Reclaim

Washed-up former part-time itinerant actor and Harrovian flotsam Laurence Fox realised eventually that his shambling career as a thespian provided insufficient unjustified income and he sought a new career as a incoherent ranting far-right turd-projector funded by seedy, secretive, wealthy donors who are always thrilled to employ another gormless bell-end that is psychologically opposed to intelligence, knowledge, logic, morality, integrity and didactic reasoning.

LawrenceFoxQT
White privileged male Laurence Fox on BBC’s Question Time

A member of the same tinydick club as fellow petulant misogynistic contrarians Jordan Peterson and Michael Daubney, Fox, aged forty-two but with the appearance of an embittered dissatisfied impotent sixty-year-old, grabbed a few slots on TV, including a wholly underserved seat on BBC’s Question Time panel, showed his limp Billy Idol-style sneer at a variety of thick-as-mince right-wing events, and announced the invention of a new political party pronounced Wreck Lame but written Reclaim.

Reclaim may or may not materialise like The Doctor’s tardis in Rose Tyler’s garden.  Like every exposition of Fox’s philosophy, it is possible that it is bollocks.  Most likely, it is yet another excuse to get a far-right screaming head some airtime under the guise of representing something new when it is the same tired old barely-hidden racism expressed tortuously via the most contorted trains of thought imaginable.  Of course, it is also a massive grift for a has-been actor.  If Reclaim’s donors exist they will decide what’s what; not for first time in Fox’s sorry life it will be the piper who calls the tune.

Laurence Fox’s Reclaim and Andrew Neil’s GB News are the latest soulless pustules to sprout with the intent of hammering in an extreme philosophy of prejudice and bigotry, expressed as in-eloquently and dishonestly as possible.  This philosophy seeks to distract the gaze of the disillusioned away from the perpetrators and onto others.  Funded from the mire of high net worth economic thieves who are to blame for the hardship suffered universally and who are desperate that no-one notices their participation in catastrophe, the boils harp their incessant othering while casting themselves perpetually as victims or cancelled as if we are in bizarre opposite world.

Bannonites are oozing out of their slime.  Observing the implosion of the Tories, as Covid-19 and Brexit’s calamitous consequences ruin the country, far-right bloviators are confident there is gap into which they can slither and exhaust with their farts. 

However, Fox lacks aptitude and commitment, and has probably climaxed too soon with the announcement of Reclaim’s existence – there is no general election until 2024.  Perhaps, his financial backers are dunking him in the water to see the volume of response.  He doesn’t seem to be someone who has the wherewithal to persist with a task.  He is a whiner.  He is an actor, offstage and offscreen as well as on.  His entire life has been an act and it deserves a Razzie.  

Reclaim does not have a long term objective to change UK.  It is another expectorated toxin from the far-right’s scattergun.  Duplicitous centrist enablers will accommodate Fox and friends with a few TV and radio platforms, as much for entertainment as anything else, and GB News and Fox will indulge in dionanistic pleasure as both try to reclaim the right to be illiterate ignoramuses.

Notes
dionanistic adj. Mutually and closely supportive, conspiratorial and mutually beneficial

Recommended reading
Mic Wright
Zelo Street 

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Reclaim

Tory government directing political education in schools

Among signs of fascist tendencies in an elected government’s behaviour are direct instructions for manipulation and censorship in political education in schools, colleges and universities.

Betsy Davos, Trump’s Secretary of Education, ordered USA public (that is, the equivalent of UK state) schools to present biased versions of the country’s history, and similar instructions were issued to universities with a penalty of reduced or cancelled funding for those that refused to comply.

In Britain continuous campaigns by far-right protagonists attack places of education for not favouring worship of extreme free-market ideology.  For the usual gang of “classical liberals” – Toby Young, David Starkey, etc. – criticism of fair and balanced education is their vocation; it is also their grift.  Young’s latest cock-eyed nonsense is The Free Speech Union that seeks to impose platforms for far-right voices onto universities with a threat of legal action if they refuse.

The Tory government is not willing to rely on harassment from freelance grifting bigots to achieve the aims of censorship and manipulation.  In a government document giving guidance to teachers on presenting relationship education there is a section on using external agencies and within that there are instructions on what not to use.  Out of context of the document’s topic, the instructions include the following.

