(Update February 9th: The deal with Seaborne Freight was cancelled due to its proposed port of use being unsuitable.)
The Tories lack the work ethic and the intelligence needed to prepare properly for Brexit and they won’t know what form Brexit will take until very close to the departure date, March 29th 2019. It could be a cliff-fall no deal Brexit or a botched Tory deal; the current deal, agreed between the Tories and the EU, has yet to be tested in a parliamentary vote.
Whichever deal (or not) prevails there will be a huge jolt to the infrastructure of Britain. In particular, the supply of essential goods from Europe could be severely delayed or prohibited. The jolt will be much worse if Britain leaves the EU without a deal.
Part of the Tory plan to lessen the fall-out from delays is to hand over millions of pounds to ferry companies “for the supply of additional freight capacity on ferry services between England and The Netherlands and England and Germany in order to minimise the potential disruption of trade across the Short Straits in the event that the UK leaves the EU without an agreement.” Approximately £57m of public money will be given to two ferry companies, £44m to Det Forenede Dampskibs-Selskab and £13m to Seaborne Freight.
The Danish ferry company is a real business but Seaborne Freight is entirely fictitious.
Created out of thin air, Seaborne owns no ferries, has no monetary or physical assets, no employees and no access to credit. However, earlier in 2018 Thanet District Council, a Tory council, stated its intent to sign an agreement with Seaborne for its use of Ramsgate Port. Steve Coombes, from Ramsgate Action Group, described the absurdity of the proposed deal in Ramsgate Action Group on Seaborne. As Coombes noted, the reactivation of Ramsgate Port would be important for the town’s economy and, thus, useful for the Tories in the next council elections. But, pretending to have a plan to bolster the port’s trade could also help the Tory council. The government’s offer of £13m to Seaborne for post-Brexit transport of vital goods would give the appearance of providing the made-up company with the financial assets it needs to satisfy an agreement with Ramsgate Port and consequently would assist the Tory council’s election prospects.
Seaborne Freight does not exist in a viable form. The government’s agreement with it has been driven partly by stupidity – hello Chris Grayling – and partly by intrinsic venality of the Tory party.
Many more such agreements – all including a lot of public money being handed over to charlatans – will be signed by members of the Tory cabinet in 2019, before and after Brexit. Brexit is a windfall for criminals and the Tories are their enablers.
Organised crime syndicates’ operations are disturbed by unattached freelance criminals who disrupt the protection rackets and dip their fingers into the syndicate’s potential proceeds of thievery and extortion. The smash and grab nature of mavericks’ actions conflicts with the long-term plans of syndicates. Unpredictability of random criminal acts creates resistance among the general population whose resultant ire might be directed at the syndicates or at organised crime in general.
Organised crime syndicates prefer nice steady exploitation where they and the exploited know their places. They throw some crumbs regularly and guarantee protection against imaginary foes.
The syndicates try to assimilate the freelancers or else dispose of them but they recognise that disruption from opportunists can be used to procreate the narrative of an outsider foe to distract the exploited. Thus, syndicates seek to accommodate the opportunists and to develop a working relationship with them while maintaining the depiction of them as trouble-makers and interlopers. The symbiotic working relationship allows the syndicates to maintain their exploitation practices and allows the opportunists to make a quick buck; the general public lose out to both.
Keeping control of the opportunists is not a smooth process for the syndicates. Occasionally, power appears to be handed over to the non-aligned. Normally, the apparent handover of power is illusory – it is a sop to ego, but power is lost sometimes. The syndicates know that there is always a risk that their authority could be usurped. They accept this risk because if they were to crush every freelancer who pops up then the exploited would know that the syndicates are the single enemy. The existence of others provides a means of distraction and the concomitant risk of loss of control is a scenario that the syndicates acknowledge reluctantly.
Analogously, in the world of politics there exist establishment capitalists who, while recognising their system’s intrinsic self-destructive inevitability, seek to maintain steady exploitation of the majority of the population and there exist libertarian market-playing freelancers and opportunists who want to smash and grab whatever they can and then scarper.
Similar to the relationship between organised crime and opportunist crime, capitalists prefer, ideally, that opportunists don’t exist but, like established crime syndicates, capitalists know that invaders need to be accommodated and they know that such accommodation can include casting them as the main foe to distract the exploited.
A good example of the analogy of an established criminal syndicate and an opportunist is the relationship between the established US capitalist machine and the country’s current maverick president. Donald Trump’s objective as president is to enhance his personal wealth and the wealth of his children. His behaviour is erratic, rude and petulant and some of his decisions have caused disruptions to the smooth running of capitalist machinery. However, the capitalists have to work with him. Their syndicate cannot operate without working with him, the ultimate opportunist.
While trying to work with Trump, the capitalist syndicate depicts him as the main culprit. All blame is thrown at him as an outsider. The narrative of the third-party foe is used to absolve the capitalist machine of blame. Despite his maverick acts, Trump’s major decisions as president are entirely in line with what any other Republican president would have done as well as most Democrat presidents: Tax cuts for the wealthiest, removal of public services including healthcare, anti-immigrant rhetoric and actions, exaggeration of overseas enemies. But, if he can be cast as the sole perpetrator then the machine dodges blame.
In Britain, the capitalist machine, scared stiff by the growing popularity of a tendency toward socialism, has welcomed with gaping limbs the distraction of the libertarian Brexiteers. The latter, gimps of extreme disaster capitalists, are hellbent on a path of annihilation for the benefit of their quick buck strategy; they are not normal associates of steady-as-you-go exploitative capitalists but the machine knows that its grasp on power is slipping rapidly and, thus, the Brexiteers are a choice of partner opposed to socialism, a group to blame for any ensuing problems and a usable distraction.
