The Declaration: Principles of the Law Governing the Internet

Unrestricted worldwide exchange of information
Social media has enabled people from all over the world to communicate with each other, to exchange information and ideas, to educate each other, to organise protests, to express solidarity and to challenge injustice.  Bypassing controlled space imposed by governments and by compliant media, people have sought the facts about issues and sought the opinions of others who are directly involved.

The easy and immediate exchange of information has helped to prevent cover-ups and to expose lies by governments.  For example, it is less easy for a representative of a government to claim something happened or did not happen if a live video of the incident has already been seen by millions worldwide on social media.

Social media interaction between people from all over the world has countered the constant othering and xenophobia from various governments and think-tanks.  It has shown that issues and problems around the world are similar with similar causes and similar solutions.

The resultant knowledge accrued from social media interaction has been used to challenge governments informatively.  Armed with the facts, people have been able to refute claims and to destroy fraudulent analyses. 

Clearly, worldwide public knowledge of facts and cross-border solidarity are problematic for those who rely on public ignorance to retain control.  Censoring of and restricting access to social media has become a necessity for governments.

State response: Censorship
Using the guise of reacting to irregularities in funding for the Leave campaign prior to the referendum on EU membership in 2016 and using a faux campaign to counter “intimidation” of elected representatives, Tory MP Damian Collins has been at the forefront of a strategy of preparing a narrative that seeks to conclude with restrictions and censorship applied to online communication.

Tactics enacted so far included a concocted report by Lord Bew on “intimidation of politicians” followed by intent to restrict the right to vote and the right to stand in elections led by Minister for the Constitution Chloe Smith.

This week, Collins and a gang of capitalist politicians from the second division of influential countries have declared what they would like to be the basis of ‘Principles of the Law Governing the Internet.’

The five principles were included in The Declaration and are reproduced below.

i. The internet is global and law relating to it must derive from globally agreed principles;
ii. The deliberate spreading of disinformation and division is a credible threat to the continuation and growth of democracy and a civilising global dialogue;
iii. Global technology firms must recognise their great power and demonstrate their readiness to accept their great responsibility as holders of influence;
iv.  Social Media companies should be held liable if they fail to comply with a judicial, statutory or regulatory order to remove harmful and misleading content from their platforms, and should be regulated to ensure they comply with this requirement;
v. Technology companies must demonstrate their accountability to users by making themselves fully answerable to national legislatures and other organs of representative democracy.

Notes on the five principles
i. Clearly, it is absurd to expect every country in the world to agree to similar rules regarding access to and use of the internet.  Some countries are very censorious toward online communication – for example, China and Saudi Arabia; some countries have laws that allow state intrusion into online privacy – for example, Britain and its Investigatory Powers Act; other countries are opposed to both censorship and to intrusion.  Laws are different in different countries as are economic systems, trade relationships and military alignments.  How could a single set of laws for internet use bypass these differences?

ii. The authors of The Declaration fear challenges to the “growth of democracy.”  That is a stringent political concern.  Some countries exist with non-democratic systems of government – for example, Vietnam and Cuba.  Advocating non-democratic systems of government is a legitimate political act.  The inference from this proposed principle is that only a particular system of government (democracy) should be allowed to be promoted online and promotion of other systems should be banned.

iii. Global online social media platforms are not “holders of influence.”  Their respective platforms provide tools for communication, both useful and destructive, but the caretakers of the platforms should not be exercising influence.

iv. In authoritarian countries some social media platforms have agreed to severe censorship including the removal of political expressions of free speech.  This principle of The Declaration appeared to fully endorse such behaviour.

v. Social media platforms are answerable to their users and should certainly not be answerable to state bodies.

The Declaration
The declaration affirms the Parliamentarians’ commitment to the principles of transparency, accountability and the protection of representative democracy in regard to the internet,” claimed the pre-preamble in The Declaration.  By “transparency” the authors meant access by state agencies to private communications by civilians; by “accountability” they meant the social media platforms being accountable to state agencies rather than accountable to their users; “protection of representative democracy” was an assertive statement against non-democratic society.

The Declaration’s preamble was Orwellian.

