Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Why economic suicide is a bad idea

It seems such a ridiculous thing to have to explain, but the outburst of Twitter outrage over the failure of Ian Murray's economic suicide amendment kind of makes it necessary to explain why economic suicide is actually a bad idea.

The likes of ex-Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron and the usual suspects from the Labour right bombarded Twitter with howls of protest after the amendment to the Taxation (Cross Border Trade) Bill by the right-wing Labour MP Ian Murray was defeated by 311 votes to 76.

Tim Farron put up a Twitter rant claiming that he'd voted to keep Britain in the Customs Union, but in reality he did no such thing. An amendment to keep Britain in the Customs Union would have specified that Britain should stay in the Customs Union, but what Ian Murray's ludicrous amendment sought to do was to force the UK to continue behaving as if it was in the Customs Union, even if we end up out of it!

Murray's amendment sought to prevent the UK from imposing tariffs or quotas on imported goods from the EU, regardless of whether the hard-right Tories contrive the "no deal" cliff edge Brexit they're craving or not.

However, the World Trade Organisation rules are clear that countries can't offer favourable trade terms to other countries unless they do it through a formal trade agreement, so that means the Murray economic suicide amendment would have forced the UK to drop import tariffs and quotas on all imports from anywhere in the world, whilst leaving the rest of the world free to impose tariffs and quotas on UK exports!

The UK trade deficit is already enormous, so just imagine the impact of eliminating all tariffs and quotas on imports while simultaneously allowing the rest of the world to impose WTO level tariffs on exports from the UK.

Just imagine how scrapping all import tariffs and quotas would render the UK absolutely defenceless when it comes to protecting British manufacturing from unfair trade practices like other nations dumping artificially cheap steel into the UK economy.

So if this amendment had passed and the Tories then forced a "no deal" flounce out of the EU, it would have hard-wired an even more fanatically right-wing and damaging Brexit than the hard-right Tories are pushing for!

Don't get me wrong here. I think the Tory red line that the UK must quit the Customs Union is a terrible idea that has already caused deadlock over the Irish border situation, and will cause a significant amount of economic damage to the UK economy when we leave, but the likes of Ian Murray and Tim Farron got it all wrong by attempting to ensure that the UK is forced to kill its own manufacturing sector stone dead if they don't get their own way.

Yet somehow these people turned the defeat of their economic suicide amendment into furious bile-laden attacks on the majority of the Labour Party for supposedly siding with the Tory hard Brexit fanatics because they lobbed their reckless and economically illiterate amendment in the bin where it belonged.

Ian Murray's amendment was so bad that he's even admitted that he expected it to lose, meaning that it was just another bit of pointless and destructive grandstanding from the Labour-right aimed at damaging their own party from within. And to see the likes of Tim Farron opportunistically piggy-backing anti-Labour diatribes onto it after its failure just proves the point.

I was particularly disappointed to see Caroline Lucas of the Green Party resort to this kind of hyper-partisan rubbish after the amendment was defeated because she's one of my favourite politicians and normally loads better than that. 

I was also disappointed to see so many SNP politicians voting in favour of Ian Murray's economic suicide amendment and then engaging in hyper-partisan attacks when it was defeated. The SNP should have considered the implications of what they were voting for before they voted for it, and they should also be perfectly well aware that Ian Murray is a right-wing Labour MP more intent on making trouble for his own party leadership than doing anything to actually help the people of Scotland.

It takes quite a level of idiocy to propose an amendment that would make a Tory "no deal" Brexit even worse by turning the UK into a lame debt-shackled sitting-duck economy that is literally begging to have its core industries ruined by allowing unlimited imports, while the rest of the world can apply tariffs on UK exports. But it takes a whole other level of idiocy to then turn around and spit bile at those who prevented you from making such an economically illiterate blunder, accusing them of collaborating with the Tories.

Even most of the rabid hard-right Brexiteers have enough sense to understand that abolishing all import tariffs and quotas on imports while other economies remain free to impose them on UK exports would be nothing short of unilateral economic surrender, but Tim Farron and his ilk are just too dim-witted to realise that they were attempting to hard-wire a super-hard Brexit that was too extreme even for the hard-right Tory Brexiteers to stomach!