The British capitalist syndicate has its temporary opportunist “enemy” – no-deal Brexiteers – by luck or design, to allow debate to be suffocated by spurious disagreements and insincere finger-pointing. Imaginary sects within the Tory party are blaming each other and pretending to have spats and ardent capitalists elsewhere, in Progress Labour, Liberal Democrats and SNP, display antipathy at all invented modules of the Tory party, some for their brextremism and others for their lack of decisiveness. Meanwhile, the exploited continue to be exploited regardless of the progress (or lack of) of Brexit.
The British capitalist syndicate is so bereft of vision and hope, understandably given nine years of destruction of society by the Tories, and so frightened of the resultant surge of socialist confidence, that it clings to the ongoing debacle of EU departure like a dying dog clinging to a foul-smelling blanket. It must keep the arguments raging and the drama running even if that means subjecting everyone to the sight of the spectre of grey Tony Blair wandering around offering garbled platitudes about the calamity of Brexit.
An organised criminal syndicate must never lose sight of its main aim: To keep the people it exploits in their place. Distractions are a necessity even if they are disruptive. There is a continuous battle between encouraging disturbance from outsiders to help the distracting narrative of an external foe and maintaining control over such disturbance.
The British capitalist syndicate is in danger of failing to control the disturbance of Brexit. Ultimately, Brexit could be so disturbing that it helps to destroy British capitalism’s power. Awareness of this scenario has ramped up the fear and, so, the attacks on socialism intensify daily.
Over the holiday break around Christmas the centrists and liberals went into a frenzy of absurd attacks on the protagonists of British socialism. Nothing they said was coherent or structurally logical. The single facet of the propaganda was its volume. The holiday period was chosen to dodge response and to take advantage of airtime provided by news lulls; that is, the tactic of timing was cowardly in essence. Included in the nonsensical slurs were apportioning of blame for Brexit onto socialists.
The Christmastime anti-socialism barrage was another nuanced tactic of organised crime. A criminal syndicate (capitalism) colluded in the creation of an imaginary foe (Brexiteers), created a continuous false narrative of disagreement with said foe to distract people exploited by the syndicate, and then attached blame for the existence of the syndicate’s invented foe to those (socialists) who are committed to ending the criminal syndicate’s reign.
Socialists know who the enemy is. We know what a distraction is. We know Brexit is a battle between two cheeks of the same backside. Chuka Umunna and Jacob-Rees Mogg are two cheeks of the same capitalist politicians’ backside, Ian Dunt and Julie Hartley-Brewer are two cheeks of the same capitalist journalists’ backside and Femi Oluwole and Darren Grimes are two cheeks of the same capitalist activists’ backside.
The syndicate is the enemy. Everything else is a distraction.
The monarch’s Christmas message for Britain and the Commonwealth was broadcast on December 25th. It was a flat speech phoned in from an alternate reality.
She spoke supportively about the Commonwealth Games and the Commonwealth itself. ‘Commonwealth’ is a deceptive description. Britain stole the wealth of the former colonies and, for many such countries, British businesses continue to steal wealth. In the countries from where British businesses don’t steal wealth the indigenous population are robbed by settler governments – Australia, New Zealand, Canada. ‘Common wealth’ is a thief’s term to describe someone else’s wealth that the thief has stolen.
Within her comments about the Commonwealth Games she said
“Even with the most deeply held differences, treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step towards greater understanding.”
That is, a beneficiary of robbery demanded that victims respect perpetrators.
Her remarks above were also a thinly veiled reference to heated debate about Brexit. The queen does not want Brexit to be debated or challenged. She wants everyone to just talk politely about it and to allow the disaster capitalists, market gamblers and other wealth terrorists to prepare for a massive windfall for themselves via a cliff-fall no-deal Brexit while the vast majority of the population see their livelihoods decimated. The queen is, of course, set up for a billion pound Brexit bonanza via a variety of dubious investments in offshore accounts.
The queen’s promotion of the Commonwealth was intended as a ruse to suggest that Britain needn’t bother with Europe because there’s another league of nations waiting to provide the UK with great trade deals. That argument, similar to the dross espoused by hardline no-deal supporters like Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nigel Farage and Daniel Hannan, is drivel. Current Commonwealth countries are much more likely to forge trade deals with the EU than with Britain.
The vacuous, drab Christmas monologue from the monarch had one message in it (quoted above) that displayed her commitment to the ephemeral remnants of colonialism and her willingness to partake in the Brextremists’ scam. It was a con, delivered in opulence.
Lee Rowley, a Tory MP in Derbyshire, is co-chair of FREER think-tank.
FREER is a subsidiary of Institute of Economic Affairs(IEA): “FREER will have its own advisory board, brand, and image, but it will be financed, run and operated by the IEA.”
In November FREER published Rowley’s paper ‘Next Generation Capitalism.’
“This paperexamines the challenges that free markets and capitalism face today, and sets forth a pragmatic and punchy approach for remaking the argument for an economic system that, while imperfect, still provides the greatest opportunities in the history of mankind.”
The declaration above was partly true in the sense that the purpose of the paper was to present capitalism positively compared to its enemy – socialism – via the use of cult-like veneration, criminal misrepresentation, purposeful omission and historical inaccuracy, and to propose some tactics to use to try to con people into supporting capitalism.
It was a very stupid and intellectually perfidious essay. However, it is useful to examine its content to be aware of the (lack of) substance of the strategy of IEA and their ilk.
All quotes in italics below are Rowley’s from Next Generation Capitalism(NGC). (I picked out the salient points in more or less the order in which they appeared in the paper.)