It is an urgent and critical priority for legislatures and governments to ensure that the fundamental rights and safeguards of their citizens are not violated or undermined by the unchecked march of technology.”

A translation of the above would be that capitalist states are frightened that easy immediate communication between the people of the world could undermine the authority and capability of governments: Fear of the consequences of free-flowing undiluted information.  

The democratic world order is suffering a crisis of trust from the growth of disinformation.”

A “crisis of trust” in the “world order” should be welcomed.  “Disinformation” is a problem but the flow of information is what scares the “world order” the most.

The Declaration affirmed that “representative democracy is too important and too hard-won to be left undefended from online harms.”  That was another signal of the intent to censor and remove non-democratic political views from online discourse.

Another pseudo extract from ‘1984’ re-stated the real intent of The Declaration.

It is incumbent on us to create a system of global internet governance that can serve to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of generations to come, based on established codes of conduct for agencies working for nation states.”

The latter part of the above sentence ignored the fact, mentioned above, that different countries have different laws regarding free speech and political expression and, so, “established (worldwide) codes of conduct” are unattainable.  

The first part of the above sentence was archetypal doublespeak.  The words “serve” and “protect” meant “control,” and “fundamental rights and freedoms” meant whatever rights and freedoms that those in control choose to bestow upon the people.

DamianCollins.png
Tory MP Damian Collins, chair of DCMS select committee and The Declaration signatory

Second division
The signatories of The Declaration were representatives from the governments of Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Ireland, Latvia, Singapore and Britain.

No-one from the entire continent of Africa.
One signatory from the entire continent of Asia.
No-one from a non-democratic country.
No-one from Russia, China or USA.

Serve and protect
The Declaration was laughable grandstanding but it contained disturbing indicators of authoritarian intent. 

Instant worldwide communication, sharing ideas and information, and live broadcast of political activism and state behaviour are positive consequences of the ease of use of social media platforms.  Ideas, analysis, facts and opinions are distributed instantaneously without any media or government filtering.  That is what frightened the governments whose representatives devised and signed The Declaration.

Related blogs
Tory plan to restrict right to vote
GCHQ Director Jeremy Fleming and IP Act
Analysis of Bew Report
Rafael Behr fears twitter

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The Declaration: Principles of the Law Governing the Internet

A cursory response to May’s Brexit letter to the British people

Theresa May has written an open letter to the British public about the latest government proposal for the terms of departure from the EU.  

The letter is very short of details and full of lies.

The entire text of the letter is re-produced below (in italics) with responses inserted. 

MayNo10.jpg

When I became your prime minister the United Kingdom had just voted to leave the European Union.”
The British people did not vote for May to be prime minister.
Some parts of the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, some did not.  Examples of the latter include Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar.

From my first day in the job, I knew I had a clear mission before me – a duty to fulfil on your behalf: to honour the result of the referendum and secure a brighter future for our country by negotiating a good Brexit deal with the EU.”
There has never been a single day, single speech or single sentence from May that expressed clarity on Brexit during her tenure as prime minister.
May voted for (and had campaigned for) Remain; thus, it is a self-contradiction that she states that departure from the EU gives Britain a “brighter future.”
Every step of her “negotiation” with the EU has been a sorry mess riven with impossibilities, contradictions and lies.

Throughout the long and complex negotiations that have taken place over the last year and a half, I have never lost sight of that duty.”
The “long and complex negotiations” have been a series of on-the-hoof daft ideas by a variety of ministers, most of whom departed abruptly and contentiously before the job was done.

Today, I am in Brussels with the firm intention of agreeing a Brexit deal with the leaders of the other 27 EU nations.”
The EU will say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to whatever May says.  That is all the EU is offering her.

It will be a deal that is in our national interest – one that works for our whole country and all of our people, whether you voted ‘Leave’ or ‘Remain’.
The deal has been rejected resoundingly by both remainers and leavers in Britain.

It will honour the result of the referendum.”

We will take back control of our borders, by putting an end to the free movement of people once and for all.  Instead of an immigration system based on where a person comes from, we will build one based on the skills and talents a person has to offer.”
If immigration will be “based on the skills and talents a person has to offer” why are doctors and teachers leaving Britain, some by instruction from the Home Office.
What “skills and talents” did Meghan Markle have to offer?

