Minor TV celebs Rachel Riley and Tracy Ann Oberman teamed up with lawyer Mark Lewis to try to censor online communications of left-wing activists.
Celebs’ fragile egos Both Riley and Oberman have been voluminously active on social media platforms recently where they have engaged in combative political discourse.
The key conclusion from Riley and Oberman’s online engagement is that people with greater knowledge, intelligence and social awareness were able to refute and destroy most of the political points made by the pair.
Repeated defeat in arguments did not sit well with the respective egos of Riley and Oberman. The ease with which their opponents dispensed with them led to both adopting an aggressive approach.
Dogpiling A young Labour activist was targetted by Oberman in a deliberate attempt to intimidate and shut down and Riley joined in with the intimidation of the same activist.
Tactics used by Oberman and Riley followed a familiar right-wing strategy of encouraging people to target an opponent – dogpiling – and of provoking a reaction from allies of their opponent. The next step was to use fallacious legal threats against anyone who criticised or exposed the dogpiling tactic.
Malicious ‘legal’ threats Mark Lewis claimed he issued legal threats on behalf of Riley and Oberman to seventy people including some who had complained about their behaviour. Jim Waterson reported in Lewis legal threats that Lewis claimed he “is contacting people who have either posted allegedly libellous claims about his clients or repeatedly sent them large numbers of messages, which he says is tantamount to harassment.”
The actions of Lewis have more than one objective:
Shut down political criticism of the views of Riley and Oberman
Remove left-wing activists from social media platforms
Dissuade others from engaging in left-wing activism and of challenging right-wing rhetoric
Distract from and cover-up the intimidation tactics used by Oberman and Riley
Notably, Lewis was aware of the young Labour activist who had been the recipient of Riley and Oberman’s dogpiling tactic. Waterson reported that “one of the Twitter users describes herself as a 17-year-old girl, earning Lewis criticism from those who accuse him of targeting a child. He said if the user could prove she is a minor then no action will be taken against her.”
Censorship For most people, a threat of legal action is sufficient to shut them up and legal threats against other people is sufficient to deter many activists from expressing an opinion.
Lewis, Oberman and Riley are indulging in political censorship; political censorship by the wealthy of the less wealthy.
Yet again, Tory leader Theresa May showed utter contempt for parliament and for the British people by postponing the meaningful vote in parliament on Brexit. The government is legally obliged to allow the vote.
(Update: March 12th: Meaningful vote held in parliament; May defeated by 149 votes)
A further postponement of the oft-delayed meaningful vote on Brexit is part of May’s strategy to dodge progress on a negotiated withdrawal deal from the EU so that Britain crashes into a cliff-fall no-deal Brexit.
Such an abrupt and unconditional departure would suit disaster capitalists and the vultures waiting to grab what is left of public service infrastructure in Britain. It would suit exploitative businesses who would welcome the end of workers’ rights, the end of health and safety regulations and the end of food standards regulations.
Capita Group One of the main players in disaster capitalism is international crime syndicate Capita Group. Whenever there is war or any other man-made disaster there is money to be made by the most despicable elements in the capitalist machine and Capita is always at the heart of such money-making, taking a cut.
A no-deal Brexit would be a bonanza for tax-dodgers due to the avoidance (no pun) of EU rules on tax havens. All of Capita’s clients, and the companies in which it has investments, are multi-million pound tax dodgers.
Capita needs good contacts in or with governments. For example, its Relationship Manager is Philip May, husband of Theresa May. If no-deal Brexit were to be lucrative for Capita’s clients, and, thus, for Capita itself, then Philip May would be rewarded very handsomely.
Every step May has taken throughout the Tories’ strategy toward Brexit was designed to lead to a scenario where disaster capitalists and tax avoiders can expect huge windfalls at the expense of everyone else.
May versus the British people During the process of Brexit, May was found in contempt of parliament, cancelled or postponed parliamentary votes in violation of legal requirements, lied to parliament, lied to MPs in her party, lied to opposition MPs, lied to the public and lied to the head of state. She treated meetings with representatives of the EU with disdain and with no preparation or plan.
Social Murder policy, privatisation of the NHS and other vital public services, huge cuts to police numbers, chronic housing shortage, rise in pension age for women, closure of public facilities including libraries, imposition of fracking on communities and refusing to tackle tax avoidance are a few examples of Tory policies that act against the British people to favour a few wealthy capitalists.
Austerity, started by David Cameron and intensified by May, has been devastating for millions of people. It has destroyed livelihoods, lives and communities. Its effects will last years. Like privatisation and cliff-fall no-deal, austerity is a policy designed and operated to feed a few wealthy capitalists.
May always acts against the interests of the British people.
Revoke May’s citizenship Earlier this week, May’s Home Secretary Sajid Javid revoked the British citizenship of ISIS member Shamina Begum. Javid set the precedent for removing the British citizenship of someone who has helped a terrorist organisation to take actions that led to deaths of British people.
May has worked on behalf of organisations whose actions have cost more British lives than the actions of ISIS have. If May is allowed to remain (no pun intended) in Britain many more lives will be lost, many more livelihoods will be destroyed and the entire public service infrastructure will be stolen. The argument to remove May’s citizenship, to protect the lives of British people and as a deterrent to others, is stronger than the argument to remove Begum’s citizenship.
FREER was created as a subsidiary of Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in early 2018. In 2021 Free Market Forum (FMF) was created by IEA as an amalgam of Freer and Free Enterprise Group.
FREER/FMF is a platform for Tory MPs to display their commitment to an ideology that serves a tiny elite at the expense of the vast majority. The MPs pocket contributors’ fees that are not classified as political donations.
FREER/FMF and its secret donors use the MPs to promote ideology and tactics that serve the donors’ objectives and to develop close relationships with the MPs to ensure friendly policy decisions are made in parliament.
Cliff-fall no-deal Brexit IEA is owned by disaster capitalists and opportunist capitalists who are enjoying the consequences of Tories’ hard Brexit.
Via Brexit the Tories are accelerating the giveaway of what remains of Britain’s public service infrastructure including the rest of the NHS accompanied by a bonfire of workers’ rights, health and safety regulations, food quality standards, human rights and access to justice. The ultimate aim is the creation of charter cities wherein tax is avoided, all rights are absent and democracy is suppressed.
According to FREER’s mission statement, published in 2018
“Britain’s upcoming departure from the EU provides a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to reassess and reform our country across the whole range of policy areas. The ideas that FREER will champion are those that coalesce around an enduring agenda of unleashing the enterprise, imagination, and inspiration of individual men and women. The initiative is energetic and hopeful for a country that is open, dynamic, enterprising, and thriving. Beyond Brexit, there is an unparalleled opportunity to shape our country.”
The above, preached from the economic libertarian pulpit, was a long-winded admission of a desire to destroy society and public service infrastructure in Britain.
In 2021 FMF said
“As we recover from this [Covid] crisis it will be more important than ever that we unleash the enterprise, imagination, and inspiration of individual men and women.” –FMF: What we do
As a libertarian body FMF’s focus is on ensuring that the wealthiest can exploit both Brexit and Covid to maintain wealth concentration. The “individual men and women” are in a small group.
FMF stated its intent.
“The FMF aims to build on the Free Enterprise Group and FREER’s successes and branch out beyond Westminster, providing resources for and working closely with local councils and councillors, elected mayors, political activists and universities to inspire the next generation of classical liberals and promote the understanding of free markets across the UK.” –FMF: History
The above was a clear admission that FMF’s strategy is its inculcation in government and administration to direct policy and negate democracy, alongside indoctrination of potential grifters to act as salesperson’s and PR staff for free racketeering extremism.
Parliamentary Supporters of FREER/FMF In 2018 FREER claimed that its “Parliamentary Supporters advocate the widest possible debate on freedom as the engine for prosperity and happiness for all” and on the FREER website IEA stated that it is “happy to work with politicians of all parties in an endeavour to promote its mission.”