Schools should not under any circumstances work with external agencies that take or promote extreme positions or use materials produced by such agencies.  Examples of extreme positions include, but are not limited to:

  • promoting non-democratic political systems rather than those based on democracy, whether for political or religious reasons or otherwise (1)
  • promoting divisive or victim narratives that are harmful to British society (2)
  • selecting and presenting information to make unsubstantiated accusations against state institutions(3)

(1) Democracy is one option for a system of government.  The Tories are demanding that no advice should be taken from any organisation, whether affiliated to a government or not, that supports, willingly or otherwise, governments of China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, etc.  That demand ignores the high standard of education in China and Cuba and it is hypocritical given the many business relationships the government encourages with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain including brokerage of lucrative arms deals.

(2) What is a “victim narrative?”  The Tories mean valid complaints made about prejudiced behaviour where the prejudice is against people because of their ethnicity, heritage, creed, sexuality or class.  The government wants to erase the nature of such bigotry by attempting to recast it as personal; it wants to remove systemic causes by pretending they don’t exist.

(3) How are the Tories defining “unsubstantiated” here?  There is nothing unsubstantiated about describing the Tories as intrinsically venal, or describing the judicial system as favouring the wealthiest, or describing the royal family as a worthless parasitical drain, or describing the Department Of Work And Pensions as a practitioner of Social Murder, or describing Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs as corrupt puppets of wealthy corporate tax avoiders, or describing GCHQ as a gang of curtain twitchers and law-dodgers.  Protection of “state institutions” from investigation and  criticism is Fascism: Page 1.

In the section choosing resources the document states

Schools should not under any circumstances use resources produced by organisations that take extreme political stances on matters.  This is the case even if the material itself is not extreme, as the use of it could imply endorsement or support of the organisation.  Examples of extreme political stances include, but are not limited to:

  • a publicly stated desire to abolish or overthrow democracy, capitalism, or to end free and fair elections(4)

(4) So, according to the Tories’ instruction to teachers,a publicly stated desire to abolish or overthrow capitalism” is an “extreme political stance” that “should not under any circumstances” be allowed near children.  That instruction disallows criticism and understanding of capitalism and is blatant unashamed political propaganda indoctrinated upon children.  It elevates capitalism beyond its true status as a (corrupt and unfair) system of management of the common economy to a status of deification, without reproach, ineluctable and sacred.

Tory fear 
The “guidance” from the Tories to teachers described above is a display of Tory fear.  Formal education in schools, colleges and universities is supposed to focus on facts and the students are supposed to query, investigate, analyse and deduce.  That is the nature of education and of intellectual development.  Knowledgeable young people with astute enquiring minds are a threat to Tory power because the latter’s control has foundations built with lies, fraud and confidence trickery.

Most of the tactics of fascism are inspired by fear.

Recommended reading
James Finlayson for Dorset Eye

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Office For Students
Cancelled?

Tory government directing political education in schools

Andrew Neil, the king of far-right grifting

Andrew Neil’s career in journalism and broadcasting is as a grifter using promotion of far-right perspectives as his source of income.  At Sky, The Times and The Spectator Neil directed a consensus of encouraging bigotry, xenophobia, racism and othering.  The strategy is simultaneously a contribution to a political strategy of creating division and also a tool to benefit financially from the existence of prejudice among readers and viewers.

Though skilled enough to conduct productive interviews with guests and to write eloquently, Neil uses those skills merely as tools to attract positive criticism from unaligned observers so that his professional persona focusses on his performances rather than on his intent.

During his employment at the BBC Neil interrogated adroitly his guests, including conservative politicians and activists, but never queried them on the intrinsic failings or unfairness of conservative ideology.  He performed well and received plaudits from within his industry for his work but his success was limited to exposure of inadequacies in methodology. 

Neil’s tenure at the BBC was summed up by the cool reaction of rock legend Bobby Gillespie, a guest on Neil’s late evening This Week show.

BobbyGillespie

Meanwhile, throughout his time at the BBC, Neil was (and still is) chair of the company that owns The Spectator magazine that hosts a wide variety of far-right extremists including holocaust deniers.

Neil is an example to follow and to admire for far-right screaming heads and Gits but he is more accomplished as a grifter than his admirers and he promotes a wider range of prejudices.  He is what they aspire to be.

Next year Neil will present shows on GB News, a new TV channel, as well as assuming the post of chairman of the channel.  Inspired by ratings for right-wing radio channels TalkRadio and LBC, GB News will try to be a British version of Fox News.  It will yes-platform extremists, ridicule knowledge and lie incessantly.  Neil will fit comfortably into the GB News philosophy.  It will be his apotheosis. 