It really does not engender much faith in the parliamentary process that so many MPs voted in favour of an economic suicide amendment, and then cried victim so piteously when it was defeated.

It also severely erodes the standing of the (already hopelessly diminished) mainstream media that they utterly failed to convey the reckless economic illiteracy of Ian Murray's amendment, or it's shocking implications should the Tories achieve the "no deal" Brexit they're so obviously craving.

It's utterly infuriating that so many people (including our elected representatives and the mainstream media figures who are supposedly tasked with holding them to account) are so insistent on framing everything in a over-simplistic binary opposition between pro- and anti- Brexit, when stuff like the Murray economic suicide amendment just doesn't fit.

The politicians who voted in favour of it were too lazy/irresponsible to think about the devastating economic consequences that such an amendment would have in the case of a Tory "no deal" Brexit, meaning that their haphazard knee-jerk opposition to Brexit could have actually hard-wired a more extreme version of Brexit than the foaming-at-the-mouth hard-right Tories are aiming for!

But apparently the reality of the situation is just too boring/complex for most political commentators to bother with, so they just stick with their tactic of hyper-partisan shrieking instead.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Andrew Neil just made an absolute tit of himself on Twitter

The most infuriating thing about Andrew Neil is that we all know that he's well capable of being a ferocious interviewer, but his pro-Tory and pro-Brexit biases prevent him from holding right-wing politicians and Brexiteers to account in the same way as he savages people he's ideologically opposed to.

His pro-Brexit bias is as obvious as it is understandable, after all he's a right-winger who has worked for all three of the main pro-Brexit mainstream media propaganda outlets in his time (the Murdoch empire, the Daily Mail, and the Barclay brothers' Press Holdings).

Anyone who is aware of Neil's background must be continually on the look out for the pro-Tory and pro-Brexit spin he puts on the news.

On the evening of Monday 20th November Neil posted a bizarrely hyperbolic tweet claiming that the breakdown in the German coalition government talks represented the worst political crisis in Germany since the 1940s, which he claimed to be even more severe than the Brexit mess the UK has been enduring for the last year and a half.
The reason he came out with this hyperbolic nonsense is obvious. The latest delusional Brexiteer trope is that a weakened Germany would somehow be good for the Brexit negotiations, as if the rest of Europe are just going to roll over and give the UK everything the Tories demand, just because Agela Merkel is having some domestic difficulties pulling together a coalition government!

The Tweet was utterly bizarre for several reasons. One of the main ones being that one party or another walking out of coalition talks is absolutely commonplace in countries with fair and proportional voting systems. If wrangling over coalition deals is a major Century-defining crisis, then Spain had two Century defining crises with unresolvable coalition talks in the last two years!

Another reason the Tweet is so ridiculous is that Germany has endured all kinds of extreme political situations since the 1940s. The nation was divided in half by the Berlin wall. Tensions were extraordinary. East Germany was stalked by the Stasi. West Germany was the absolute frontier of the Cold War. Then the Berlin Wall came down and Germany had to persuade the EU to break their own entry rules in order to allow East Germany fast-track entry through the process of reunification.

But perhaps the most ludicrous thing about Neil's initial Tweet is that there is one country that is definitely going through it's most severe political crisis since the 1940s, and that's the UK thanks to the Brexit shambles that Neil promotes so vehemently.

Being an ideologically blinkered Brexiteer isn't what made Andrew Neil such a pompous tit though. He made an absolute arse of himself when a guy called Jon Worth showed up to explain that all that had actually happened in Germany was that one of the four parties in the coalition talks had walked out, and that this was actually no big deal.

Neil couldn't tolerate being corrected like this so he went into full-on pompous attack mode, by replying "Guess you're not reading/watching German media".

The problem was that in his haste to bite back Neil failed to even bother to check who he was actually talking to.

It turns out that had Neil even bothered to read Jon Worth's Twitter bio, he would have found out that the guy is actually a member of a German political party, a political campaigner and a blogger on German politics.