TOTAL – 60 Green – 0 Labour – 0 Liberal Democrat – 0 Plaid Cymru – 0 SNP – 0 Tory – 60
Tory MPs used FREER and use FMF to regurgitate gormless paeans to the false god of capitalism. Verbose, contradictory, deceptive anti-exposition is their modus crassendi; didactic narrative, exhaustive analysis and logic are eschewed relentlessly.
Their contributions follow a similar aim with similar terminology and similar style. The shared tone is semi-spiritual presentation of the false doctrine of capitalism as an enhancement of human endeavour. There is rigid adherence to a template of confidence trickery with voluminous repetition and wilful visible ignorance of contradiction, omission and breaks in the chain of logic.
In the abstract for ‘A Freer Future’ the authors, Tory MP Lee Rowley and former Tory MP Luke Graham, proclaimed from the pulpit that “socialism stalks our landscape again [Corbyn] – superficially alluring, and as innately dangerous as ever. We are determined to strike at its ossified foundations and highlight its enduring failures.”
Graham and Rowley attempted to raise the church roof as they ejaculated the allure of free-market capitalism.
“We believe in the fundamental principle of individual freedom; the strength and boldness of those who determine their own path; that society and community are made stronger when built, piece by piece, by those who desire to improve it; in the innate power of a sleeker, but enabling, state that empowers individuals and communities to take advantage of their talents and abilities; the collective wisdom of the crowd determined via the market; the innate goodness in voluntary collective endeavour; and the necessity of limiting compulsory collective endeavours to those that we need the most, and that can be done the best. Freedom has unleashed the awesome power of our country before, and, as we plot a new course in the 2020s, beyond Brexit, it can do so again.”
Rowley wrote another paper for FREER that claimed to give advice to the young vanguard of the pro-capitalist army on how to spread the word and con the public. Full analysis here: Next Generation Deception
James Boyd-Wallis claimed to make the moral case for free markets is his essay ‘On Entrepreneurship’ in On Economic Freedom essays. “The moral case rests on the idea that it is only with free enterprise that we can match reward to merit.”
His fallacious argument was that risk-taking by people with wealth, to acquire more wealth, is a moral act rather than simply a financial decision where the balance between failure and success has been calculated before the risk is taken.
“Free enterprise enables us to decide how to spend our time and talents to shape our lives. It enables us all to take risks, innovate, and — quite often — to make sacrifices to earn our success. Numerous studies show that earning our own success is essential to our fulfilment, and ultimately our happiness. Just look at small business owners, of which I am one. Many make less money than they would if they were employed. But they are often happier and more fulfilled because they can see the result of the effort they put in.”
Writing when Jeremy Corbyn was Labour leader Boyd-Wallis admitted that free-racketeering lacks a moral case.
“Just look at the claims of a ‘kinder, gentler’ politics. Left with a binary choice between the moral left and the materialistic right, it’s easy to see why the public swings left. It is this lack of a moral argument for free enterprise that has contributed to Britain’s leftward march.”
His moral argument for “free enterprise” is not a moral argument. It is just a description to which he prepended the adjective “moral” in the hope that if it is repeated often enough as an “moral argument” then it would magically become so.
Elsewhere, Boyd-Wallis asked for support for a petition to the Oxford English Dictionary to expand the definition of ‘accountant’ to “a person whose job is to keep or inspect and advise on financial accounts.” Multi-million pound tax-dodgers rely on advice from accountants. To have the capacity to receive such advice enshrined in the OED could assist tax avoiders from a legal perspective.
Abuse of language: Social liberalism Throughout the FREER literature a phrase recurred frequently: ‘Social liberalism.’
“FREER will be unique in its advocacy of genuinely free-market ideas and its emphasis on both economic and social liberalism.”
Liberty is not the right to exploit others and it is not the survival of the fittest. Liberty is the right to freedom from precisely what the financial backers of FREER/FMF desire. The misuse of ‘Social liberalism’ was a simple two-sided con-trick: (1) It associated fraudulently extreme corporate control of the economy with a diametrically opposed philosophy in order to hide the former’s anti-liberty ideology, and (2) it tried to stifle criticism by claiming that opponents of absolute corporatism are opponents of liberty.
Thirty ideas for 2030 Libertarian think-tanks and lobby groups are keen to set targets for governments to attain by an arbitrary date. FMF’s30 Ideas For 2030(302030), subtitled ‘A collection of policies for a better, brighter Britain by the end of this decade,’ is a hellish concoction of extreme policy proposals/declarations of intent written by MPs and other contributors. All thirty policies are part of a plan to destroy society, destroy public services, destroy government accountability and to destroy democracy.
The policies in 302030 were devised by various extreme think-tanks – IEA, Legatum Institute, Tax-Payers’ Alliance, Centre For Policy Studies, etc. – several years ago. Since 2010 these think-tanks crept into government as advisers and as MP plants such that now there is no differentiation between an MP who contributes to a think-tank and a think-tank member who advises government. We are beyond the legitimate concern of too much influence from 55 Tufton Street on government; today, (January 2022), government and the gofers for the wealthy in think-tanks are the same people.
Each element of FMF’s triaconter is presented deceptively and each has the aim of enhancing wealth concentration while (and by) reducing societal responsibilities of an elected democratic government.
A few snippets from 302030 In ‘Turning the BBC into a subscriber-owned mutual’ Philip Booth said “the BBC should operate in a market in which price signals communicate the value of its output. It could be rejuvenated and thrive as a genuinely independent organisation accountable to its owner-subscribers.” Or, it could remain as a public broadcaster accountable to its “owner-subscribers” otherwise known as the public.
In ‘Amend or repeal the Equality Act’ Tory MP Ben Bradley expressed his concern about discrimination against white men.
“Much has been written [by libertarian extremists] about the plight of white working class boys who, unless they are gay, are often thought to have no ‘protected characteristics’ under the Equality Act.” “There are many reasons for the disenchantment of white working class males, all of which are exacerbated by them being told, overtly or covertly, that they are surplus to requirements. The problem can be traced back to the Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act, passed in 2002 to exempt political parties from the Sex Discrimination Act (1975), thereby allowing the Labour Party to introduce all women shortlists.”
Ben Bradley couldn’t care less about the plight of working-class people, whether men, women, straight gay, white or not. His rhetoric is indistinguishable from extreme-right philosophy.
In ‘Amending the NHS staffing timebomb’ Tory MP Paul Bristow pretended to be concerned about staff shortages in NHS, shortages that are a consequence of his party’s policies, but his proposal was to ask staff to double-job.
“We should do more to break down professional protectionism. The NHS is an incredibly complex organisation, with multiple hierarchical layers, clinical and administrative divides, and a seemingly endless collection of similar job titles.”
Job titles, which are all job descriptions, in the medical profession are precise because medical care is a precise occupation that requires precise skills. Bristow’s ignorance was an example of the wilfully reckless attitude of the Tories.
He exclaimed that “clinicians with decades of experience are often left unable to perform simple procedures because they do not have appropriate accreditation.” Such accreditation exists for a reason: Patient safety.
A well as his lack of interest in medical safety Bristow chose to avoid mentioning that all medical are already overworked and cannot take on more jobs.
In ‘Cut regulation to encourage cooperatives’ Sam Collins sought the abolition of the minimum wage.
“Minimum wages are arbitrarily set without taking into account the economic conditions. The decision to increase the ‘living wage’ by 6 per cent in the middle of the biggest economic catastrophe in 200 years is indicative of this.”
He claimed that regulations such as minimum wage are a hindrance to the existence of cooperatives but offered no explanation or proof of his assertion; he just stated it as a random fact.
In ‘Make Britain the best place to start and grow a business’ Tory MP Dehenna Davison asked for the “planned corporation tax increase” to be “scrapped.”
In ‘Get the state out of childcare’ IEA’s Director Of Communications Annabel Denham complained about “years of creeping state interference” in professional childcare and accused governments of “pumping up demand.”
Her opposition to the cost to “taxpayers,” particularly the £15 per week for childcare for over-threes, did not include any criticism of the privateer childcare industry. She said that “because government pays below the market rate” nurseries raise costs elsewhere.