We will take back control of our money, by putting an end to vast annual payments to the EU.”
Will these “vast annual payments” be greater than the multitude of extra costs incurred due to not being in the EU?

Instead, we will be able to spend British taxpayers’ money on our own priorities, like the extra £394 million per week that we are investing in our long-term plan for the NHS.”
The Tories are systematically destroying the NHS.  The constant lies and deceptions about “investments” have been eviscerated many times.

And we will take back control of our laws, by ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK.  In future, our laws will be made, interpreted and enforced by our own courts and legislatures.”
EU laws on food safety, workers’ safety, workers’ statutory rights, human rights are going to be binned.

We will be out of EU programmes that do not work in our interests: out of the common agricultural policy, that has failed our farmers, and out of the common fisheries policy, that has failed our coastal communities.”
Britain doesn’t produce enough food to feed the population.

Instead, we will be able to design a system of agricultural support that works for us and we will be an independent coastal state once again, with full control over our waters.”
Britain doesn’t produce enough food to feed the population.

The deal also protects the things we value.  EU citizens who have built their lives in the United Kingdom will have their rights protected, as will UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU.”
EU citizens are being kicked out of Britain every day including those married to British citizens and with British-born children.

A free trade area will allow goods to flow easily across our borders, protecting the many skilled jobs right across the country that rely on integrated supply chains.”
Like the, er, Common Market?

Because our European friends will always be our allies in the fight against terrorism and organised crime, the deal will ensure that security co-operation will continue, so we can keep our people safe.”
Almost all terrorism in Britain in recent years has been perpetrated by British citizens. 
Britain has “security co-operation” with countries outside of the EU and outside of Europe.  Whatever deal May claims to have concocted for Brexit bears no relationship to international “security co-operation.”

As prime minister of the United Kingdom, I have from day one been determined to deliver a Brexit deal that works for every part of our country – for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, for our Overseas Territories like Gibraltar, and also for the Crown dependencies.”
May has flapped about ever more desperately for over two years as proposal after proposal was immediately shafted and chucked and minister after minister scarpered.

This deal will do that.”
This deal will do nothing that isn’t better done in the EU.

Crucially, it will protect the integrity of our United Kingdom and ensure that there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland – so people can live their lives as they do now.”  
For how long will there be no “hard border?”

It is a deal for a brighter future, which enables us to seize the opportunities that lie ahead.  Outside the EU, we will be able to sign new trade deals with other countries and open up new markets in the fastest-growing economies around the world.”
The EU is able to “sign new trade deals with other countries.”  If Britain is in competition with the EU to acquire “new trade deals with other countries” then the EU is in a stronger negotiating position than Britain.

With Brexit settled, we will be able to focus our energies on the many other important issues facing us here at home: keeping our economy strong, and making sure every community shares in prosperity; securing our NHS for the future, giving every child a great start in life, and building the homes that families need; tackling the burning injustices that hold too many people back, and building a country for the future that truly works for everyone.”
A recent UN report highlighted gross inequality and enormous levels of poverty in Britain, issues that will not be helped by leaving the EU.
The Tories are systematically destroying the NHS for the benefit of their privateer vulture friends, as they are doing with all public services.
The Tories have removed funding for further and higher education.
The Tories have prevented council homes being built and have allowed developers to lie about building affordable homes.
All the economic injustices in Britain right now are direct consequences of deliberate Tory policy.  The EU did not enforce these injustices.  The Tories have no intention of changing any of them; they intend to use the departure from the EU as an opportunity to make things worse.

On 29 March next year, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union.  We will then begin a new chapter in our national life.  I want that to be a moment of renewal and reconciliation for our whole country.”
The first thing that will happen after departure is a general election.

It must mark the point when we put aside the labels of ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ for good and we come together again as one people.”
Come together?”  Tory political strategy is infused with division.

To do that we need to get on with Brexit now by getting behind this deal.”
It’s a mess that satisfies no-one.

Parliament will have the chance to do that in a few weeks’ time when it has a meaningful vote on the deal I hope to strike today.  I will be campaigning with my heart and soul to win that vote and to deliver this Brexit deal, for the good of our United Kingdom and all of our people.”
The “heart and soul campaigning” has included handing out a knighthood to an influential Tory MP who doesn’t (currently) like May’s deal, as a bribe.