His appointment was based on more than his skillset or experience.  Neil will bring his false professional persona with him to GB News and that will attract contributors and guests beyond the far-right pit. 

Neil’s announcement of his new job was greeted by circle-jerking journalists and talking heads who expressed their eagerness to be invited (and paid) to appear. 

BBC’s Amol Rajan: “Thirty-two years ago Andrew Neil was founding Chairman of Sky.  The chance to play the same role in what could be the biggest shake-up in UK broadcast news for decades was more enticing than the various proposals made by the launch of GB News will be a big moment for British culture.”

Centrist broadcasters and journalists don’t need much persuasion to sell their words to anyone but the presence of the supposedly respected Neil at GB News, rather than just Gits like Grimes, Harwood and Hartley-Brewer (who are certain to be there), helps the centrists assuage their displayed concerns about possibly supporting far-right broadcasting. 

In response to his pompous statement of departure from the BBC there were many fawning vomit-inducing ejaculations of support for Neil from centrist hacks desperate to be his mate in order to get some work at GB News.

Daily Mirror’s Pippa Crerar: “A huge loss to the Beeb, which will be less of an institution without you on it.  Good luck for what comes next.”
BBC’s Anthony Zurcher: “Andrew Neil may not be a familiar name to many Americans, but he’s one of the best political interviewers out there.”
Mihir Bose: “Good luck Andrew.  I much enjoyed working for the Sunday Times when you were the editor and your interviews on BBC were compelling television.”
Guardian’s Gaby Hinsliff: “Whatever you make of him on twitter, Andrew Neil is still the best political interviewer on screen. His departure feels like something of a moment for the BBC.”
BBC’s Chris Mason: “It’s one of the biggest privileges of my career to have reported for your programmes.  I’ll never forget those by election nights!”

It’s a very low bar to label Neil’s talent so highly as the above did.

Ruggy
When Andrew Neil first became known on TV decades ago he was ridiculed for wearing an obvious rug on his head.  That should have been the limit of our knowledge of him.  The continuation of his career as a protagonist in British journalism and television is an indictment of the poor quality of news media.  At GB News he found another cesspit in which to wallow, and flies, from both the far-right and the centre, are attracted by the malodorous stink.

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Andrew Neil, the king of far-right grifting

Helen Whately

Carrying perpetually an expression of someone who wandered in, Tory MP Helen Whately appears often on TV news to respond to questions on the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Her appearances always elicit semi-rhetorical queries from viewers who ask who is Helen Whately, what is Helen Whately and, most frequently, why is Helen Whately.

Helen Whately is Minister for Social Care in the Department for Health and Social Care.  She has been an MP since the 2015 general election.  Immediately prior to the election and for the previous eight years (2007-2015) she was employed by management consultants McKinsey & Company as an “engagement manager” in the company’s healthcare division. 

McKinsey & Company advises large businesses and governments on strategy.  It has a long history of success alongside a long history of scandal.  Its healthcare division focusses on advice to private businesses on how to make money out of others’ ill-health, particularly in USA.

In 2012 McKinsey & Company wrote part of the Tories’ Health And Social Care Act, its executives attended and hosted Extraordinary NHS Management Board implementation meetings for the Act, and it passed on insider knowledge of the Act’s details to its private healthcare clients.  In 2011 NHS regulator Monitor’s head David Bennett, a former Mckinsey executive, accepted a lavish hospitality trip to New York paid by McKinsey; Bennett remained in his post at Monitor throughout design, composition and implementation of the Act.  (Whately was employed by McKinsey throughout its involvement in the Act.)

Two months after 2015 general election Whately acquired a seat on the Heath Select Committee, after re-election in 2017 general election she was appointed chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Health, and a couple of months after re-election in 2019 general election she was appointed Minister of State for Social Care.  The three appointments were handed to Whately despite her having had no training in any medical skills, no academic study of any useful topic related to health and no work experience in health other than some part-time unqualified experience when at school. 

Whately attained the three roles described above because of her employment at McKinsey.  The career journey from employment by a business that covets public services to member of parliament is common for Tories.  This can be perceived as the Tory party inviting privateers in to assist its aims of privatisation or as the corporate world persuading its staff to become Tory MPs in order to ensure there are privateers in government, but the perceptions are effectively the same.

In 2020 McKinsey was given over five million pounds of public money by the Tories, without any tendering process, to “review” Serco’s calamitous Covid-19 Test And Trace programme, and McKinsey is involved in the plans for the replacement for Public Health England that was disbanded by the Tories in the middle of a pandemic.