The problem with pre-school childcare in UK is that “owners” of businesses that provide the care are interested only in profit, whether income comes from parents or from government. Denham has no qualms about exploiters making money out of childcare. She objected to government assistance because of costs to “taxpayers” but did not blame those who demand the costs.
She asked for removal of necessary protections that exist in the form of various regulations related to care of young children.
“Many regulations – restrictions on class size, qualification requirements, the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and strict teacher to child ratios – are unnecessary and damaging. Childminder registration, extensive training. Ofsted inspections and more have driven many lower-cost providers out of the sector.“
For Denham, and for IEA, childcare is just another opportunity for reckless racketeers to make a profit.
In ‘Reinvigorating our shareholder democracy’ Tory MP Jonathan Djanogly bemoaned the decline of “worker share ownership.”
“Of particular concern is the need to attract younger workers towards ownership of and engagement in their employing companies. It’s in all of our interests that we have a real shake-up of Employee Share Ownership schemes as part of our reinvigoration of a share owning democracy.”
A “share owning democracy” is not a democracy; public ownership is and worker ownership is.
A private employer’s profits are not the concern of workers. Workers’ relationship with employers is a relationship of sale of labour.
Djanogly knows that if workers can be conned into thinking their employers’ interests are their interests then workers are less likely to attempt to improve wages or working conditions. Some share ownership schemes/scams demand employees are not members of trades’ unions.
In ‘Let the Big Society flourish’ Tory MP Simon Fell regurgitated David Cameron’s Big Society con-trick that asks charities and volunteers to do the work that should be done by public services. “I propose setting up a Civil Society Empowerment Agency” to “create an index of third sector and civil society organisations, creating a bank of good practice so that they can learn from each other, and helping them measure their impact.”
Fell admitted that “The Big Society was  mired by its association with austerity.” Yes it was, because it was obvious it was an ephemeral invention by Tories to nudge focus away from their destruction of public services and of the government’s societal responsibilities.
In ‘Helping tenants become owner-occupiers’ IEA’s Academic and Research Director James Forder asked for the end of Capital Gains Tax to help multi-property owners make a profit.
“The result of the increase in house prices is that these landlords have large, unrealised capital gains. Whilst they have certainly done well, the obligation to pay Capital Gains Tax if they sell their rental property prevents many from doing so. The result is that the tax system induces them to remain small-scale landlords even when they might prefer to sell up to liquidate cash, or invest elsewhere.”
Forder knows that tax cuts for multi-property owners is not a policy popular with the public so he cast it as helping tenants to buy the home they live in. “The much larger advantage is that it makes it easier for people to stop being tenants and instead become owner-occupiers.” Such deliberate misrepresentation by IEA of policy proposals is typical of its mendacious philosophy.
In ‘Letting schools think and learn differently’ Tory MP Richard Fuller promoted home schooling.
“A great policy success of the last decade has been the free school revolution in the education sector enabling parents to choose between schools, finding the one best suited for their children and strengthening standards across the sector. What if we went further and gave parents more choice over the teachers that educate their children?”
He claimed advances in technology allows teachers to tutor children remotely online.
“This policy is based on choice to teachers, schools and parents with no compulsion to take part in a super teacher scheme.”
Libertarians’ “choice” is always illusory. Fuller ignored the fact that teachers are already over-worked in terms of hours. He spoke of “best performing teachers” but not of a policy of ensuring that all teachers are best performing. Pay, hours and student debt are disincentives to consider a career in teaching. Fuller has no interest in addressing those issues.
In ‘Abolish corporation tax’ Alexander Hammond hacked his way through a cornucopia of deceptive arguments to justify his assertion including “corporation taxes discourage and limit businesses carrying out the activities that are most important to growth,” “these taxes distort and weaken the signal to reallocate capital and resources from low-value activities into higher-value ones, both between different companies and within the same organisation” and “corporation taxes deter investment by reducing retained profits that may otherwise be spent on investment.”
In short, Hammond’s complaint was that businesses don’t like paying tax on their profits. Employees pay tax on their income but Hammond doesn’t want employers to pay tax on their income.
He uttered the usual free-racketeer con by saying “the abolition of corporation tax would encourage greater foreign direct investment which, would create more jobs.” In reality, it would mean more money into offshore accounts of employers.
In ‘A new approach the devolution’ Tory MP Mark Jenkinson claimed the Tory government had “moved power from Westminster to local communities” but power is unusable without funding. Tories removed central funding from councils forcing them to make huge cuts to services and to raise council tax above inflation.
Tories’ concept of “devolution” is central government abstaining from societal responsibilities.
“If local authorities and devolved administrations want the ability to have a serious role in policy making, they must also have to make the hard choices about how to pay for it.”
That statement was a straightforward attack on democracy. There is a correlation between regions, cities and towns that do not elect Tory councils and lower average income, (particularly in England). What Jenkinson said is that if voters continue to vote for other parties then they will suffer financially and with reduced services because the Tory government will cut central funding further.
He said “real power” should be devolved and “communities” will “reap rewards of taking prudent pro-growth decisions.” Of course, “real power” will not be devolved. Real power will remain elsewhere. Elected local administrations will not have the power to stop businesses dodging tax via offshore registration, will not have the power to unprivatise public services, will not have the power to decide on NHS, education and welfare, will not have the power to change the law and will not have the power to choose not to pay for wars and royal family.
Jenkinson wants councils to face all the costs but have none of the benefits of government. He advocates the withdrawal of central government obligations with retention of central government power. He wants to turn non-Tory voting regions of UK into colonies of Westminster with fake autonomy. It is the exact opposite of Boris Johnson’s claim of “levelling up.”
In ‘Making rhetoric a reality’ Tory MP Andrew Lewer expressed his disappointment that the majority of the British public adhered to Covid safety rules to protect their own and others’ health.
“Without strong voices and strong forces pushing back against officiousness, it very easily becomes fixed in place.”
He said “Covid-driven infringements on our liberties are at risk of outstaying their welcome” in the face of increasing numbers of infected people, in part due to a lack of restrictions on movement because of Tory government’s reckless policies.
Lewer had another concern: “I have been deeply troubled by the takeover of the Conservative Party by so-called public health experts who believe the state ought to police our diets. It wants to ban people from seeing pictures of beefburgers in online advertisements, and dictate where supermarkets place certain foods. These limit our freedom.” Tories are limiting freedom, hugely, but where the sausages are in a shop isn’t.
In ‘Remove Barriers to self-employment’ IEA director-general Mark Littlewood declared “the striking trend in working habits over recent years has been the growth of those in self-employment.” To make such an assertion required a highly developed skillset of charlatanism.
What has grown “over recent years” is insecure, underpaid gig economy work with no holiday entitlements, no guarantee of hours and no job security. Exploitative employers, erroneously and, often, illegally, classify their employees as self-employed. This con was allowed to grow by the government.
Littlewood is strongly in favour of false self-employment and is always willing to misrepresent it as advantageous to employees. “The gig economy facilitates flexible working in which workers can dial their number of hours up and down at will – and across a range of different platforms,” he said with all the well-honed confidence of an experienced conman.
He continued his disgusting abuse of logic and of language by describing the need for people to have more than one job as a “side hustle.”
“Over two million British workers already operate a ‘side hustle’ in addition to their main employment.”
Extra jobs, and extra hours, are taken due to the necessity to live and to pay the bills. They are a consequence of low wages, insecure hours and exploitative employers. Littlewood’s support for extreme exploiters requires him to present second jobs as a choice by the employee. He invented a new reality-reversal phrase: “Portfolio careers are set to be much more common.”
Having concocted his deceptive presentation, Littlewood asked for more exploitation.
“To encourage a greater entrepreneurial culture, the state should allow companies to engage a certain number of self-employed workers on a ‘no questions asked’ basis.”
“More flexible and diverse working, whereby we break up our working week and are paid by a wide range of different enterprises, is rapidly replacing the “job for life” approach.”