The second sentence of NGC displayed its mendacious perspective and negated immediatelyany need to take it seriously: “The engines [capitalism] that have lifted 1.5 billion people out of poverty in the last thirty years.” The reversal of truth and grotesque historical omissions in that sentence were indicators that the paper would be extremely dishonest and devoid of cohesive analysis.
Rowley started with an attack on the young people who are wary of capitalism and who are favouring a leftward tendency: “The ones who, curiously, seem to decry the inequality and the iniquity of the profit motive, whilst living for the technology created by the corporate enterprise and innovation driven by it.” Yes, he went with the “how can you be a socialist if you have an iPhone?” argument. He then talked about gulags.
“For those of us who do believe that free markets are the best engine of progress, how do we start to change these attitudes?” asked Rowley. His answer is with lies, omissions in analysis, con-tricks, bribery, misinformation, disinformation, obfuscation and distraction and Rowley was happy to provide all those tools. “Capitalism, based within a free-market system, intrinsically respects people, their values, views, and desires.”
Rowley described NGC as a guide for FREER disciples on how to con/persuade (mostly younger) people to believe in benefits of free market capitalism.
“The challenge for free markets, and for capitalism, is manifold: the message is tarnished, the frames are poor, and, fundamentally, the moral case for what they achieve is missing. We need to rectify each of these shortcomings. To do that we need to understand the problem, understand what drives the coming generation, and find ways to remake the argument for an economic system that, however imperfect, is still providing the greatest opportunities in the history of mankind.”
The “message is tarnished” and Rowley wanted a “moral case for free markets.” His modus operandi was PR not analysis.
After a pointless chapter on “youthquake” – Rowley’s invention that he subsequently dismissed, he bemoaned polls that showed some young people are aware of how capitalism operates and in whose interests.
“Youth, when asked in polls commissioned by those favourable, unfavourable, and agnostic towards capitalism or market solutions – are clearly sceptical about what is on offer. Lower taxes, less spending, and smaller government polls badly. Support for the removal of red tape is shockingly low.”
“Socialism has moved out of the history books” and “socialist economics is now discussed as if it is a solution” were examples of Rowley’s frequent pantomime displays of fake incredulity. “The idea of dynamic outcomes in taxation, or the opportunity cost of taking more of other people’s money, now almost entirely untroubles the public discourse,” he declared dramatically while sidestepping the fact that what he described there was normal human nature: Caring about other people and not being rabid libertarian selfish twerps.
Throughout Rowley conflated “capitalism” with “liberalism” with the dual connected intents of obscuring capitalism’s intrinsic illiberal methodology and positing socialism as opposed to liberal philosophy. It was a very lazy con-trick of repetition.
His continuous abuse of the definition of “liberal,” both philosophically and politically, exposed several facets to his methodology.
Wilful misrepresentation of accepted political definitions
Utter contempt for the intelligence and knowledge of the people he claimed he intends to convert
Constant suppression of cognitive abilities in his FREER disciples
Rowley admitted that “there is a widespread cultural, political, and perception problem with liberalism [he meant capitalism] and free markets.” Yes, there is because people are aware of how capitalism, free markets and libertarian (not liberal) philosophies are harmful and feed only a small elite of wealth terrorists. The latter are, of course, the money behind think-tanks like Institute of Economic Affairs for whom Rowley works.
“Why are free markets not seen as ideals?” was asked with more pretend surprise. Rowley wanted to know why, by his logic, people didn’t want to support a system that offered opportunities to succeed at others’ expense by taking some risks. “Why do you need particular assets, or a stake in the system, to recognise the virtues of independence, aspiration, and personal freedom?” The depiction of socialism as a restraint on independence, aspiration and freedom was a tired old oft-debunked misrepresentation as was the symbiotic depiction of capitalism as an enabler of those qualities, but Rowley was not afraid to keep repeating the same deceptive mantras like a Scientologist selling a Hubbard book.
The key part of Rowley’s gormless paper were his answers to his question “what would convince younger voters to change their views and perspectives, if anything?”
The real question he asked was “what deceptive strategy is needed to persuade young people?”
Referring to a FREER survey he said “our intention was to get behind the raw numbers that show that capitalism has an image problem.” The problem, for Rowley’s ilk, is that capitalism’s “image” reflects its reality and it is that correlation that Rowley, and Institute of Economic Affairs, are desperate to break. The survey also concluded that commerce has “an image problem.” So, tax dodging, low wages, no job security and poor working conditions are an “image problem?”
To correct the “image problem” of capitalism Rowley suggested a few tactics of conmanship and presentation that the disciples of the FREER cult could use to persuade younger people to not be led astray by socialism. As often in his paper, Rowley referred to these disciples as “liberals.” He reminded them that “there is a moral mission at the heart of our politics.” Can I get a ‘Hallelujah!’
Rowley stated his intent to embed two blatant lies in the advice he gave to his imaginary army of capitalist disciples for them to spread the word across the land about the benefits of capitalism over socialism.
Lie no.1: Austerity is not capitalism
“Separate austerity from capitalism: in the last decade, capitalism and austerity have become inextricably intertwined. Those of us who remember capitalism before the crash can, just about, remember some of its benefits.”
“Austerity” is a feature of Tory strategy. It is deliberate policy. Its purpose is to remove public funding for all public services and divert the money into the hands of privateer vultures – the private “owners” of public services, and to remove vital funding for welfare, health, etc. in order to feed further tax cuts for the wealthiest. Tory “austerity” policy is a continuation of normal Tory policy and, thus, it is normal policy of a capitalist government. The choice by the Tories to impose “austerity” on the poorest people in Britain is a decision that has absolutely no connection to difficulties experienced by some international financial institutions ten years ago, described as “the crash” by Rowley above.