Helen Whately is a privateer corporate plant in government welcomed enthusiastically by the government.  Her clumsy interviewee style is irrelevant to her goal of helping McKinsey & Company and its clients grab pieces of the NHS pie.

Recommended reading
Richard Fleury for Faversham Eye

Helen Whately

Spitting Image returns, neutered

The appeal of the original Spitting Image, beyond one-liners and puppets’ appearance, was acerbic satire aimed at authority and at celebrities’ pomposity alongside running jokes and exaggerated observations of personal quirks.  

The UK royal family received plenty of attention at a time of continuous difficulties for its members and the humour aimed at them advanced the acceptability of laughing derisorily at the stupidity of the family’s existence. 

Repeated visual jokes included Norman Tebbit wearing a leather jacket, David Steel depicted as much smaller than David Owen and all of Douglas Hurd’s family looking and sounding exactly like Douglas Hurd.  

Crucially, the show was the first hearing for many viewers of weekly topical jokes.  Competent writers, working close to time for recording a day or so before broadcast, were able to twist a current story for comedic effect or spot an odd characteristic of someone in the news.  In hindsight, they were the meme and gif creators and hashtag originators of their (pre-social media) time, although more sophisticated: short, quick and sharp satirical comments, unfiltered and unashamedly rude. 

Now, editing technology is available to all and worldwide immediate connectability means any satirical observations can trend rapidly.  For example, a simple photo by a Tory MP of his incorrect posh plate of fish and chips encouraged the #6ChipTwat hashtag that can be reactivated at any time to reflect similar reactions to similar events.

Online humour, in response to politicians’ or celebrities’ actions, is usually less accomplished than that of professional comedy writers but its style means the new Spitting Image has lost its uniqueness of presentation, and the immediacy and reach of social media interaction always betters the speed of TV production. 

Other satirical TV shows suffered in comparison with social media wit.  Mock The Week is professional stand-ups’ witty remarks that were already seen elsewhere and The Last Leg, as admittance of no originality, uses the internet as a direct source of material via Widdicombe’s highlights of funny video clips.

Shorn of the exclusivity of its key appeal of three decades ago Spitting Image could have chosen to focus on intelligent writing and well-researched observations for its effect; that is, it could have utilised skills that most online wits eschew.  The Mash Report took that approach and manages to remain relatively fresh, particularly the contributions of the esteemed Rachel Parris.  But, Spitting Image hired Matt Forde as a writer.

Spitting Image will still be mildly amusing but instead of being the trend setter of a certain style of satire and instead of being the first to observe an amusing facet of a famous person’s persona the new series will merely repeat what has already spun around the world on social media.  Undoubtedly, it will be excruciatingly centrist because that appears to be the law for modern British satire on TV. 

And, what about the vegetables?  Oh, they’ll have the same as me.

Related blog: Run-of-the-melts have suffocated satirical comedy

Spitting Image returns, neutered

Keir Starmer: The Bystander’s unvision

Today (September 22nd 2020) Keir Starmer delivered a speech to Labour’s virtual conference ‘Connected’ in Doncaster. 

Supposedly, his speech outlined Labour’s intent if the party were to win the next general election, in 2024, and if Starmer was still the leader.  No-one but political careerists has any interest in an election that is four years away and the odds of Starmer retaining his position as leader until then are infinite.

He stated three proposals for action by the next Labour government 

  • “properly funded universal public services”
  • “investment in skills and a plan, working hand-in-hand with businesses and trade unions, to create high quality jobs”
  • “greener, cleaner society, where every policy is judged not just by how much it costs today but by what it does for the planet tomorrow”

None of the above is problematic but they are the absolute bare minimum that any government should provide.  Public services are, by definition, necessary.  Training and skills are necessary both for workers and for society as a whole.  Impact on the environment and consequences for climate change are necessary factors guiding all infrastructure decisions.

Starmer’s three proposals for a Labour government could have been stated by any other political party.  It would be bizarre if any party in a UK election campaign were to express desires to destroy public services, to deny access to skills training or to deny climate change.  Admittedly, the Tories do possess those desires but choose to lie about their intent; perhaps, Starmer meant Labour’s aim for the minimum is to not be as destructive as the Tories.  It’s a low bar.