Literally all that Neil had to do to avoid making such an arse of himself was to mouse over the guy's Twitter handle to check who he actually was before he snapped back, but he didn't bother.

And what's worse is that the comments beneath Neil's snarky reply called him out over and again for it, but he didn't backtrack or apologise at all, presumably imagining that if he just ignored it, nobody else would notice.

In a way Neil's Twitter blunder is indicative of the Brexiter mentality. These people have an ideological agenda which they propagandise for relentlessly, but they're so riddled with confirmation bias that they won't do even the slightest background research on anything that contradicts their worldview, to the point of not even checking who it is they're patronising with their bullshit.

Thus we end up with Neil making a pompous tit of himself by seeking to Brexitsplain German politics to someone who is actually an expert in German politics!

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The Labour leadership were absolutely right to oppose Ian Murray's economic suicide amendment

When the right-wing Labour MP Ian Murray's proposed amendment to the Taxation (Cross Border Trade) Bill was defeated there was an eruption of outrage amongst the right-wing of the Labour Party and the appalling self-declared centrist types who propagandise for them on Twitter and in the mainstream media.

How they howled and shrieked that some Labour MPs had voted against the amendment designed to stop the UK from imposing tariffs and quotas on produce from the EU.

In reality the vast majority of Labour MPs abstained on the vote, with just 18 voting against the amendment and 28 voting in favour, meaning that the amendment was always going to fail, and was beaten by 311 votes to 76.

The furious centrist narrative was quickly set that the 18 Labour MPs who voted against the Murray amendment were traitors who were determined to force a Tory hard Brexit by ruling out membership of the EU Customs Union. However this  propaganda narrative couldn't be further from the truth.

In reality the Murray amendment would have worked to create an even harder Brexit than even the most foaming-at-the-mouth hard-right Tories are aiming for.

The Murray amendment would have caused a British economic catastrophe by making it impossible for the UK to apply import tariffs or quotas on any products from anywhere in the world, while all other countries could continue to apply import tariffs on the UK!

The reason for this is that if the UK reverts to World Trade Organisation rules (which seems increasingly probable given the shambolic Tory handling of the Brexit process) the WTO "Most Favoured Nation" rule states that unless you have a specific trade agreement, then you must offer the same deal to everyone. So if you've legislated to make it illegal to apply tariffs or quotas on imports from EU countries, then you can't apply tariffs or quotas from imports from literally anywhere else in the world either.

Just think back to the chaos caused by the Chinese dumping cheap steel on the world market. If the Murray amendment had have passed, the UK would have been rendered powerless to stop other larger economies from deliberately wrecking UK industries through strategic dumping.

The UK already has an alarmingly vast trade deficit with the rest of the world, and just imagine how much worse that trade deficit would have got had the rest of the world been allowed to flood the UK with unlimited tariff free imports, while UK exports are subjected to quotas and tariffs at the normal WTO rates.

The idea of totally eliminating tariffs and quotas is actually utopia for hard-right Lassaiz-Faire fanatics, but even most of the hard-right Brexiteers understand that eliminating all tariffs and quotas on imports, while other countries can continue applying them on our exports would be economic suicide.

What Murray's amendment would have achieved is a state of unilateral economic surrender. But somehow the Labour right-wing and the centrist dad types have whipped themselves up into furious outrage over the fact that the Labour front bench had the economic sense to see the dangerous economic illiteracy of the Murray amendment, and ensure that it could not pass.

It should obviously be no surprise to anyone that Ian Murray is a Labour right-winger from the Progress faction of the party, because no left-winger (or anyone with a grain of sense) would want the UK to use Brexit as an excuse to declare unilateral economic surrender.

This whole furore just goes to prove that it's not just the Tories who engage in reality-reversing propaganda, but the Labour Party right-wingers and the so-called centrists do it too.

How else is it possible to explain their furious accusations that the Labour front bench have sided with hard-Brexit Tories, when what they actually did was ensure that Ian Murray's ill-considered amendment didn't end up creating a unilateral economic surrender version of Brexit that's so extreme that even most of the fruit-loop Tory hard-Brexiteers have sufficient sense to steer clear of it!