His final sentence demonstrated the intrinsic strategy of all libertarian think-tanks: Present exploitation as its opposite, as something assisting the exploited: “The state should remove barriers which are preventing it from happening at the speed workers desire.”
In ‘Enabling people in public services’ Tory MP Robin Millar indulged in extremist economic libertarians’ favourite mendacious presentation of public services: He observed the damaging effects of severe government cutbacks on public services and of money squandered by government on privateer invaders in public services, and he concluded that the entire ethos and concept of public services is at fault.
Millar’s conmanship was couched in surreal language of pseudo-humanism as if he had read a couple of out of context quotes from Descartes and Sartre on the back of a cereal box, muddled them up and then tried to form unobtainable coherence.
“Rewired public services must enable potential and encourage human flourishing.”
“The existing ‘social contract’ has unwittingly moved the debate [about public services’ objective] to resource and entitlement, away from nurture and mutual interest.”
His Carrollesque terminology was designed as a distraction ruse. It was a desperate attempt to create substance to his anti-society perspective. It is a common trick of libertarian communication.
As an example of what he wanted he praised Universal Credit, a system of welfare that causes starvation, destitution, debt, homelessness and death, particularly for people with disabilities or chronic illnesses.
“Universal Credit works on a similar principle, engaging the benefit claimant in a journey into work, giving opportunities for learning, development and recovering dignity.”
Nefarious, unashamed fascism exuded from the above quote.
To be unemployed or underpaid is not a loss of “dignity” as Millar claims. Loss of dignity is a consequence of Universal Credit’s murderous sanctions system.
His abdication of societal responsibility included asking patients to do their own healthcare.
“Consider healthcare, where the doctor assumes responsibility for diagnosis, cure and treatment. But the patient is passive. A more human approach can be seen in reforms such as social prescribing. Focused on the wellbeing of the whole person and engaging them in their treatment activates their own agency, rather than just passively accepting care.”
Millar cannot believe that “social prescribing,” whatever he meant by that, is preferable to decision making of an experienced well-trained doctor. The nonsense above is merely an expression of his and Tories’ extreme opposition to the existence of any obligation of government, of the state, to the people.
He is opposed to the role of a government in a democracy.
In ‘Release green belt for housing’ IEA’s Head of Political Economy Kristian Niemietz took a short break from his constant attacks on NHS to offer convoluted and very dishonest comments on housing.
He noted that there is a “housing crisis” that is “Britain’s most pressing social and economic problem” but he chose not mention that no social housing was built in the last decade, that council homes were sold to multi-property offshore exploitative businesses, that rent of privately owned homes is grotesquely expensive or that property ownership is an exploitative scam and is the most visible demonstration of the intrinsic nature of capitalism.
However, he admitted that younger people are not fooled by libertarian propaganda: “According to the IEA’s very own polling, four out of five Millennials (people born 1981-1996) and Zoomers (people born after 1996) blame Britain’s housing crisis on capitalism. Many of them do not simply conclude that the housing market has failed them, they conclude that capitalism as a whole has failed them.”
Niemietz’s fake solution was new houses built on “green belt land” close to “commuter railway stations.” Most such railway stations are already in residential areas, except in some rural areas well away from towns and cities. His solution was drivel.
The purpose of his contribution to 302030 was to promote a discussion that deliberately avoids acknowledging the real cause of a shortage of affordable homes in UK.
In ‘Increase energy security and supply’ Tory MP John Redwood offered no plan or policy that matched the title of his contribution.
He praised “a torrent of investment unleashed by privatisation [of energy supply]” and he bemoaned “a cat’s cradle of market interventions, subsidies and penalties” that “severely damaged this position.” Privatisation of utilities was designed by the Tories to provide free income for “owners.” Deterioration of services and rapidly increasing prices were inevitable consequence of the policy of privatisation. None of the Tories’ “market interventions, subsidies and penalties” were intended to help the public; they were just protectionism for the exploiters.
Redwood’s conclusion/solution was “encouraging private capital” “from competing private sector companies” and “needs to be market driven,” and he said there should be “a refusal to use public subsidy to distort and damage the market.” The “market” is the problem. Redwood has no interest in cost of energy to the public or the quality of a service: His sole interest is profit-making capability of “owners” of public services.
Redwood’s presentation of a reversal of reality was similar to Shanker Singham’s fraudulent justification for charter cities. Therein Singham observed the destructive effects of capitalist exploitation, he blamed an invention of “crony capitalists” and government control, and concluded what is needed is more extreme libertarian exploitation.
In ‘Consider the environmental benefits of road pricing’ Head of FMF Emma Revell continued the 302030 theme of an essay title with no connection to the essay’s intent.
She said “price-sensitive drivers” would “switch to travelling in quieter periods.” Most journeys are work related: Travelling to and from work, and travelling as part of work. These journeys cannot be reset at different times.
Revell wants road pricing to replace “the unpopular and unfair system of fuel duty.” But, road pricing would cost the driver of a fuel-efficient vehicle the same as the driver of a gas guzzler. More expensive cars tend to use more fuel per mile.
Her plan is simply a shifting of tax costs toward people with less money, but she depicted it, fraudulently, as an “environmental benefit.”
In ‘Delivering accountability for government projects’ Tory MP Lee Rowley asked that senior civil servants who work in government departments should be held accountable, including their salaries, for delivery of projects and their costs and delays.
“Make departmental Permanent Secretaries fully accountable for project delivery, including actually having their career prospects affected when projects go wrong. Senior civil service remuneration should be linked to project delivery in their own departments.”
Rowley appeared to forget that senior departmental civil servants work for ministers and that it is the latter who are responsible for success (or otherwise) and costs of projects. It is entirely up to government how much money is spent on a project.
His strategy is to pass blame for government’s lack of foresight, intelligence and planning aptitude.
IEA Editorial and Research Fellow Len Shackleton demanded huge reductions in “occupational regulation, typically requiring particular academic and professional qualifications, work experience, tests of competence and commitments to continuing professional development and codes of practice.” In ‘Reducing the burden of occupational regulation’ he claimed the public didn’t need protections of qualified well-trained staff in public roles because they can use “many online rating apps and websites that aid consumer choice.”
Occupations he mentioned that could benefit from such reductions were “estate agents, private investigators, train drivers, childminders and security guards, nursing, social work and the police.”
“We should make it possible for graduates to teach in state schools without undergoing government-sanctioned teacher training (as in private schools), or for nurses to train without having to take a degree, or people to become social workers without being a graduate in social work, or become lawyers without going through pupillages, or become estate agents or childcare workers without formal qualifications.”
The public prefer to know that people in certain professions can be trusted to be competent. That preference applies to all the professions mentioned by Shackleton (and quoted above). His recklessness is simply a ruse to reduce pay grades for professional workers. He blamed trades’ unions for the existence of such regulations. Yes, the hard work of unions ensures employees and customers are protected from callous wreckers like Shackleton.
In ‘Scrapping Stamp Duty land tax’ Tory MP and FMF co-chair Greg Hands presented an example of someone selling a £900,000 (yes, nine hundred thousand pounds) home, buying a £600,000 home and having to pay £20,000 Stamp Duty (<4%), a figure Hands suggested should be zero. The £20,000 tax seems very low considering the profit made on the house being sold but Hands, a typical Tory, disapproves of wealthy people paying any tax.
He claimed the tax dissuades single people from selling to move to smaller homes and, so, the larger home is not available to, say, a family. There are other reasons why most families don’t purchase £900,000 homes.
He added “Stamp Duty is additional to the deposit and cannot be borrowed as part of a mortgage. That creates a huge obstacle for first time buyers.” If a family can afford a £900,000 home then they can afford to pay their taxes.
“Solving the housing crisis” was a reason Hands gave for his proposal. He did not suggest development of social housing or any restrictions on extortionate rents by landlords.
Despicable Donors As the table on page 6 of a Transparify report into think-tank donor transparency showed, IEA (and its subsidiaries FREER and FMF) keeps its financial backers secret. Alongside three other cheerleaders for public services destruction, Adam Smith Institute, Centre for Policy Studies and Policy Exchange, IEA doesn’t want the public, who are the target of its ideology, to know which tax-dodging organised international thieves and fraudsters are employing PR machines like the IEA.
