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 is a subsidiary of Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).
FREER 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 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 salivating at the prospect of an abrupt no-deal Brexit.
Via no-deal Brexit the Tories intend to accelerate the giveaway of what remains of Britain’s public service infrastructure including the rest of the NHS and to have a bonfire of workers’ rights, health and safety regulations, food quality standards and access to justice. According to FREER’s mission statement
“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.”
The above, preached from the economic libertarian pulpit, was a long-winded admission that FREER wants to destroy society and public service infrastructure in Britain.
FREER is the promotional department for disaster capitalists licking their lips in anticipation: “Beyond Brexit, there is an unparalleled opportunity to shape our country.”
Parliamentary Supporters of FREER 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.”
The party split of the twenty-eight MPs listed as Parliamentary Supporters of FREER is:
TOTAL – 28 Green – 0 Labour – 0 Liberal Democrat – 0 Plaid Cymru – 0 SNP – 0 Tory – 28
The Tory MPs use FREER 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.
For example, in the abstract for ‘A Freer Future’ the authors (Luke Graham and Lee Rowley) proclaimed from the pulpit that “socialism stalks our landscape again – 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
FREER literature James Boyd-Wallis claimed to make the moral case for business. “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.
“The moral case rests on the idea that it is only with free enterprise that we can match reward to merit. Private business allows 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, make sacrifices to earn our success. We know the stories of the entrepreneurs who remortgage their house to finance their dream. Who forgo months, sometimes years, of no or low pay to get their idea off the ground. They have earned their success,” was followed by the arbitrary statement that “free enterprise lifts people out of poverty.” That was the entirety of his “moral case.”
Boyd-Wallis repeated a theme FREER is keen to promote that bad capitalists are the problem rather than the intrinsic nature of capitalism: “We shouldn’t let a few bad apples demonise business as a whole.”
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.
In Oderberg on abortionDavid Oderberg wrote a convoluted trickster article to justify his support for conscientious (religious) objectionto abortion by medical staff. He rambled on with a deluge of twists of logic to reach a conclusion that “it is simply mistaken to hold that reasonable people cannot – for surely they have and do – disagree about the place in health care of abortion.”
Nefarious 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 desire. FREER’s misuse of ‘Social liberalism’ is a simple two-sided con-trick: (1) It is fraudulently associating extreme corporate control of the economy with a diametrically opposed philosophy in order to hide the former’s anti-liberty ideology, and (2) it is trying to stifle criticism by claiming that opponents of corporatism are opponents of liberty.
Despicable Donors As the table on page 6 of a Transparify report into think-tank donor transparency showed, IEA (and its subsidiary FREER) 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
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.