So if you come across anyone expressing outrage that the Labour leadership opposed the Murray amendment, you can safely conclude that they're just simple-minded ideological partisans who are so desperate to attack Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour left that they have literally no interest in the reality of what actually happened at all. In fact accusing the Labour front bench of colluding with hard-Brexit Tories shows so little regard for the facts that it's obvious that they're (either wilfully or ignorantly) reversing reality.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Monday, 20 November 2017

Brexit has already cost the average British worker the equivalent of a week's wages

Ever since the EU referendum Brexiteers have continually promoted the myth that Brexit is not going to be a disaster because the "project fear" predictions of the Remain campaign supposedly didn't come true after the referendum.

The main problem with this myth of course is that the predictions of an economic downturn have largely proven quite accurate since the Brexit vote. 

It's clear that what has actually happened to the economy in the wake of the Brexit vote actually lies pretty much in the middle of what the various Brexit forecasts predicted (see image).

It's also worth remembering that many of the pre-Brexit forecasts were built on the (somewhat naive) assumption that David Cameron would stick to his word and trigger Article 50 on the day after a Leave vote.

So when Cameron didn't actually do that, he dramatically softened the immediate economic impact of Brexit by deferring a significant measure of the economic damage (thus helping to generate the seemingly ubiquitous 'Brexit isn't so bad' trope).

Even though Cameron handed the Brexiteers a huge propaganda boost by renageing on his empty threat to trigger Article 50 on the day after the EU referendum, the Brexit vote still caused a significant measure of economic damage.

The immediate slump in the value of the Pound took time to filter through to millions of ordinary British workers through rising inflation, but those who live, study, or have business elsewhere in the EU suffered an immediate 10%-15% collapse in their living standards (think of the adverse effect of the £ slump on UK pensioners in Spain who saw the value of their pensions decline dramatically, or UK based businesses reliant upon imports from the EU).

We already know that since Brexit the value of the pound has collapsed, inflation has risen significantly above the Bank of England interest rate, the real value of UK workers' wages has declined dramatically, and the UK has slumped to the lowest growth rate in the EU.

Now a study from the Centre for Economic Performance and the London School of Economics has calculated the scale of the damage for ordinary working people.

According to their calculations, the post-Brexit rise in inflation has caused price increases of £404 per year for the average household.

If the damage is calculated in terms of the reduced real value of workers' wages, it's equivalent to a £448 per year pay cut for the average worker, which is the equivalent of losing an entire week's salary.

The extraordinary thing is that Brexit has already collapsed the UK growth rate, caused a significant rise in inflation, and trashed the real incomes of millions of ordinary British workers, yet it hasn't even happened yet!

Had David Cameron triggered Article 50 on June 24th like he said he would, the UK would already have had to have concluded the Brexit negotiations by the end of 2017 so as to leave time for the ratification process (any EU-UK deal is subject to democratic approval in the parliaments of all EU member states).

So given that Brexit has robbed millions of workers of the equivalent of a whole week's wages, and that the impact on the wider economy is right in the middle of the forecasts, isn't it about time that we lob these dishonest "Brexit isn't so bad", "Remain were pushing project fear lies" tropes into the dustbin (a bin that is already pretty damned full of other Brexiteer lies)?

But even as we're lobbing this dishonest Brexiteer trope in the bin, they're coming up with a new propaganda narrative aimed at pinning the blame for the Brexit damage onto pretty much anyone who is opposed to their own fanatical "no deal" interpretation of the Brexit vote.

The Brexiteers accused Remainers of lying and fearmongering when the economic predictions showed that Brexit would be bad for the UK economy and bad for ordinary British workers, and now that these predictions are demonstrably coming true, they're now seeking to pin the blame for their own mess onto the very people who predicted these negative outcomes in the first place!

The problem of course is that it's ridiculously difficult to reason people out of a belief that they didn't reason themselves into in the first place. So people who are ideologically committed to Brexit will shrug off the erosion of their own wages, and accept the Brexiteer propositions that the blame for any negative outcomes lies with anyone but the Brexiteers themselves (Remainers, the EU27, the courts, the opposition parties, academics who dare to critique the Brexit process, the left-liberal elements of the press, economists and other experts ...).