Links to brief descriptions of other right-wing think-tanks and lobby groups: UK think-tanks
The choir cheering Independent Group is peopled with the usual suspects from the extreme-centre who take any opportunity to oppose a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. The fact that they are cheering for theft of democracy does not worry them.
For someone who prides herself on her investigative skills, Carole Cadwalladr was seemingly oblivious to a clear contradiction in her defence of Independent Group donations.
“There has been a lot of speculation about this, but the Electoral Commission has just confirmed Independent Group’s MPs will be obliged to report donations above £1,500. As you were.”
But, as Cadwalladr is fully aware, donations directly to Independent Group (rather than to its MPs) are not within the remit of the Electoral Commission’s inspection because the former is a private company not a political party. No donations to Independent Group or to its owner, a shell company called Gemini A Limited, will be declared to the Electoral Commission. It is difficult to believe that Cadwalladr was not aware of these facts. The dismissive “as you were” was a demonstration of contempt for democracy.
Character actor turned anti-socialist activist Eddie Marsan made a financial contribution to Independent Group. He was careful to not state whether his donation was to the MPs, and within the remit of Electoral Commission inspection, or directly to private business Independent Group to avoid such an inspection.
“I’m proud to have donated and offered my support to these brave MPs.”
He made no additional comment to explain why he thought MPs who are stealing parliamentary seats are worthy of being called “brave.”
Light entertainment TV presenter Gary Lineker regurgitated the stupid “politically homeless” catchphrase that the hapless centre love to use self-referentially.
“No idea where this will lead, but for many that are politically homeless this could conceivably be a place of shelter from the increasingly extremist political duopoly.”
Lineker did not care that the “place of shelter” the former Labour MPs moved to is not in the place that the people who voted for them want them to be. He was indifferent to the theft of democracy; that indifference is a feature of the extreme-centre’s attitude to democratic responsibility. His description of Labour as “extremist” was pathetically deceptive. Centrists fear “political duopoly” because the terminal battle between exploitation and socialism requires erasure of the centre.
Brexit allowed Ian Dunn to grow his profile (and income) as a voice of Remain. His analysis of Brexit, even when correct, has not been incisive. Dunt is a Brexifter.
Dunt despises socialism. His constant attacks on Corbyn, McDonnell and other left-leaning politicians have been consistently dishonest and petulant. He reached a repugnant depth when he equated Corbyn with antisemitic racism Hungarian president Viktor Orban – Dunt on Orban.
Last week he composed a fan letter to the democracy thieves. It required a concomitant vomit bucket. Dunt began with an excruciating description of three (former) Tory MPs, and big fans of Social Murder, performing for the TV cameras as they crossed the House of Commons to join the Tory-enablers in Independent Group.
“It wasn’t just remarkable for the sight of former political opponents sitting together, or for its news value. It was remarkable because of what it represented. It stood against the poison of the age.”
Even a self-trained ignoramus like Dunt was aware that there has never been any opposition between characters like Soubry and Gapes. It was not a coming together of different ideologies; it was floaters in a bowl coalescing easily.
“The constant toxic tribalism has infected our political debate. It wasn’t just that they sat together. It was that they smiled together. They were getting on. Something important was happening. This was a cultural moment as well as a political moment.”
Dunt’s “toxic tribalism,” like Lineker’s “political duopoly,” is what politics must be in a democracy: Representation of the majority versus representation of an elite wealthy few. Centrists object to this because they fear the dictatorship of the representation of the majority. Centrism, as a political entity, exists to stifle genuine opposition to representation of an elite wealthy few. “They were gettingon,” exclaimed Dunt. Yes, of course they were: Their political views are similar.
“No-one really knows what happens next,” – by “no-one” Dunt meant no political hack – but “the signs are positive.” Dunt’s “signs” were the results of a poll by a company owned by a Tory MP. For Dunt, “positive” meant alleged public support for a near-Tory party whose members stole democracy from the voters who elected them.
“It is perfectly realistic to imagine that within a month or two, they could have 30 or so MPs.” They could have 400. It doesn’t mean anything. None of the Independent Group MPs were elected as Independent Group MPs. Dunt’s excitement is for the destruction of suffrage.
Dunt quoted an entirely reasonable comment from Jeremy Corbyn on the departure of some Labour MPs wherein Corbyn made the accurate point that their respective majorities at the last general election in 2017 had increased because of public support for a change in emphasis in Labour’s policies since Corbyn had become leader of the party. Dunt described Corbyn’s comment as “completely tone deaf.”
Copying the tried and tested centrist script, Dunt equated Labour and the Tories in order to dismiss Labour and to erroneously present Independent Group as something new when, in reality, it is the death throes of centrist confidence trickery.
“The two main parties are led by such dreary unimaginative machines. They have nothing new to offer, except drudging persistence, half-truth, smears and innuendo. The Independent Group’s greatest advantage is that their opponents are so useless. The two main parties are both zombified and poisoned.”
One of the contributors to Guardian panel, the paper’s deputy editor Sonia Sodha composed some PR for the Independent Group.
“It was an agonising decision for them.” “It was clearly a matter of conscience.” “If they lose at the next election, they will depart British politics knowing that they had the courage to speak out for what they believe is right.”
Several MPs left Labour without calling by-elections and they have stated they will stop Labour winning a vote of no confidence against the Tory government and forcing an election. These MPs are defecating in the faces of everyone who has fought for universal suffrage in Britain. The Independent Group has no policies, no plan and nothing to say. It is defined by vacuity. But, Sodha claimed their reprehensible, dishonest and cowardly decision was a matter of “conscience.” She knew she lied.
Sodha asked “who would have thought 10 years ago a group of MPs would be departing a party rightly proud of its anti-racist history, accusing it of institutional racism?” Anyone who experienced or observed the nurtured dishonesty of the Labour deserters would not be at all surprised by any nonsense they invented to excuse their departure.
Coincidentally, Sodha is on the “advisory board” of Independent Group member Chuka Umunna’s Progressive Centre UK think-tank.
BBC’s GavinEsler, inventor of the word ‘brexcrement’ – see Political Glossary, expressed his exasperation with Brexit via the familiar centrist trick of applying as much blame to Labour as applied to the Tories. Esler used the trick as a tool to cheer for Independent Group.
Straight from a PR script, Esler said “they [Independent Group members] appear to be like most normal people.” A “normal” person does not think it is fine to support a campaign against people with disabilities that has led to thousands of deaths as Anna Soubry has done.
Esler used “normal” to describe the members of Independent Group because they “may disagree” on some issues. He also claimed they “are united by moderate values.” There is nothing “moderate” about three Tory MPs who have shamelessly supported Social Murder in parliamentary votes. By “moderate” Esler meant “not socialist?”
Like Dunt’s “toxic tribalism” and Lineker’s “political duopoly,” Esler objected to the existence of political parties with consistent ideology. Supporters of technocrat anti-democracy administrations readily criticise the concept of left and right in politics. What they are really objecting to is left-wing challenge to exploitative status quo.
There is no consistency or integrity required to be in the fan club for the worthless centre of British politics. Its single focus is to stop socialism. Any tactic is acceptable. Blatant theft of suffrage by Independent Group has not caused a ripple of concern in the centrist community.
Eight former Labour MPs resigned from the party this week to join Independent Group but they remain MPs. Current law allows them to avoid automatic by-elections and to steal parliamentary seats from tens of thousands of people who voted for Labour in their respective constituencies.
Working for the Tories One of the Labour deserters Gavin Shuker declared that the intent of Independent Group is to support the Tory government in any no confidence vote in parliament in exchange for a second referendum on Brexit.
In an interview with Huffington Post Shuker reported what he had said in a meeting with Tory MP David Lidington before the Independent Group MPs had left Labour.
“If you [David Lidington] do that [call a second referendum] I’m willing to extend confidence and supply to your government so it doesn’t fall over through the period of the referendum.”