Recommended reading
Theresa May’s Actual Open Letter by Lizzie Fletcher for Unity News.
Steve Bullock’s reply as a twitter thread.
Joseph Guthrie’s response for Media Diversified
InFacts factcheck

A cursory response to May’s Brexit letter to the British people

Remain Incivil!

tories-are-lower-than-vermin

Spokespersons for wealth terrorists abhor being challenged.  They demand that the victims of exploitation stay obedient, keep quiet and eschew revolt.  

The Tories are so fearful of verbal and written protest that they intend to restrict access to the right to vote and to the right to stand as a candidate in an election for anyone who doesn’t observe absolute civility toward Tories.  Minister for the Constitution Chloe Smith said “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 Tories hope that the threat of removal of democratic rights will curb valid criticism of Tory policy. 

gagging law imposed on charities to prevent them exposing the effects of Tory policy has been expanded several times and there has been frequent use of non-disclosure agreements between the government and charities.

Alongside laws and gags, the Tories have tried to invent a narrative that they, and their collaborators, are under attack from rude and angry people.  This narrative was used, via the Bew Report, as false impetus for the aforementioned restrictions on democracy.

Age Of Incivility?
To try to perpetuate the invented narrative of unacceptable angry response to their attacks on humanity the Tories’ latest stunt was a team-up between the their Commission for Countering Extremism and right-wing think-tank Policy Exchange

Policy Exchange concocted a report – An Age Of Uncivility – that used a ruse to justify the report’s necessity: “Recent years have seen a sustained and significant coarsening of the tone in British politics.”  That statement is, of course, nonsense; responses to Tory attacks have always included the widest breadth of use of the English language.  What is remarkable is how civil and restrained most people are when face-to-face, or in online discourse, with a Tory.

The report was peppered with screenshots of social media posts that the authors wished to criticise.  Stylistically, it was a horrible mess. 

Its content was politically biased. 

Momentum, in particular, seems to provide a home to many who view politics in the most polarising and shrill terms.  Activists within that movement have been repeatedly accused of engaging in behavior that comes close, or crosses the line into, intimidation and abuse.  By some accounts, this even extends to other Momentum activists who differ in approach and outlook.  By contrast, the mainstream Conservative party has set its face firmly against such behaviour – and made a point of requiring local election candidates to sign up to a ‘respect pledge’ earlier this year.”

Note the use of the phrase “repeatedly accused” rather than “proven to be true.” 

Earlier this year Tory chair Brandon Lewis, a brat with a persona akin to a petulant teenager, asked all politicians to adhere to a ‘Respect Pledge.’  However, an example of how much respect Lewis has for his political opponents occurred in July when he deliberately violated a parliamentary pairing arrangement with Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson who was on maternity leave. 

The “Conservative party has set its face firmly against such behaviour” via, for example, the childish bullying behaviour of the Tory Bratboys whenever an opposition MP has spoken in parliament, particularly Jeremy Corbyn.

Throughout the report, random repetition of smears against left-wing politicians and activists sat beside pathetic complaints from the authors about critical observations of Tory policy.  An example of the latter was a complaint about the public reaction to the Grenfell Tower fire and to the removal of British citizenship of the Windrush generation.

This inclination [to be aware of intent of Tory policy] was particularly evident in the wake of the Grenfell Disaster and, more recently, the scandal of the way in which the Windrush generation had been treated.  Both those episodes represented serious failings by the system – yet they were weaponised by sections of the left to impute morally repugnant motives to those on the right.”

Windrush was, and is, a deliberate policy created by the prime minister when she was Home Secretary that targetted people of Caribbean descent and was motivated by her ongoing intent to prove her racist credentials.  The Grenfell Tower fire was a direct consequence of policy decisions by the corrupt Tory Kensington council.  Both Grenfell and Windrush were examples of the intent of Tory policy in action.  

The report objected to the fact that socialists are socialists.