Part of his speech concerned formerly traditional Labour seats that switched to Tory in December last year.  Brexit, including Starmer’s mixed messaging and his contradictions of then leader Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal for Brexit, was the key factor in Labour’s losses in those seats.  But, Starmer decided that patriotism and depictions of Corbyn’s perception of it persuaded people to chose the Tories.  Addressing former Labour voters who voted Tory he declared

We’re under new leadership.  We love this country as you do.” 

Starmer has neither the skills nor the compulsion to try to persuade people that extremist free-marketeers and racketeers in the Tories are enemies of working people, and he has nothing to offer the latter other than the basic minimum described above.  Thus, he was reduced to a lazy appeal to the cult of patriotism.  Whenever any politician starts waving a flag around to appease basest instincts it is a crystal clear demonstration that the politician is bereft of ideas, ideology and usefulness.

Starmer revealed his latest three-word slogan: “Opportunity, family and security.”  Those were three eclectic choices to juxtapose.  Starmer discussed nothing that was specific to families.  His inclusion of “family” was just to use a word that people like.  He said he wants Britain to be “a country in which we put family first.”  What does that mean?  Are there governments who hate families?  He said Labour would provide “security for our nation, our families and all of our communities.”  Again, he promised nothing except what would be assumed to be a given.

Adorned with rose-tinted imperialist glasses Starmer exclaimed, presumably with a hundred strong choir belting out all the verses of  ‘Rule Britannia’ in his head,

I can see in my mind’s eye the country I want us to be.  A country which would be an active force for good in the world, once again admired and respected.”

Why does Britain need to be “admired and respected?”  Desperation for admiration and respect is a weird residue of empire.

Starmer is determined to be The Bystander.  He is pathologically fearful of presenting anything that resembles vision.  He is an opponent of focussed ideology.  His words are a parody of a vacuous orator. 

Under his leadership Labour is not “in opposition.”

Recommended reading
Aaron Bastani on Starmer’s support for family
Ronan Burtenshaw for Tribune

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Keir Starmer: The Bystander’s unvision

Bridget Phillipson explained Labour’s anti-politics

In a speech to right-wing entryists Labour To Win on 13th September Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the treasury Bridget Phillipson delivered a short précis of Labour’s strategy in opposition.  

The single component of her exposition of the party’s strategy was Labour should listen to the public.  Phillipson’s opinion of the public was not complimentary; she assumed glibly that people are ignorant – they don’t follow the news much and they don’t have time to follow the detail of policies that don’t affect them” – and she suggested to her audience that the public should be patronised – we need to listen, learn and use their language.”

If the shadow front bench think the public lack knowledge of cause and effect or of how governments, the capitalist system and the economy works then they could try to help to inform the public but Phillipson said such a strategy is wrong. 

For example, she wants the public to be ignorant of the causes of hardship.

When people complain about local services being terrible, and we nod and talk about the impact of austerity, we cannot be surprised that they don’t think we see things as they do.”

The austerity programme of successive Tory governments was (and is) an ideological policy and part of an ongoing plan to migrate wealth from the poorest to the richest.  Regurgitated New Labour is not opposed to that Tory policy and so it prefers the public to be uninformed of the policy’s intent and consequences while faux sympathetic ears listen to accounts of the devastation of lives and livelihoods.

Phillipson’s suggestion that people don’t understand the causes of problems, such as austerity, was countered by her request that “we [Labour] need to be alive to the concerns people have about tax and the economy.”

Phillipson’s listening strategy was presented as if contrary to strategies of Labour when Corbyn was leader.  She claimed Labour’s election failure was due to not winning arguments on issues that Corbyn focussed on.  Despite thorough costing of Labour’s manifesto’s spending plans Phillipson said Labour was perceived as a tax and spend party.  That perception was created by politicians and client journalists who were opposed to Corbyn’s politics and it was supported by opponents of Corbyn in Labour. 

Starmer, Phillipson and their colleagues were and are opposed to action that redistributes wealth and income in favour of the majority of people.

We cannot be thought of as a party whose reaction to every problem is that the answer is more spending.  It’s a habit we got into, and it’s a habit we need to break.”

Other options to  a”habit” of more spending, such as collecting tax from extremely wealthy tax avoiders, cannot be conceived by front bench members of post-Corbyn Labour.

There was an interesting synergy between Phillipson’s strategy of listening to the public to decide on policy and Tim Davie’s outline of a new strategy at the BBC that he presented in an introductory speech to staff a few days after his tenure as Director-General began.