Shuker told Huffington Post that he is opposed to removing the Tories from government.
“We need a general election like a hole in the head right now, we’re 900 hours to Brexit and we’re going to crash out without a deal unless something replaces that. In those circumstances I think the national interest would be served by seeing a period of stability to get that referendum done.”
That is, former Labour MPs in Independent Group will seek to maintain a Tory government directly against the wishes of the people who voted for them in 2017.
The people who voted Labour in the Independent Group MPs’ constituencies did so because they wanted a Labour government not a Tory government. The MPs have taken votes for Labour (over one hundred thousand in total) and handed them to the Tories. These Labour voters have had their access to democracy stolen from them.
The right to vote is a basic requirement of a democracy. The current British system is only partially democratic but if suffrage is abused then Britain has no democracy at all.
By remaining in parliament without by-elections and switching sides, the former Labour MPs are defecating gleefullyin the faces of tens of thousands of people who put their trust in the democratic system. Rightly, a relentless barrage of complaints is being thrown at the democracy thieves but persuasion is unlikely to shift them because they are entirely bereft of integrity. The Tories, and their financial backers and beneficiaries, are delighted.
Registration of Independent Group Independent Group is not registered as a political party with the Electoral Commission. It has no registration at all with any legally recognised body. It is merely a description of the MPs who are its members.
A private business called Gemini A Limited, with an address above a Weatherspoons’ pub in Altrincham, has been concocted to provide funding for Independent Group.
This arrangement allows Independent Group to avoid scrutiny by the Electoral Commission and, thus, avoid registration of and publication of its financial donations.
Data theft As soon as deserting Labour MPs resigned, their right to access data held by the party ended. In particular, the right of access to members’ contact details and the right of access to Labour party e-mail accounts ended. But, Joan Ryan, who joined Independent Group the day after the first seven departures from Labour, used a Labour e-mail account to contact Labour members after she had resigned: Joan Ryan breach of data law.
Outside democracy Independent Group is operating outside of democracy. It dodged party registration leading to avoidance of scrutiny by the Electoral Commission and to the ability to hide financial donations; its members are refusing to call by-elections and are stealing parliamentary seats (and MPs’ salaries and expenses); its members intend to vote against any vote of no confidence in the Tory government which is exactly the opposite of what the voters who elected them (as Labour MPs) wanted.
Historically, if and when democracy was removed the response was outside of democracy as well. Given the behaviour of the members of the Independent Group, many people will consider how much justification exists to respond in a like-minded way to how they have been robbed.
Seven MPs have decided to leave the Labour Party and invent a new political party called The Independent Group (TIG).
The vacuity of TIG’s statements of intent was unsurprising but its real intent was hidden within the vacant soundbites.
For example, on its home page TIG proclaimed that “to change our broken politics, we need a different culture. The Independent Group aims to reach across outdated divides and tackle Britain’s problems together. The Conservatives are captured by their right-wing, Labour by their hard left.”
The con artists of the centre noticed that Labour’s leftward tendency created a genuine challenge to the ideology of exploitation of the many by the few. The increasing popularity of socialist aims and objectives defined a clear division in politics. For the public, voting is no longer a choice between similar variants of the same theme; there is genuine choice. TIG is horrified by this choice. Its members are fearful of the potential for a socialist government. Thus, they described this choice negatively as “outdated divides” and “broken politics.”
TIG is vehemently opposed to any challenge to the extreme free marketism imposed on British people by the Tories. The Tories are destroying society; they are handing all vital public services to thieves who accept the free (tax payers’) money and the services decline rapidly and their costs rise exponentially. The NHS is being dismantled, there is a chronic shortage of affordable homes and the Tories’ Social Murder policy claims new victims every day, with emphasis on people with disabilities or with chronic or terminal illnesses.
Labour is challenging the Tories’ annihilation of society and that is what the centrists fear. They fear that Jeremy Corbyn and his colleagues will succeed.
TIG has been created with a single purpose: Its intent is to hamper the success of Labour’s challenge to the filth of Tory ideology.
The launch of TIG contained no policy nor any clear ideology. Published statements were hollow and meaningless. TIG’s statement of independence was very flat.
“We have founded the Independent Group to be true to our values – values which have been forgotten by the main political parties. Our country faces big challenges which urgently need solving. Our aim is to reach across outdated divides and build consensus to meet those challenges. We will make decisions based on evidence – and arrive at them by debating with tolerance and respect. Every member of our group has the right to be heard and the duty to lead. Forming the Independent Group hasn’t been an easy decision – but it is time to recognise that our politics is broken and needs fundamental change. We are excited to be on this journey with you and with each other.”
By “build consensus” TIG meant it does not want the hegemony of exploitation politics to be challenged. “Debating with tolerance and respect” meant not challenging or exposing the intent of the Tories and for whom they really work.
“Every member of our group has the right to be heard and the duty to lead?” No, they do not. They have no right to anything. They are stealing parliamentary seats from constituents who voted for Labour led by Jeremy Corbyn and they are stealing parliamentary salaries.
Mission statement TIG’s mission statement was an ugly concoction of PR drivel, lies, self aggrandisement and flaccid pomposity.
“We are leaving the Labour Party to sit as the Independent Group of Members of Parliament.” TIG has failed to call by-elections and is comfortable stealing parliamentary seats from its members’ constituents. Its members are too cowardly to be challenged in an election.
“Our primary duty as Members of Parliament is to put the best interests of our constituents and our country first.” The above was a blatant lie because TIG has not called by-elections. Its members’ constituents voted for Labour MPs.
“Our aim is to pursue policies that are evidence-based, not led by ideology, taking a long-term perspective to the challenges of the 21st century in the national interest, rather than locked in the old politics of the 20th century in the party’s interests.” The “evidence” in politics is, and always has been, that the extremism of conservative ideology feeds a tiny elite and everyone else is exploited. The TIG’s opposition to “ideology” is an opposition to one particular ideology: Socialism.
Values TIG’s declaration of its “values” took political pomposity to its extreme alongside deliberate vagueness.
“Ours is a great country of which people are rightly proud, where the first duty of government must be to defend its people and do whatever it takes to safeguard Britain’s national security.” In other words, TIG is fully committed to ensuring that profits for the arms industry are maintained.
“Britain works best as a diverse, mixed social market economy, in which well-regulated private enterprise can reward aspiration and drive economic progress and where government has the responsibility to ensure the sound stewardship of taxpayer’s money and a stable, fair and balanced economy.” “A strong economy means we can invest in our public services. We believe the collective provision of public services and the NHS can be delivered through government action, improving health and educational life chances, protecting the public, safeguarding the vulnerable, ensuring dignity at every stage of life and placing individuals at the heart of decision-making.” The two “values” above were purposefully vague. TIG was careful to not state explicitly or even hint at whether it supports the continuing privatisation (or theft) of vital public services. It said a “strong economy” is needed for the government to provide vital services; the Tories said the same as an excuse for its Social Murder austerity ideology.
“The people of this country have the ability to create fairer, more prosperous communities for present and future generations. We believe that this creativity is best realised in a society which fosters individual freedom and supports all families.” What is “individual freedom?” Surely, freedom is collective is it not? Why mention “families” rather than ‘people?’ That “value” is a little Pence-like.
“The barriers of poverty, prejudice and discrimination facing individuals should be removed and advancement occur on the basis of merit, with inequalities reduced through the extension of opportunity, giving individuals the skills and means to open new doors and fulfil their ambitions.” “Individuals are capable of taking responsibility if opportunities are offered to them, everybody can and should make a contribution to society and that contribution should be recognised. Paid work should be secure and pay should be fair.” Did “everybody can and should make a contribution to society” give a clue to TIG’s attitude to how the Tories have removed financial support for people with disabilities and terminal or chronic illnesses?
“Our free media, the rule of law, and our open, tolerant and respectful democratic society should be cherished and renewed.” Does cherish for “respectful democratic society” include marching publicly to intimidate the attendees of a malicious hearing where a person of colour was facing false accusations?