A section of the political left has made plain its hostility to ‘finance capitalism’, which it holds responsible for many of the ills of the current world. Against this backdrop, calls to direct action against corporations have been accompanied by fierce denunciations of ‘bankers’ and others associated with high finance.”

The observation above about attitudes to the intrinsically exploitative financial system showed that the clear purpose of the report was to encourage censorship of political opposition to that system.

The current Tory government, like any conservative government, is peopled with gimps of wealth terrorists and operates with acute relentless dishonesty by necessity.  To observe that fact was objectionable to the Policy Exchange report.

A hallmark of the new politics of incivility is the assumption that the purported views of one’s political opponents are not legitimately held.  Instead, they stand condemned as being variously corrupt, venal, and even evil. Such an outlook often forms the flipside to a sense of selfrighteousness – and the belief that one’s own politics are inherently virtuous.  A classic example below conveys the message that the Conservatives are fundamentally malign in their politics.”

Even regarding the Tories, rightly, as “enemies” received a rebuke from the report.

The most extreme manner in which some seek to delegitimise their opponents is by resorting to overt dehumanisation.  This tendency can be witnessed across the political spectrum – but seems especially prevalent among sections of the left for whom the ‘Tories’ are sub-human and, far from being rivals with whom one might debate, are enemies.”

Policy Exchange is in a duonanstic relationship with the Tories.  Every word of the former’s report was designed to protect the latter from inspection and analysis.  The report is not about incivility.  It is a demand for censorship of criticism.  It is a plea for the lies of the Tories to be left completely unchallenged.

To promote its report Policy Exchange had a launch at which a few right-of-centre politicians and hacks had a whingefest.  European Research Group member Jacob Rees-Mogg said “there’s a reason to be civil – it’s a way to win political arguments!  If people shout at you in a mask & we put our arguments calmly then we win – there is no rationality in abuse.  It’s not about limiting free speech but about defining responsible boundaries, eg threats of violence are never appropriate.”  Rees-Mogg has never uttered an honest word in his life and his approach to winning political arguments included hiring a thug who punched a woman at a speech given by Rees-Mogg.

Telegraph hack Sebastian Payne said “pretty much every time I go on TV I get messages saying I must the love child of Jacob Rees-Mogg  and Michael Gove. I can laugh a lot of that off – but some of it is nastier.”  The horror!

Remain Incivil!
The two most visible facets of Tory strategy are the intertwined policies of Social Murder and public infrastructure giveaways to privateer vultures.  Both facets are anti-humanity and anti-society and do not require civil debate in response.

Every Tory MP works against the majority of the British people.  They work for a small group of financial gangsters.  The venal, dishonest and destructive Tory government must be criticised continuously and robustly. 

The wealth terrorists for whom the Tories work must be identified and eviscerated.

The partners of the Tories, including right-wing think-tanks like Policy Exchange, must be exposed. 

All are enemies.  Civility toward them is not just unnecessary, it is wrong.  Incivility is a necessity.

Related blogs
Policy Exchange
Be Incivil!
Respect a Tory MP?
Tory Bratboys
Analysis of Bew Report
Hillsborough, Grenfell
Social Murder
Privatisation
Jacob Rees-Mogg

Remain Incivil!

Oxford privilege, white supremacism and cowardice

Yesterday, Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon, a professional promoter of racism and white supremacism, spoke at the Oxford Union.

Bannon’s invitation to speak was never intended to be a forum for scrutiny of his racist views.  Like all of his extremist ilk, Bannon does not debate and does not respond to queries or to criticism.  Whenever he is given a public platform it is solely an opportunity for him to encourage bigotry, racism, antisemitism, white supremacism and to spout a torrent of fabricated conspiracy theories.

Oxford Union president Stephen Horvath invited Bannon to enable him. 

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Oxford Union president Stephen Horvath

Privilege
Dr. Moudhy Al-Rashid‏, postdoc at Wolfson College, Oxford reminded the Oxford Union mob to check their privilege.

And before the ‘but free speech’ crowd tries to weigh in, check your privilege. It must be nice to remain safe from the policies enabled by racist, homophobic, xenophobic hate speech, but for the rest of us, this isn’t about the marketplace of ideas. It’s about our lives.”