Later, Rowley expanded on his separation theme.
“For most of the last decade, public policy [Tory policy] has focused on reducing the debt, and the inevitable ‘cuts’ narrative that flows from opponents of it.”
Savage cuts – real cuts, not part of a “narrative” – have been deliberate decisions by Tory governments. The “debt” has increased markedly during recent Tory governments and the Tories’ policies, described as “austerity,” have never had the intent of reducing fiscal debt.
Lie no.2: Capitalism is synonymous with liberalism
“Liberalism has become too heavily reliant upon the allure of negative freedom. We need to demonstrate how liberal policies provide freedom to ‘do’ not just to protect people ‘from’“
Liberalism, politically, is a subset of capitalism but not synonymous with it. But, when Rowley promoted liberalism in NGC he meant liberal philosophy. As a philosophy, liberalism is not bound by a political position. Rowley’s clumsy con to present (philosophical) liberalism as the same as capitalism was a salesman’s subterfuge; he knew liberalism was an easier sell than capitalism.
Rowley’s description of socialism was as dishonest as his description of capitalism. He displayed FREER’s Tea Party influence with a bizarre Bannon-like depiction of Socialism’s vanguard.
“Socialism endures both because of its simplicity, and the institutional sympathy that permeates the media, the civil service, and the dinner parties. We can declare war on Hampstead, as they’ve done on the East Coast in the States.”
Armed with the misrepresentations and attitudes described above, Rowley’s guide for FREER disciples to con the younger public – which, as he rightly observed, is anyone under fifty – stated lies as incontestable facts to the disciples and suggested tricks to spread the lies and build the congregation.
“Every day for the last three decades, the number of people living in absolute poverty has reduced by over 130,000, living standards have risen, life expectancy has grown, trade has expanded massively. We have done the impossible: kept ahead of massive population growth by improving living standards across the world and, in most cases, not just for the richest in global society. Capitalism works.”
“Choose the right words; Have a better conversation; Speak from the heart.”
On the use of words, Rowley was distressed that people were using words such as “poverty” to describe poverty. “We can only properly expound our arguments when we have created the framework for them to be understood. Language matters.” Propaganda matters.
Rowley’s “better conversation” included admitting that businesses can fail and that individual capitalists make errors. But, his offered solution was that businesses that fail should be allowed to collapse with no regard to the effect on employees or customers, including users of vital public services. Rowley promoted individuals gambling and, possibly, failing and sod the consequences for others, who didn’t gamble.
The “speak from the heart” mini-doctrine for the FREER disciples was as creepy as expected.
“We fail to connect at a deeper, more visceral level.” “This mission to convince is all the more important for younger voters; they need to hear the emotional case and, crucially, they need to hear it on their own terms.” “Those who have studied the millennial cohort suggest they display certain shared characteristics subtly different to other groups.” “Their ability to live and love is central to the journey they are on – and the pathways they choose are even wider and smoother than for those of us who grew up just a few years before them.”
Rowley admitted the cult-like nature of his aim – “seeking converts” – and then asked the FREER disciples to “engage honestly.” Given the embedded lies in his doctrine, lies that are the basis of the entire presentation, by “engage honestly” Rowley meant “stick to the fraudulent script supplied to you that I have elucidated in this paper.”
Rowley saw “free stuff” where others see public services.
“The perception of capitalism as something that harnesses and empowers human ingenuity to create better lives for everyone is tenuous in the minds of those who are tempted by ‘free stuff’, and, more importantly, the ability to improve the world at the same time as receiving that free stuff.”
By “free stuff” he meant NHS, education, police service, fire service, welfare provision, affordable housing, state pensions, public libraries, affordable and efficient public transport and utilities, legal aid, etc. He meant the building blocks of society. From his extremist libertarian, not liberal, viewpoint anything that supports humane society is to be removed and space allowed only for gamblers, exploiters and wealth terrorists.
A chapter that expanded on the deception that “austerity is not capitalism” spewed another common misrepresentation by claiming that it isn’t capitalism that is intrinsically bad but it is bad capitalism that is bad.
“If politics continues to deal with the prolonged hangover of excessive risk taking -without explaining that such risk taking was a failure of regulation of the system, rather than the system itself – it is understandable that skewed conclusions may be drawn.”
Capitalism fights constantly against regulations because all regulations are obstacles to the goal of capitalism: Exploitation. All regulations have been created against capitalism and many have had to be fought for over many battles; for example, workers’ rights, health and safety regulations, financial conduct regulations, etc. None of these regulations were created by the capitalists who opposed all of them. The “system” has always wanted to operate regulation-free.
“We might start with a new positive vision of the future” preceded mentions of new technology and automation in industry, but such innovations are not specific to capitalism, and capitalism, by its very nature, will seek to continue to use technological advances as tools to exploit workers. It was a random juxtaposition by Rowley.
“Our past should caution us to avoid the excesses of the Blair and Brown years.” Rowley did not mean Blair’s illegal war in Iraq nor did he mean Brown’s reckless attitude to financial regulation; Rowley meant the few attempts that the two prime ministers made to clawback some of the destruction of the Thatcher years.
A theme of the guidance to the FREER disciples from Rowley was they should explain that capitalism’s recent failures occurred because capitalism wasn’t free market enough.
“We have got here through two or three generations of politicians promising the world, mortgaging the future, and failing to level with those in society who they are seeking to govern and protect.”
Those “politicians” referred to above were (and are) capitalist politicians.
“There is merit and morality in spending restraint, and it is a fundamental principle of conservative thought that we pay our way, through consecutive economic cycles, in order to pave the way for a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.”