“We believe that our parliamentary democracy in which our elected representatives deliberate, decide and provide leadership, held accountable by their whole electorate is the best system of representing the views of the British people.” Obviously, being “held accountable by their whole electorate” does not apply to MPs who leave a party and don’t call by-elections and are happy to steal parliamentary seats and steal MPs’ salaries.
“In order to face the challenges and opportunities presented by globalisation, migration and technological advances, we believe the multilateral, international rules-based order must be strengthened and reformed. We believe in maintaining strong alliances with our closest European and international allies on trade, regulation, defence, security and counter-terrorism.” I assume that the first sentence above on “challenges presented by globalisation and migration” was supplied by Nigel Farage or Stephen Yaxley-Lennon. TIG want “strong alliances with our closest European and international allies.” That is, TIG wants to ensure that the current stated enemies remain enemies. The arms industry profits don’t make themselves.
“As part of the global community we have a responsibility to future generations to protect our environment, safeguard the planet, plan development sustainably and to act on the urgency of climate change.” TIG might be disappointed that no supporters of the Green Party are interested in switching to TIG.
“Power should be devolved to the most appropriate level, trusting and involving local communities. More powers and representation should be given to local government to act in the best interests of their communities.” Such power is useless without funding. The Tories have starved local councils of funding so any extra powers are pointless. TIG does not believe in power for constituency Labour parties because seven such constituency parties currently have no MP because seven TIG MPs are stealing parliamentary seats.
TIG admits that it opposes Labour’s socialism In its attack on Labour, TIG revealed its true intent and a deep ideological difference with Labour. In claiming that “Labour threatens to destabilise the British economy in pursuit of ideological objectives” TIG meant that Corbyn-led Labour will attack the beneficiaries of exploitation. TIG is worried on behalf of the exploiters that Labour will challenge, change and destroy the current system of exploitation.
TIG expressed its opposition to combative politics: “Today, visceral hatreds of other views and opinions are common-place in and around the Labour Party.”
Politics should be combative, aggressive, uncompromising and angry. Dealing with Tory filth is not a matter of politeness, circumspection and respect. TIG doesn’t want a genuine challenge to the Tories or to any exploitative politics. It wants to stifle opposition.
The final sentence on TIG’s statement was a request for politics to die.
“Sitting as the Independent Group of MPs we appeal to colleagues from all parties to consider the best interests of the country above short-term party-political considerations and choose to do likewise.”
Trash The Independent Group is empty. It has nothing to offer anyone. It has no hope whatsoever of any of its members being elected in an election.
Its purpose is to hamper Labour.
The intent of the MPs is to stand in marginal seats at the next general election in order to ensure that the Tories can cling onto (or win) close seats.
There is no integrity in the group or its members.
Some MPs have decided to leave the Labour Party. They will not call by-elections.
(Update (20th February): Some Tory MPs have joined the former Labour MPs)
Following the example of coward John Woodcock in July last year all are too weak of character to test their popularity against Labour (and others) in by-elections.
To leave a party and not stand in an immediate by-election is theft. Constituents are being robbed of representation from the party for which they voted in the 2017 general election. The Labour voters in the MPs’ constituencies voted for Labour led by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell; they did not vote for “independent” MPs.
Leaving Labour but not testing their political views in by-elections is fraudulent manipulation of the process of democracy in Britain and exposes the MPs as disreputable, untrustworthy and bereft of integrity. They are displaying contempt for parliament and contempt for democracy and are stealing their salaries. British democracy has become a farce.
Seven Progress MPS added their names to a letter (screenshot at foot of blog) sent to Jeremy Corbyn yesterday in response to data published by Labour’s NEC that showed numerical details of accusations of antisemitism against Labour members and the results of ensuing action by the party.
The mendacious seven chose to publish their letter before waiting for any response to the queries contained within it.
There are several problems with the letter.
1) Impatience Some of the points raised in the letter (see points 2 – 8 in the letter) are demands for more information and, thus, could easily have been resolved with a polite enquiry (to the NEC) rather than a complaint declared publicly before the recipient had seen the complaint.
2) Confusion between party leader and NEC The inquiry and any disciplinary action regarding antisemitism is the responsibility of the NEC. The Progress seven are aware of that fact but chose to target the party leader with their complaint.
3) Invention of parliamentary party procedure The letter mentioned a Parliamentary Labour Party meeting on February 4th whereat they claimed a “unanimous” vote had decided that Jeremy Corbyn would provide an oral report on the NEC investigation into antisemitism in the party on February 11th (yesterday). They referred to the vote as a “motion” that had been passed. This is pure invention of procedure.
A random out of context single-sentence paragraph near the end of the letter exposed the seven as uninterested in facts, logic or the linear nature of time.
“The failure to respect the request for this simple information does nothing to dispel the accusation that is an institutionally antisemitic organisation.”
To clarify, an extreme accusation was made (above) because requests for further information had not yet been met, but these requests for more information were earlier in the letter. Did the seven think that Jeremy Corbyn was able to respond to the first part of the letter before the letter had been finished, or sent?
Elsewhere, one of the signatories, Margaret Hodge, issued a statement wherein she expressed disappointment that there were not more proven incidents of antisemitism by Labour members.
“I [Hodge] put in over 200 examples, some vile, where evidence suggested they came from Labour. So I don’t trust figures. I can’t believe only 12 expulsions. I am not convinced leadership serious on rooting out anti Semitism.”
Progress will never be satisfied Progress MPs will never be satisfied with whatever action Labour takes regarding antisemitism. When Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader Progress decided that accusations of antisemitism would be applied constantly regardless of proof or reason. This letter is yet another bizarre, contradictory and worthless addition to their campaign.
Progress is dedicated to preventing a Corbyn-led left-leaning government.
What image would come to mind if you were to imagine the appearance of someone who rummages through others’ discarded toilet tissue? What would a character hiding in the bushes with night-sight and a long lens look like? How would you depict a earwigger listening to intimate gossip of a stranger?
Would he look like this?
Above is Tom Bower who claims to be an “author” and an “investigative journalist“. Bower’s job is neither of those professions. He is a splicer of salacious gossip about famous people. He occupies the lowest rung on the integrity ladder of writers, a rung embedded deep down in putrid sewage.
Bower found a niche, devoid of human characteristics, and has wallowed there contentedly for decades.
Today, (Sunday 10th February 2019), the Daily Mail began a serialisation of Bower’s latest rectal expulsion, ‘Dangerous Hero: Corbyn’s Ruthless Plot for Power.’ The book is a mix of banal gossip, some mundane facts that are already known, clumsy juxtapositions and connections, absurd cod deductions and anti-didactic analysis. It is speckled with racism. It is trash. It was designed to be trash.
The purpose of the book’s existence is not its nebulous content. It exists as another spurious tool to use against Jeremy Corbyn and as a means of occupying media airtime at the expense of genuine political discussion.
It is noteworthy that one of Bower’s promotional events for his book is hosted by the extremist libertarian think-tank Centre for Policy Studies whereat he will be “in conversation” with its director Robert Colvile. The event is at 57 Tufton Street next door to infamous 55 Tufton Street, the latter the home of many economically hard-right think-tanks.
It is no surprise that a vile secretly funded and relentlessly dishonest think-tank, that acts as PR for some of the most despicable wealth terrorists alive, would wade in a septic pit of personal gossip about someone whom it fears. Fear is the key motivator. The think-tank’s anonymous donors fear the success and popularity of the political will to erase them.
Bower is happy to make a seedy living assisting others’ political aims.
Illegal and immoral recognition of Juan Guaidó by USA, UK, Brazil and many others (but not Russia and China) as “president” of Venezuela has been followed swiftly by theft of billions of pounds of Venezuelan people’s money. The Bank of England has stolen over a billions pounds of Venezuelan goldand USA has stated its intent to hand payment for Venezuelan oil to Guaidó rather than to the Venezuelan government.