Oxford Union’s decision to grease the wheels of Bannon’s hate machine was a decision derived from privilege.  Multi-privileged students at Oxford, wallowing in inherited comfort, are able to espouse whatever deceptive nonsense about “free speech” they want because they are not the targets of Bannon’s racism and white supremacism.

The association of “free speech” with liberal philosophy appeals to those who perceive the world from lofty safe viewpoints where consequences of divisive rabble-rousing are rare visitors.  But, their privileges were attained via the benefits of division and othering.  Their campaign for liberalism is a conscious illusion.

Cowardice
Like every other mouthpiece for racism and white supremacism Steve Bannon is a coward, intellectually and physically. 

In every public appearance his intellectual cowardice is displayed via evasion and deflection.  Morally and rationally, his views cannot be defended.  For him to allow even the slightest inspection face-to-face or to explain logically his perspective would be catastrophic for the structure of his idealism; any self-inspection of his philosophy would change it.  Perpetual cowardice is his defence mechanism to avoid disruption to his beliefs.

Bannon’s physical cowardice was on show throughout his appearance in Oxford.  With the collaboration of Oxford Union, his invitation to speak wasn’t publicised until a couple of days beforehand and only members of Oxford Union were allowed to attend; both those conditions are very unusual for Oxford Union events.  Bannon travelled to the location in a police van and entered surrounded by police and by his own mercenary thugs; the latter entered the building with him. 

Police actions included closure of roads, driving the van containing Bannon recklessly into a crowd causing injuries and assaults against peaceful protesters.  

Privilege and racism are partners
Privilege is maintained via division of the enemies of the beneficiaries of privilege.  Racism is a common tool used to create division.  The privileged’s collusion in the dissemination of racism is cognizant.

Recommended reading
Afroze Zaidi-Jivraj on Bannon

Related blogs
BBC platform for Bannon
Bannon meets Tories

Oxford privilege, white supremacism and cowardice

BBC yes-platformed white supremacist Steve Bannon

White supremacist Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former adviser, enjoyed a public platform handed to him at the BBC’s News Xchange (NX18) broadcasting conference in Edinburgh yesterday.

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Steve Bannon

Bannon was delighted to accept the invitation to spew forth his concoction of bile, vileness, racism and bigotry delivered with acute dishonesty, misdirection and obfuscation.  “I think as populist nationalists I think it’s important to do mainstream media.  I do the BBC.”

BBC’s Sarah Smith, who introduced Bannon on stage at NX18, claimed that he had been invited in order for him to be “scrutinised.”  But, she and her BBC colleagues knew that Bannon cannot be scrutinised face-to-face because he is adept at deflection and avoidance.  His skills are well-honed.  He can relentlessly dodge queries, switch focus and twist blame with ease.  His absolute lack of shame and his self-nurtured, highly developed, anti-humanity psyche helps him to have no qualms about constantly avoiding a question or criticism and always finding an unbridled dishonest means of changing the topic.  Quacks are not susceptible to reasoned argument or intelligent inquisition.  When quizzed they just carry on quacking.

Smith and the BBC knew that Bannon would be able to promote his extreme views without difficulty and without challenge.  The BBC even agreed to present his speech as if it were an interview by Smith in order for Bannon to claim he had been questioned rather than allowed to spout his filth exactly as he had wanted.  

He had nothing to say at NX18 and he made no attempt to engage in discussion.  His purpose was to repeat a few standard deceptive soundbites.  For example, he repeatedly deflected criticism by referring to the “working-class” and claimed his “populist nationalism” was defending working-class against an “elite.”  He meant white working-class and a subsection thereof.

Tomorrow, Bannon is due to speak at the Oxford Union.  Another ‘pillar of the establishment’ offering the nectar of free publicity to a rancid opponent of humanity.  His appearance there will be a ‘members only’ event, which is unusual for an Oxford Union talk, and it was announced just three days in advance; clearly, among Bannon’s many disreputable characteristics lurks grubby cowardice.  The cowardice was admitted by Oxford Union president Stephen Horvath in a meeting with the Union’s Standing Committee whereat he stated the possibility of “public disruption” was the reason for the secrecy and restricted access to Bannon’s talk.