The above is, of course, trash. Reductions to vital public infrastructure favour only the wealthiest elite.
Throughout NGC, Rowley’s complaint was that capitalism has not been destructive enough toward society. He accepted that the last eight years of Tory destruction has deterred younger people from supporting capitalism and his solution to the declining support was to claim that less public spending and more savage cuts would have been better. That is economically and politically illogical but the purpose of his guide for the FREER disciples was to instill a spiritual doctrine that eschewed logic and deductive analysis.
Bannonesque incoherent ramblings popped up here and there.
“The competition element of free markets, the willingness to break things up, to fight for the small guy, to be sceptical of big business, and to be scornful of monopolies, are all disruptions which we should welcome. If we do not develop a new, robust ‘capitalism that solves problems’ policy prospectus, free from the draining austerity narrative, then we should not be surprised when socialism tries to fill in those gaps.”
There is no such thing as a “new capitalism.” Rowley’s, or Bannon’s, “small guy” will always be crushed or assimilated; capitalism is by nature destructive and seeks to consume. The plea above was one of fantasy but Rowley knew that.
He was careful to repeat distracting accusations and to throw the blame (for fiscal economic difficulties) elsewhere. “We may be condemned to always having to pick up from social democrats and socialism when the money runs out.”
Rowley mocked left-wing activists for using technology and drinking coffee. “A bemused picture of anti-capitalist warriors recording and curating their mission on Instagram, agreeing whom to demonstrate against next via Whatsapp and fuelling themselves with coffee from Starbucks” and he pretended to question the intellectual capacity of younger people to understand the stupid point he made. “We may be bewildered by the apparent failure of the next generation to grasp the underlying incongruity but, in reaching that conclusion, we misunderstand the structures within which youth work and act.” Why are these younger people too knowledgeable and intelligent to appreciate the nuances of Rowley’s concoctions of stupidity?
“Employment is at an all-time high.” Yes, some people have several different zero-hours jobs at subminimum wage.
His running joke of equating the existence of consumer products with capitalism allowed him to construct a bizarre argument that younger people are ignorant of a scenario whereby all consumer products and new technology would disappear with socialism.
“The triumph of capitalism creates the risk of its downfall; people have disassociated the plentiful products of the free market from the free market itself.”
In another Bannonesque moment, Rowley was wistful about the fact that old white men cannot continue to enjoy underserved privilege. “In the quest to free ourselves from our class, gender, background, and race, we are becoming their prisoners again,” he bemoaned after a clumsy critique of political correctness.
He had yet another twist of logic for his followers. Apparently, according to Rowley, younger people who support liberal philosophy in a social environment are blind to “its economic counterpart [capitalism].”
Capitalism is supported by control (legal and physical) to try to ensure the exploited don’t prevail but Rowley’s false analysis was to present capitalism as freedom, with “values.” “An appeal to the underlying values upon which our economics are based, which are also at the heart of our societal and cultural outlook, could yet ensure more people make the link.”
Despite the huge bias in newspapers and broadcast media in favour of a right-of-centre perspective, Rowley was concerned about the success of the use of social media platforms to promote left-of-centre views. These fears have been expressed frequently in recent years and have led others to seek censorship. The Tories instructed Lord Bew to concoct a report designed as a tool to encourage online censorship and Tory MP Chloe Smith was given a made-up ministerial post in order to oversee changes to the law that would restrict access to the right to vote and access to stand in elections.
Tories have tried haplessly to counter the success of online leftwing activism including Tory chair Brandon Lewis’ army of twitter trolls. The problem for free marketeers in online discourse is that they spout dishonest scripts whereas leftwing activists speak honestly and factually. It is an uneven contest with one winner every time and that winner is not relentless liar James Cleverley. Every contribution by right-wing think-tank gimps from Institute of Economic Affairs, Tax-Payers’ Alliance or Adam Smith Institute gets the full treatment: A virtual slapping frenzy.
Rowley’s assessment of leftwing success online caused him distress. “Momentum has an almost reverential reputation for the quality and messaging of its videos.” Predictably, he denigrated leftwing discourse.
“These videos [Momentum videos] are simple, attractive, and eye-catching.” “People believe what those they know tell them.” “An associated problem is that social media largely dumbs down debate.” “Communication has been democratised and those who shout loudest are, currently, cutting through.” “Liberalism [Rowley meant free-market capitalism] takes more than a few hundred characters to explain. Socialism doesn’t.”
Despite his encouragement to the FREER disciples to get involved in online debate Rowley looked forward to newer forms of communication and debate.
“Perhaps, over the long-term, society will move back toward appreciating more considered, thoughtful, and nuanced views. Potentially, we are seeing the first shoots of that with increased subscriptions for pay-walled news sites, the growth of ‘longread’ journalism, and the development of ‘slow news’.”
“Pay-walled news sites” should keep the pesky riff-raff out. “Slow news” is a farcical invention of ex-Times and ex-BBC James Harding via his absurd dead-on-arrival Tortoise news site. Rowley chose to depict leftwingpeople as incapable or unwilling to tackle a “longread;” has he never tried to read Marx’s Capital?
The final chapter of Rowley’s deception-ridden paper was a plaintive cry that capitalism must “sell something” to younger people to convince them that it will improve their lives. By “convince” he meant “con.” He said the gofers for exploitative capitalism must find a new way of conning people into believing nonsense. He didn’t offer any details of this new method other than vague suggestions that focus should be on what can help people individually rather than what is better for the whole of society.
Rowley’s NGC was a spiritual guidebook on how the FREER disciples should concoct narratives to fool people. His intent was to indoctrinate the FREER disciples into repeating stock fraudulent soundbites and mini-arguments at the intended targets for whom they should have no respect.