Alongside the biggest international theft ever seen, Brazil and USA have threatened military action against the Venezuelan people if conman Guaidó’s actions are restricted by the Venezuelan government. Genocidal mass murderer and convicted war criminal Elliot Abrams has been appointed by Donald Trump to “oversee” actions against the Venezuelan people.
Theft of assets and threats of military action and terrorism are in response to the democratic re-election of Maduro as Venezuelan president. Having failed to remove him and his party via the democratic route, the enablers of US oil industry profits switched to robbery and violence. The tactics in use and in preparation against Venezuela are being displayed brazenly by Guaidó and his puppet masters in the White House with obsequious gimp-like support from trash such as Jeremy Hunt.
Centrists and liberals reveal their conservatism Surely, if a random political activist, whose activism has included inciting and enacting violence against a democratically elected government, declared himself “interim” president of a democracy and sought to steal payment from overseas for the country’s exports (oil) and sought help from far-right gangsters like Trump and Bolsonaro in an echo of murderous military coups in South America in the 1970s that were orchestrated by CIA and directed by Elliot Abrams, then liberals would be aghast and be rigorously opposed to such actions and seek to stop it, would they not, surely?
No. The centrists and liberals in European, Antipodean and North American democracies fell over each other as they rushed to prostrate themselves at Guaidó’s feet and align themselves with racist, white supremacist, anti-indigenous, anti-freedom fascists Bolsonaro and Trump.
Brexit Coordinator for EU, Guy Verhofstadt: “The US, Canada & many crucial EU partners in Latin American have recognised Juan Guaidó as President of Venezuela & the EU should do the same. He is the only legitimately elected representative of the Venezuelan people & authorities must guarantee his fundamental rights & security.”
Canadian Minister for Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland: “We now call upon Nicolas Maduro to cede power to the National Assembly, the only remaining democratically elected institution in Venezuela in line with that country’s constitution.”
(Update, April: Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie and Angela Smith left Labour and joined Change UK after this blog was written.)
Progress MP Mike Gapes created an opportunity for MPs, including the Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Alan Duncan, to speak about Venezuela in the House of Commons via an urgent question. A succession of obsequious Liberal Democrat and Progress MPs (below) stated their support for Guaidó. All displayed willful ignorance and blatant dishonesty and they shared similar directional biased terminology.
Gapes: “The economic collapse, as the Minister says, is a direct result of the corrupt, incompetent, kleptocratic regime of Nicolás Maduro. The rigged presidential re-election has rightly been criticised by international observers. The decision by National Assembly president Juan Guaidó to be declared interim President is correct—it is a game-changer. What [is needed] is our solidarity with the legitimate, elected, social democratic president of the National Assembly: interim President of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó. The European Union has called for credible elections, but Nicolás Maduro has already rejected that. When will our Government recognise Juan Guaidó as the President of Venezuela?”
Progress MP Graham Jones: “America still buys 500,000 barrels of oil a day from Venezuela and props up the economy. It could withdraw from that, but has declined to do so because it would have an impact on the Venezuelan people.“
Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson: “Maduro is presiding over a corrupt regime after rigged elections and is inflicting misery on his own people. He has no legitimacy. While the shadow Foreign Secretary suggests that recognising the democratically elected president of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, would be interventionist, does the Minister agree that these exceptional circumstances merit such an approach if no free and fair elections are forthcoming, not least because of the intensity of the human tragedy that is unfolding and the rigged elections that the presidency of Maduro is based on?”
Progress MP Stephen Twigg: “The Maduro regime has clearly been a disaster for the people of Venezuela, with the humanitarian catastrophe, as we have heard, and the appalling abuses of human rights documented by Amnesty International and others. I agree that pressing for fresh, free and fair elections must be our priority. Surely it is best for us to pursue the correct objective of seeking fresh elections via negotiation and mediation first.”
Progress MP Chris Bryant: “The truth is that the Venezuelan Government have lied for years and years to their people and to the outside world, particularly Russia and China, and the people who are feeling the damage are the poor children on the streets and the parents who are unable to feed their children because there is nothing in the shops.”
Progress MP John Spellar: “After a proper ballot and, hopefully, the election success of Juan Guaidó, Venezuela will still face an existential crisis, with the Maduro legacy of economic meltdown, a collapsing oil industry, hyperinflation, food shortages and 3 million citizens in exile. Should not the UK, the EU and the international community be preparing a Marshall plan for the reconstruction of Venezuela?”
Progress MP Chris Leslie: “Does the Minister not agree that the hundreds of thousands taking to the streets in Venezuela and the millions fleeing that country are not doing so because of some grand Trump-oil conspiracy, but because they are starving? They are starving and they are suffering because of Maduro’s corrupt communism. Would it not be better if those who have been hailing that discredited ideology took this opportunity to apologise and admit they were wrong?”
Progress MP and Anglian Water employee Angela Smith: “The letter [supporting Venezuela in The Guardian] is a disgrace and every right-thinking member of this house should unite in condemning the Maduro regime and calling for his removal. But once that has happened we will need significant support for Venezuela in organising free and fair elections. I know the minister has addressed the points earlier but will the UK take a lead in ensuring that all necessary global support is given to Venezuela because it will be one of the biggest challenges faced by a country coming out of dictatorship for many, many years.”
It is unlikely that any seedy oil traders and their venal political associates looked through Hansard to see what various centrist MPs uttered but if they had they would have been delighted by the brazen displays of misinformation, corrupt deductions and cheer leading for imperialism. Puppets dancing to the right tune. The identity of who funds Progress is a very pertinent inquiry right now.
Labour MP Chris Williamson contributed to the questions to Alan Duncan but did not follow the script of the Progress mob: “Will the Minister explain why there are the double standards? Is it that he wants to facilitate another humanitarian catastrophe, as we are seeing in Yemen with British arms? Does he want to see the same in Venezuela? Does he not support the self-determination of peoples around the world, rather than intervention from western powers?” Duncan responded with typical Tory petulance and childishness, insulted Williamson and evaded the questions.
The centrist media’s masks slipped as easily as those of the similarly minded MPs.
In an Independent website report on Williamson’s contribution Rob Merrick wrote in his first sentence that Williamson “is under fire” for his comments; Merrick was very keen to set a very biased perspective for his report.
Brexifter hack Ian Dunt: “Ah, so I see that parts of the British left still think it’s OK for Latinos to be butchered by a tyrant as long as he calls himself a socialist.”
The Guardian’s man in Venezuela, Joe Parkin Daniels, wrote What next for Venezuela?as if he was part of the White House press team or a PR guy for an oil company. “Maduro, who two weeks ago was sworn into his second term following disputed elections last year, has little public support, but he retains the backing of the military. Guaidó, on the other hand, can mobilize mass displays of popular support.” Elections were free and fair and Maduro has majority public support. If Guaidó could “mobilize mass displays of popular support” then he would have stood in the recent presidential election but he chose not to.
The remainder of the trashy article was an embarrassing amateurish fantasy that bore no relation whatsoever to the political situation in Venezuela. The parade of untruths and misdirection was matched in volume by the contempt Daniels had for the intelligence of his readers.
In the same newspaper Tom Phillips provided a piece of PR for Guaidó wherein he described the democratically elected Venezuelan government as “Maduro’s embattled regime.”
While Progress and liberal MPs and centrist media hacks begged the Tories to go full-on imperialist against the Venezuelan people a member of Trump’s mafia, Henry Bolton, elucidated clearly that the intent of the US government was to steal Venezuela’s oil reserves and Guaidó promised that not only would he facilitate the theft of oil if he were to be puppeted into the Venezuelan presidency but he would also ensure that all vital public services in the country would be handed over to privateer vultures.
The behaviour of Progress MPs and Guardian staff was unsurprising. They will use any tactic they can think of to position themselves opposite to Corbyn and McDonnell. Opposing the Labour leadership’s tendency toward socialism is the main focus of the centrists and anything else is preferable to them even it means aligning with cross-border thieves and murderers like Abrams, Bolton, Pompeo, Trump and Bolsonaro.
Progress, Liberal Democrats, Guardian and Independent have chosen which side they are on.