Invitations to Bannon and his ilk are issued with the knowledge that the intent to scrutinise the invitees’ views is illusory.  The broadcasters who give them airtime know they are providing a platform rather than dissecting and denigrating the guests’ views.  The ‘Marketplace Of Ideas’ is a simple con.

Recommended reading
Nick Spooner for Left Foot Forward

Related blogs
Bannon and the Tories
Balance at BBC
Tips for BBC news

BBC yes-platformed white supremacist Steve Bannon

Bruges Group

(Website: Bruges Group)

The Bruges Group aims to promote discussion on the European Union and to advance the education of the public on European affairs.”

Peopled with a rancid concoction of bigots, conmen and financial gangsters, Bruges Group is a generator of propaganda, misdirections, distractions and lies used as tools to inveigle support for a cliff-fall no-deal Brexit.  One of its tools of propaganda is a platform for extreme prejudices.

Included on Bruges Group’s wall of filth are UKIP rabble-rousers Farage and Batten, quack “economist” Patrick Minford and disaster capitalists’ gofer Daniel Hannan.

PatrickMinford
Patrick Minford

Nowhere in its literature or press releases has Bruges Group attempted to offer coherent reasoning or cogent argument.  Its rhetoric is persistently and deliberately moronic.  Style and content are drawn from the sewer that flows with ordure from the far-right Breitbart website and from the thoughts of Donald Trump.

In a contribution published yesterday (12th November) Niall McCrae proposed a People’s Revolt, as a stupid counter to a People’s Vote, in which he proclaimed believe me, the establishment would do everything it could – fair or foul – to ensure a desired verdict [Remain success in People’s Vote].  A massive programme of propaganda and dirty dealings would ensue, funded by George Soros and the globalist elite.”

He enthusiastically referenced comments by Fox News screaming head Tucker Carson and expressed envy that the USA has Donald Trump.  Unlike our American cousins, we lack a character like Donald Trump to ‘drain the swamp’.”

A week earlier in Beer McCrae had compared the development of the EU to the monopolies of breweries, and Brexit to CAMRA.  “As the bland homogenisation of beer led to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the largest consumer movement in Europe, so the federalists have provoked a reaction.” 

Aping Trump and his despicable gang, McCrae wrote randomly about “populism” and “liberal elite.”  Can populism reassert nationhood and replace the façade of ‘liberal democracy’ with genuine democratic principles?”

He depicted working-class people as haters of immigration and cast the EU as imposing “integration.”  The strategy [of the EU] from the outset was to integrate gradually so not to upset the electorates.”

McCrae gave a positive mention to white supremacist fraudster Ann Coulter.  His contributions were typical of Bruges Group and displayed brazenly its promotion of xenophobic and nationalist prejudices. 

The putrid nature of Bruges Group’s racist nationalism and ultra-conservative bigotry was encapsulated by a paper by McCrae and its director Robert Oulds called Moralitis: A cultural virus wherein they described political support for anybody who isn’t white and straight as a “disease.”

It is an epidemic disease so powerful that it has a cytopathic effect on society, changing the cognition and behaviour of its hosts.  While older people have developed resistance, younger people are more susceptible to the virus due to their lack of immunity.  Their idealism arises from a lack of ‘real world’ experience.”

The paper was a long extension of the far right’s definition of its invented phrase ‘cultural Marxism.’  

The infection is concentrated in metropolitan areas of affluence and in towns and cities with high student populations, and throughout our political and cultural institutions. People who contract the virus may be divided into two types.  First are the carriers.  Not active propagators, they learn what to say and what values to convey.  As a large brigade of foot-soldiers, their compliance with moral hegemony is vital for the disease to overcome healthy minds.  The second type is the contagious.  This is the opinionated minority, enthused by cultural Marxism, who police social discourse and push boundaries to advance their cause.  Often it is such people who are promoted to positions of power.  The contagious sweep others along in their moral hubris.”

White supremacists cannot defend their anti-human philosophy with reason so they resort always to sophistry.  With deceptive intent, McCrae and Oulds quoted randomly a wide variety of philosophers and academics out of context.  They depicted the dominant culture as the victim.  It was archetypal extremist gibberish delivered with petulant nastiness.