DAVIE: “Across the UK, across all political views, across all of society, and across all age groups, people must feel their BBC is here for them, not for us.  So I want a radical shift in our focus from the internal to the external, to focus on those we serve: the public.”

PHILLIPSON: “Our language and our framing must reflect the world as our electors see it, not as how we might discuss it at a general committee.”

Davie and Phillipson share a philosophy that includes preservation of the status quo coupled with rejection of ideology and critical analysis.  Both proposed the tactic (to fulfill that philosophy) of pretending to listen to the public (and, thus, blaming the public) in order to justify a political stance of complicity.  

Everyone who observed the bystanding of Keir Starmer will not be surprised by the emptiness displayed in Phillipson’s elucidation of Labour’s intention of avoidance of action.  Anti-politics is the new centrist fad.  Stand by, deceptively idly, while Tories wreck; no intervention means full agreement. 

Phillipson is aware that Starmer’s performances at Prime Minister’s Questions are his only visible successful tactic whereat his coherent and famously “forensic” questions contrast with Johnson’s lies, waffle and noises.  She said one of the “principle challenges” facing Labour is that “[we must] reach those voters who do not watch Prime Minister’s Questions and ensure that they see the contrast that we all see between Keir [Starmer] and [Boris] Johnson.”  That is all Starmer offers.

We have a Labour party that is anti-politics and anti-opposition.  It is dormant and its sleepiness is its strategy.

Related blogs
Keir Starmer: The Bystander
Labour To Win
Tim Davie’s introductory speech to BBC staff

Bridget Phillipson explained Labour’s anti-politics

Priti Patel, police and Extinction Rebellion

Protests, demonstrations and pickets are allowed in the UK only if they have little or no effect.  If they are effective then police shut them down using both lawful and unlawful tactics and politicians change the law to counter their success. 

In their campaigns for tough action to tackle climate change Extinction Rebellion and associated activists help to increase public support for demands for anti-climate change policies by governments.  The possibility of strong government policies to protect the environment horrifies the world’s biggest exploiters of people and resources.  These exploiters, and their financial partners, investors, shareholders and creditors, are employers of the Tories.

Extinction Rebellion’s law-breaking includes obstructing the highway and mild criminal damage, the latter often via the use of paint.  It is not an existential threat to civil society.  It is not ISIS or the IRA, and it is not well-funded organised far-right thuggery and violence.  However, it is a threat to some very wealthy corporations and their campadres in banking; therefore, the Tories choose to react to Extinction Rebellion as if the fabric of civilisation is teetering on the edge of an abyss of anarchy.

Current Tory Home Secretary knows who pays the Tories and, so, she expressed her determination to attack Extinction Rebellion in a speech at Police Superintendents’ Association conference on September 8th (2020).  Her aim was to coalesce the government’s and the police’s agendas against Extinction Rebellion; Patel forgot that the police are not supposed to act with political intent.  

The pertinent section of the speech is quoted below.  Patel made no attempt to adhere to balanced analysis or facts.  Her descriptions of the activists and their actions were melodramatic and stupid.  Her intent was to rabble-rouse her audience of senior police officers.  She wanted to implant in the minds of the police, and the public, the depiction of the entirety of Extinction Rebellion as a criminal organisation.

Extinction Rebellion is a loosely organised political movement.  By classifying it as a criminal organisation Patel gave the police permission and instruction to harass anyone suspected of supporting it regardless of any acts committed. 

The Tories intend to change the law to solidify their attitude to Extinction Rebellion.  Patel’s speech was part of the PR to promote support for such a law change.

Priti Patel’s comments on Extinction Rebellion in her speech to Association of Police Superintendents:

Now it is said that where there is no law there is no freedom, and that law and order is the cornerstone of our free society.  And without it we have nothing.  But events of the last week have exposed another emerging threat – the so-called eco-crusaders turned criminals.  Attempting to thwart the media’s right to publish without fear nor favour.  And a shameful attack on our way of life, our economy, and the livelihoods of the hardworking majority.  I refuse point plank to allow that kind of anarchy on our streets.  And I’m right behind you as you bring the full might of the law down upon that selfish minority.  The very criminals who disrupt our free society must be stopped.  And together we must all stand firm against the guerrilla tactics of Extinction Rebellion.  And that means adapting to the threat that they pose and ensuring that justice is served.”

Transcript of full speechPriti Patel

Recommended reading
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NetPol: Charter for Freedom of Assembly Rights

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Priti Patel, police and Extinction Rebellion