It was a Tea Party document with slightly better grammar. The axioms of dishonesty were stated, followed by contortions of faux analysis, misappropriation of political definitions, ham-fisted analogies, Bannonesque terminology and supercilious attitudes toward the intended target of the propaganda.
Rowley asked why, if some people are doing alright then why do they care about those who don’t? Throughout Rowley sounded like a petulant loser who would not consider the reason for the loss. His conclusions withered as they were written.
In August, Etonian Boris Johnson used his column in the Telegraph to promote anti-Islam bigotry. His derogatory and mocking comments achieved their aim of inciting abuse and threats against Muslim women.
This week the Tory party fully endorsed Johnson’s rabble-rousing and described his remarks as “respectful and tolerant.” The pat on the back for Johnson from his party was unsurprising and fitted into the continuous Tory policy of othering and encouragement of racism and prejudice.
The tactic of directing anger elsewhere, away from the culprits in the Tory party and the wealth terrorists for whom they work, is embedded in Tory ideology and intrinsic to being a Tory MP. In the 1980s, the Tories developed a cohesive strategy of othering including racism, anti trades’ union, anti single mothers, anti-Irish, anti-Argentine, etc. Some of the invented enemies have changed since then – today, there is more anti-Muslim, anti-homeless, anti-disabled and anti-EU rhetoric from the Tories – but the strategy remains intact. A recent example was Housing Secretary James Brokenshire’s attack on homeless people: Brokenshire.
Endorsement of prejudice and bigotry by the Tory government has encouraged normalisation of extreme-right perspectives and mainstreaming of key protagonists. Within the last few weeks the BBC yes-platformed committed racist and white supremacist Steve Bannon at an event in Edinburgh, Brexit grifter Darren Grimes felt confident enough during a live TV interview to call for violence from the far-right if Brexit were to be cancelled and unelected peer Malcolm Pearson invited professional criminal and racist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon to a tour of the Houses of Parliament.
Boris Johnson is a product of his schooling. Removal of humanity and shame and inculcation of selfishness and ignorance are prominent modules at the Eton machine. Other similar products of Eton are David Cameron, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Zac Goldsmith (anti-Islam campaign as London mayoral candidate against Sadiq Khan) and Malcolm Pearson (see above). Johnson’s racism is part of his personality but it is also part of his professional armoury learnt at school.
The consequences of the Tories’ othering and blame-shifting are unbounded: Violent racist assaults, violent assaults on homeless people and violent police assaults on protesters with disabilities are commonplace. Racists are emboldened when public figures agree with them. Johnson knew what he was doing when he published his comments.
Tory chair and deputy chair respectively, Brandon Lewis and James Cleverly, are a pair of very stupid men. Witless and ignorant, they bring shame to the character of Peter Principle.
Stupidity is not necessarily a barrier to doing well in life. Many unskilled professions, such as politics, journalism, broadcasting, senior positions in the military and police force, and, of course, several layers of management in business, do not require intelligence or wide general knowledge or insight. Specific knowledge is needed alongside the capability to follow instructions and a willingness to indulge in repetitive, relentless cerebral drudgery. Furthermore, not only is stupidity not a barrier for such occupations, it is also an advantage, even a necessity, because the accompanying facets of personality associated with stupidity – no self-awareness, no shame, no concept of society, no capacity for intellectual assessment of given tasks, stunted humanity – are useful tools to enable the stupidee to perform without hesitation or self-analysis and with blissful glee.
Current Prime Minister Theresa May made good use of her stupidity until she encountered the need for clarity of thought, deductive reasoning and foresight in order to negotiate a workable method for exiting the European Union. However, her stupidity shone again after a succession of defeats and near defeats – including an inter-party vote of no confidence, a conviction for contempt of parliament and abandonment of a key vote on a Brexit deal – were shrugged off nonchalantly by using stupidity’s concomitant qualities of shamelessness, detachment from awareness and conflation of truth and lies.
Stupid attracts stupid.
The respective roles of Lewis and Cleverly in the Tory party are interchangeable. Both are required to be cheerleaders for Tories and for Tory policy and to attack opposition politicians and policies. Nowhere in their remits is there any suggestion or guidance regarding the veracity of any statements they speak or write.
The dishonesty and invention of both, particularly in unchallenged scenarios, such as online, is relentless and unbounded. No comment is ever considered by them to be too fanciful, too absurd or too libellous to be uttered or typed. Both men are ignorant of the difference between truth and lies – one of stupidity’s attributes.
Most of their contributions are laughable but that doesn’t deter them or perturb them. Stupidity is not perturbed by criticism or mocking laughter; its intrinsic lack of shame ensures immunity from intellectual perturbation.
Their stupidity aids them in day-to-day activities in and around parliament. Two recent examples, one for each stupidee, show how the consequences of stupidity can create an advantage in a combative scenario.
1) On 17th July this year, in a vote in parliament on an EU-related Bill, Brandon Lewis was paired with Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson who was unable to attend the vote in person because she was on maternity leave. Lewis, after a brief discussion with Tory Chief Whip Julian Smith, voted despite the pairing arrangement. A short clip of him scuttling out of the chamber to the voting lobby looked like a small child dashing to the biscuit tin after a parent had finally agreed he could have one more biscuit. Lewis’ carefree and unfettered skip to the voting lobby could not have been achieved without an absence of normal human intelligence; for a non-stupid person a twitch, a furtive glance around or even a pretence at nonchalance would have occurred but Lewis just skipped away.