The three (recent) examples of Bruges Group literature mentioned above revealed its single tactic of garnering support: Generate division via othering, racism and promotion of prejudices.  It has a very low opinion of working-class people and it constantly tries to appeal to base unintelligent drives.   

Following standard far-right methodology, Bruges Group seeks to convince its riled supporters that their racist utopia will be attained via whatever exploitative corporate fascism Bruges Group’s donors want.  For example, a cliff-fall no-deal Brexit that suits the disaster capitalists.  Bruges Group does not name its donors.

Last weekend (10th November) it held a one-day conference in London.  Two Tory MPs, Mark Francois and Andrew Bridgen, and Tory MEP David Bannerman spoke at the conference.  Andrew Bridgen is so knowledgeable about the EU that he thought every British citizen was entitled to an Irish passport – Bridgen ignorance – and David Bannerman’s pantomime behaviour is very Alex Jones:

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The Trumpist style of Bruges Group was on show on its facebook page last week via a bizarre post by former UKIP London Assembly candidate Alexander Nieora wherein he called bog standard Tory Karen Pierce a “Marxist.”  (Pierce is Britain’s ambassador to the UN.)  Nieora has form for purposeful misnomers and fake reversal of prejudices: He called former NUS leader Bahar Mustafa “racist, sexist and extremely offensive” because she had attacked white men – Nieora whinges.

As shown above, Bruges Group is a comfort blanket for cranks, charlatans, xenophobes and racists but its purpose is to campaign for an over-the-edge Brexit that favours the salivating disaster capitalists.  Its intellectual inspiration comes from Fox News, Steve Bannon, Lynton Crosby, Norman Tebbit and Donald Trump.  It is the piles on the rectum of the Leave campaign.

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Bruges Group Director Robert Oulds

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

 

Bruges Group

Remembrance Day: Hypocrisy of Tories and royals

Today is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. 

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Wilfred Owen

Millions of working-class people from around the world were killed in the war.  It was a battle for dominance between capitalist empires in Europe to see who could gain an upper hand to be able to exploit the most people; it was also a squabble between members of an incestuous royal family.  There was no other point to the war.

  • No land was gained by either side at the war’s end.
  • A generation of young men were slaughtered.
  • Millions of pounds, francs and marks were wasted on destruction.

After the war capitalist economies collapsed.  (Russia took a different route economically and also rid itself of its royals.)

One hundred years later, politicians in the war’s participating countries are commemorating the armistice.  Of course, it is entirely correct that prime ministers, presidents and royals would observe remembrance; however, there is clear hypocrisy between the words they speak on Remembrance Day and their actions and inactions elsewhere and at other times.

In Britain, the Tories are blissfully and cruelly continuing their Social Murder policies.  These policies impact the harshest on people with disabilities – physical and mental – and have had devastating and fatal consequences.  Many military veterans have physical disabilities resulting from combat and many have residual mental health issues.  The constant attacks by the Tories on the income and support for military veterans has directly caused many deaths and thousands are homeless.  The Tories couldn’t care less.

Meanwhile, the Tories’ gleeful support for the arms industry has encouraged them to broker deals with tyrants like Bin Salman of the Saudi royal family whose air force carpet bombs Yemeni civilians and civilian infrastructure every day using planes supplied by British manufacturers in deals arranged by Theresa May, pilots trained in Britain and expertise provided by British military advisers in Saudi Arabia.  Theresa May has a personal interest in promoting war because her husband Philip has multi-million pound investments with arms manufacturers.

The British royal family infests the global arms machine via multitudinous investments.  War is lucrative for the Windsors, as it was for their ancestors in World War I.  Prince Andrew is a veteran arms dealer with an acute aversion to morality.  He dances to any tune from any despot or authoritarian regime if paid enough.

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Prince Andrew and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev

The words uttered by Tory politicians and by royals today are worse than hollow.  Not only do they not mean anything that they say but they perceive Remembrance Day as an opportunity for celebration of militaristic philosophy.  The Tories and the royals are not remembering the soldiers and civilians who died, they are partaking in a marketing stunt for future armed conflict and they are salivating at the thought of all the money they can make out of that.

Remembrance Day: Hypocrisy of Tories and royals