in Extreme Corbyn Pollard said “Mr Corbyn is electorally toxic because he is by far the most extreme leader any mainstream party has ever put forward as a potential prime minister.” The general election later last year disproved that assertion.
Pollard revisited a recurrent theme of his which is to attack socialism and communism as ideologies. His abject ignorance provided no barrier to an opinion. “We sometimes need to remind ourselves that communists are not pie-in-the sky idealists but proponents of an ideology that leads to mass slaughter and the destruction of freedom and democracy” was followed by a comparison of Hugo Chavez (not a communist) to Idi Amin. Chavez was mentioned because Corbyn has applauded some of his actions.
“He [Corbyn] hero-worships tyrants and proudly proclaims his friendship with terrorists. It is no wonder that Labour is now on course to electoral oblivion.” Similar fraudulent claims were rammed down the throats of the readers of all the right-wing rags during last year’s election, with no adverse effect for Labour.
Pollard’s hates socialism. This ensures that he is opposed to Corbyn. Pollard wants everyone else to follow his line of (un)reasoning. But, rather than prove an argument, he assumes he is correct and states that everyone agrees with him, rendering proof unnecessary. It is Lewis Carroll logic. “As the election [GE 2017] campaign progresses, Labour’s current dire poll figures are likely to be a ceiling, not a floor. When voters are exposed to Mr Corbyn’s views they will recoil in horror.” “Recoil?” Because Corbyn quite liked Chavez?
In Unpatriotic Corbyn Pollard opened with “it has become a cliché to say that Jeremy Corbyn is not fit to be the leader of the Labour Party, but it’s worse than that. He is barely fit to be an MP. Corbyn doesn’t just hate America, Nato and the West. He appears to hate Britain itself. Every one of his foreign policy positions involves supporting our enemies and attacking our friends.” “Our enemies” and “our friends?” It is an indictment of Pollard’s outlook on life that he sees the world divided between enemies and friends with direct correlation to nationality. He tried to justify his opinion on Corbyn by objecting to the latter’s view that international law and human rights should have a role in warfare.
“When Putin invaded Ukraine last year, he was not demonstrating Russian imperialism but acting defensively against US and Nato provocation, says Corbyn.” Did Corbyn say that? Did he try to offer a balanced objective intelligent analysis rather than just taking sides? Pollard demanded complete subservience to a particular directional opinion, or else be branded as unpatriotic and biased against ‘the West.’
“The point is that in the Corbyn world view, any enemy of the West is worthy of support. Any ally is opposed.” Clearly, that isn’t true. What is true is that Pollard uttered such stupidity as a response to some opposition to actions by Britain and NATO. Deliberate raving blind support is what Pollard demanded.
At the end of the article there was a box that highlighted some of Labour’s positive manifesto pledges. Everything there seemed very reasonable. It would be fair to assume the box was not inserted by Pollard because, if he had inserted it, then he would have looked even more ignorant and illogical.
In McDonnell the revolutionary Pollard got confused between replacing capitalism and ending democracy. He noted that John McDonnell had said, more than once, that he would like to replace capitalism with socialism but Pollard appeared to think that such a scenario would mean the end of democracy. He tried to justify that abstract jump in logic by mentioning McDonnell’s support for the government of Venezuela. But, Venezuela is not a communist country, it is a democratic country with a socialist government. As noted earlier, Pollard never lets facts derail his train of thoughtlessness.
Stephen Pollard’s political position is hard-right economic libertarian similar to the Tea Party in the USA, the current Australian government, Dan Hannan, Iain Duncan Smith, Priti Patel, Jacob Rees-Mogg and a variety of right-wing think tanks – Adam Smith Institute, Tax-Payers’ Alliance, Institute of Economic Affairs, Centre for Policy Studies, etc.
He is opposed to the NHS and to workers’ rights, he supports fully the Tory government’s policy of Social Murder and he is keen to finance the arms industry. His hatred of socialism throbs. He has no concept of what a public service is and he has no concept of society.
His political analysis is ignorant, illogical, dishonest and petulant. He is a very poor writer and is as thick as mince.
It is no surprise that he is very fearful of the possibility of a left-leaning Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn because such a government would enact policies that are diametrically opposed to Pollard’s demands.