2) Yesterday (December 19th) James Cleverly, a man whose name proves the existence of nominative indeterminism, enjoyed the magical zoom properties of his glasses when he claimed he was able to lip read something from the back of the chamber that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said (or didn’t) under his breath. He did not know what Corbyn said but Cleverly’s experience as a liar and inventor, coupled with expectation that the obedient media would play along, encouraged him to indulge in a bizarre pantomime of fake outrage. His body language, facial expressions and verbal contortions were acted out preposterously in parliament while his staff passed on the instructions for support to the newspapers and broadcasters. Cleverly’s unnatural behaviour was created by his stupidity that allowed him to focus on a lie without a second’s deviation; self-awareness, self-analysis, rational thought and shame were absent thanks to stupidity’s broom brushing such aspects of human intellect under the carpet in Cleverly’s brain. The necessity of stupidity in action.
Self-deception is easier for the stupid to attain. Full immersion in the mire of self-ignorance is a state available only to the stupid. The Tory party is packed full of immersed stupidees and that is beneficial to those for whom the Tories work who need stupid obedient gimps.
It is alleged that Jeremy Corbyn called Theresa May a “stupid woman” in parliament today during Prime Minister’s Evasions.
However, if you look carefully at the video clip you will see that what Mr. Corbyn said was:
“Stupid, lying, thieving, murdering, racist, corrupt piece of Tory excrement, who is destroying public service infrastructure for the benefit of privateer vultures who are regular donors to the Tory party like G4S, who is overseeing the dismantling of the NHS and the siphoning of money supposedly for health into grubby grasping hands of fake healthcare businesses like Virgin, who is dismantling the provision of welfare leading deliberately to destitution, debt, homelessness and death particularly for people with disabilities via the Tories’ Social Murder policy, who regularly uses racism as a tool of division including destroying the lives of British citizens who are part of the Windrush generation, who has removed legal aid to stop people with little money from challenging those who have a lot of money, who has removed workers’ rights and union rights to allow exploitative employers to reduce wages, worsen working conditions and remove job security, who stole thousands of pounds of pensions from women, who has made huge cuts to policing leading to consequential rise in unsolved crime, who acts as an arms broker in deals with mass murderers like Bin Salman, who fully supports antisemitic authoritarian dictator Viktor Orban, who seeks a cliff-fall no-deal Brexit that suits disaster capitalists, who continues to enable billions of unpaid taxes to go unpaid as the wealthiest tax-dodgers keep on tax-dodging, whose parliamentary party is full of corrupt gimps of wealth terrorists, whose husband makes millions out of the consequences of her decisions, who evades every question put to her by opposition MPs or by the media, who lies persistently and relentlessly every time she opens her mouth, who laughs her head off in parliament whenever opposition MPs highlight the devastating effects of Tory policy on people’s lives, who is a snivelling little coward and who has the personality of an assassin of children.”
The process of Brexit has been a boon for the careers of a variety of professionals in a variety of careers and with a variety of stated political objectives.
Two and a half years of failures of preparation and confused negotiations by the Tory government has allowed grifters to forge quasi-careers as professional opinion givers and pseudo analysts and develop undeserved self-importance.
Brexit grifters, or Brexifters, appear across much of the political spectrum, within the political bubble, the media bubble and elsewhere.
The far-right is a political boil whose most vocal proponents are almost always blatant grifters. Nigel Farage, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, Melanie Phillips, Arron Banks, Andy Wigmore, Isabel Oakeshott, Darren Grimes, Julia Hartley-Brewer and Rod Liddle are rabble-rousing far-right voices who are in it for the money. Income streams from books, articles, TV appearances and online donations are their motivation. None has a genuine opinion or belief. It’s all about the money.
The reaction of most medium and large businesses to Brexit uncertainty is to cut and run leaving their employees and customers in the lurch. A few have adopted a political stance to grab media time in order to promote their businesses, none more so than pub chain owner Tim Martin. The willingness of TV producers to invite this buffoon on to spout drivel is a symptom of the former’s stupidity.
In the houses of parliament many Tory MPs and lords are employed by the representatives of disaster capitalists and other would-be beneficiaries of a cliff-fall no-deal Brexit. Every word spoken and every action taken by these MPs and lords is in aid of wealth terrorists who are salivating at the thought of how much money they can make rapidly from a disastrous abrupt departure from the EU. Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Michael Gove are the epitome of venality and recent Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and current Health Secretary Matt Hancock receive regular salaries from disaster capitalists’ lobby group the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). Tory MP Lee Rowley is co-chair of FREER, a subsidiary of IEA.
Residual walking dead of New Labour have welcomed Brexit as an opportunity to rake it in as astroturfers opposing it. Tony Blair, king of grifters, has popped up in stage-managed media work to promote himself and his institute and has gallivanted around Europe on various expenses paid jollies. A man who isn’t the most successful politician in his family, David Miliband, has deigned to give a few paid interviews from his home in another country.
Right-wing Progress subset of Labour has used Brexit primarily as a tool to criticise Jeremy Corbyn but they are not averse to making money out of it. Brexit has greatly enhanced the earning potential of professional centrists via media appearances, highly paid articles and attendance at events. Chuka Umunna managed to get paid twice for the same vacuous article, once for its publication on the Independent website and once for its inclusion on the website of his fake think tank Progressive Centre UK (PCUK), a lobby group he co-created that pays him £65040 per annum. The aforementioned David Miliband is on the board of PCUK’s sister lobby group in Italy, Volta.
Without Brexit, the careers of many centrist journalists would have decayed to nothing. Jonathon Freedland imitator Matthew D’Ancona’s usefulness was increasingly nebulous but ill-informed garbled non sequiturs from a supposedly remain perspective are almost as lucrative as the opposite nonsense from the brexcrement mob. D’Ancona made the bold move of creating a magazine, Drugstore Culture, for him and colleagues to espouse clumsily their basic views on Brexit; it is similar to 80s’ magazine The Face if a face had sat framed in Dorian Gray’s attic for thirty years. Ian Dunt, notorious for equating Jeremy Corbyn with Viktor Orbán, reactivated his disappearing career by positioning himself as the media’s goto voice to counter ignorant screaming heads such as Tim Martin. Dunt’s role is an easy one because his debate opponents are unintelligent and ignorant. Easy role, easy money. Neither D’Ancona nor Dunt add worth to the debates in and around Brexit. Nick Cohen’s work needs no observation.
The Progress subgroup People’s Vote is a template for grifting. Its most visible protagonist Femi Oluwole travels around (at whose expense) interviewing Brexit supporters and correcting their (lack of) knowledge of the relationship between Britain and the EU. Brass Eye’s fake vox pops were part of a satirical comedy show by the genius Chris Morris but Oluwole‘s efforts are self-aggrandisement for him and a nice little earner.
Satirical comedy has a fine history but at present British TV comedy is populated by run-of-the-melt comedy-by-numbers characters who proclaim from a single witless script hitting the easiest of targets. O’Briain, Hills and Cruttenden eschew wit and are the antithesis of skillful satirists like Frost and Bremner, but simplistic bland comedy pays a steady income.
The TV current affairs careers of Robert Peston and Andrew Neil linger because Brexit provides some stories each day that they can splutter about barely coherently and pick up the cheque. James O’Brien’s rise to a steady job in broadcasting is due entirely to him being the Remain version of Farage.
Brexit is a political issue but members of the legal profession are adept at recognising a source of income for themselves. They know that most of the public, almost all of the politicians and everyone who works in newspapers and broadcasting can be duped into believing that a barrister or lawyer has a unique and informative opinion to offer in exchange for a fee. Jo Maugham has cast himself as a centrist leader of opinion, ready and available for a seat in a TV studio or a spot on Parliament Green with the ‘QC’ after his name his authorisation; he has nothing more to offer than the aforementioned Dunt and D’Ancona.
Brexifting can be lucrative and is steady work. As shown above, knowledge, insight and didactic narratives are not essential requirements; sufficient skills include a chosen specific political point from which to proclaim and a capacity to repeat relentlessly without pausing for self-reflection or shame.
Yesterday Theresa May lost a vote of confidence in her right to be Prime Minister.
200 MPs voted in favour. 450 MPs did not vote in favour.
Despite the abject defeat, Theresa May will continue as Prime Minister.
It is a mockery of democracy that a Prime Minister is allowed a mandate to continue when more than two-thirds of elected representatives did not vote for her to have that mandate. However, the apparent legality of the continuation of her tenure as Prime Minister after such a heavy defeat is typical of the faux democracy in Britain where an unelected head of state, an unelected second chamber – the House of Lords – and the Supreme Court can interfere with the decisions of an elected government.
The British system of government is intrinsically opposed to real democracy. It is a con, a subterfuge and a sham. The sooner it is removed the better.
Tory social media accounts last weekend were full of ghoulish MPs grinning victoriously as they celebrated the necessity for foodbanks.
Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab was pictured above wearing a bib asking for donations to foodbanks. Raab is an employee of Institute of Economic Affairs, an extremist libertarian think-tank that promotes the complete destruction of public service infrastructure and is funded by disaster capitalists seeking a cliff-fall no-deal Brexit, and he wrote an essay for another such think tank, Centre For Policy Studies, wherein he demanded a bonfire of workers’ rights, human rights and health and safety regulations: Raab’s ‘Escaping The Straight Jacket’.
Claire Perry, who attracted infamy to herself via a deliberate libellous remark about Jeremy Corbyn on BBC’s Question Time, seemed ecstatic in the photo above. People go to foodbanks because they need the food to survive. Using a foodbank is never a choice. Perry’s glee was akin to shitting in the faces of the people who are forced by destitution to go to a foodbank. A pair of scissors was in her hand; she had cut a ribbon to open the foodbank.
Via his think-tank Centre For Social Justice, Iain Duncan-Smith created the vicious policies that caused the destitution that led to the necessity for foodbanks. His presence at a foodbank with a forced smile was particularly disgusting. He had the smirk of a successful assassin.
Some Scottish Tory MPs publicised their respective visits to foodbanks with similar comments. A template from Tory central office helped to construct the messages and each MP was careful to remember to advertise the supermarket.
Clearly, the only reasons for an exponential rise in the number of foodbanks and an even steeper rise in the number of users are Tory policies on welfare, housing and employment law. The mix of a multitude of vicious cuts to benefits, sanctions, high rents and low-paid, low-hours insecure employment has left millions of people with insufficient income to survive. Foodbanks, relying on donations from the public, are a fine example of public generosity but are also a guilty verdict on the Tories Social Murder strategy.
The Tories’ motivation to be photographed at foodbanks was a PR stunt for the MPs and for the party. The stage-managed coordinated nature of the photo opportunities over the last few days was not only a grotesque insult to the users of foodbanks but also an insult to the general public because the Tories assumed everyone will fail to make the connection between the prevalence of foodbanks and Tory policy.
These PR stunts were infused with ghoulishness and pleasure. An acute absence of humanity is required to be able to grin with pleasure at the existence of a last resort for survival when the grinner is the direct and only cause of the destitution that led to that last resort. The Tory MPs that partook of the stunt were proud of themselves. They had the air of hunters posing in front of their kills.
People’s willingness to donate to foodbanks is a wonderful natural human response. It is humanity that the Tories could never understand or even imagine. For the Tories, a foodbank is a photo opportunity devoid of self-awareness.