To many people Brexit is like a religious cult based on the unquestionable assertion that "Brexit is good", so even if they're shown how it isn't good, they'll tinker around with ancillary beliefs until they develop a convenient excuse.

Just as the religious cult leaders might absolve the gods of blame for the devastating flood/drought/famine by claiming it's vengeance for the people not praying hard enough, the leaders of the Brexit cult are beginning to insist that Brexit isn't to blame for the low growth/high inflation/collapsing wages, but that the public are to blame for not believing in Brexit fervently enough!

We know that Brexit is already harming the UK economy and the lives of millions of ordinary workers, and we know that the damage will be very much worse if the hard-right Tories get the ruinous "no deal" Brexit they're craving. So the only way of stopping this extreme Brexit disaster from happening is by breaking people out of the Brexit cult, which is clearly easier said than done.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Sunday, 19 November 2017

Philip Hammond actually claimed "there are no unemployed people"

Just imagine the mainstream media reaction if the shadow chancellor John McDonnell​ or anyone else from Labour had made a claim as ridiculous as there supposedly being no unemployed people in Britain. 

But that's exactly what the Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond did on the Andrew Marr Show.

We all remember the festival of hate that was aimed at Diane Abbott after she got her numbers horribly jumbled up during the general election, but at least she never made a claim as ludicrous as there being no unemployment at all.

Anyone who pays the remotest attention to politics must be well aware of the tricks and scams the Tories use to rig the unemployment figures like unemployed people forced to do unpaid "workfare" work being classed as employed, people working just a few hours a week on Zero Hours Contracts but still on benefits being classed as employed, people hit with draconian benefits sanctions not being classed as unemployed, economically inactive people not being classed as unemployed ...

We also know that the increase in the employment rate since 2010 has been matched by the longest sustained decline in UK workers' wages since records began. It's hardly ridiculous to suppose that the Tory policy of ruthlessly driving down workers' wages and working conditions has resulted in in a boom of low-paid, low-skill jobs as growing numbers of employers use exploitative employment practices like Zero Hours Contracts and fake self-employment in the gig economy in order to rinse as much profit as possible out of the UK workforce.

But we know that Hammond's ridiculous gaffe about there being no unemployed people will get nothing like the mainstream media attention Diane Abbott's mind fart got. And we also know that the mainstream media will continue championing the Tories' rigged unemployment figures without providing the caveat that they've only been achieved through horrific anti-welfare policies like sanctions, "workfare" and erecting as many obstacles as possible for people trying to claim unemployment benefits so that people (especially the mentally ill and under-educated) don't claim what they're actually entitled to.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Saturday, 18 November 2017

Abusing the Irish is a really stupid idea

"Shut your gob" and "grow up" shrieked The S*n after the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar dared to criticise the absolute shambles Theresa May and the three Brexiteers are making of the Brexit process.

Interestingly they didn't run the same petty-minded rant in the Irish version of The S*n though. One might imagine that this tirade wasn't actually intended for the Irish at all, but just to stoke up anti-Irish xenophobia amongst their readers.

Varadkar was hardly saying anything that we don't know when he complained that nowhere near enough progress has been made on the Irish border issue, or when he pointed out that "Brexit is a British policy, it's also one that Britain has imposed on the rest of Europe".

He is entirely right to be furious at the pitiful lack of progress on the Irish border, and he didn't say anything that warranted the furious backlash in Rupert Murdoch's UK propaganda rag, and certainly nothing to justify the hyperbolic accusation that "his arrogance stems from a delusion that he can ­single-handedly stop Brexit"

Anyone who gives a damn about Ireland knows how important it is to find a resolution to the Irish border problem, but then events in Ireland both north and south of the border get very little coverage in the UK mainstream media.

Just consider the fact that the Tories and the DUP have collaborated to impose direct rule in Northern Ireland just a few days ago, which is yet another significant setback in the peace process. 

This extraordinary intervention barely received a whiff of coverage and analysis, while absolute dross like the Greggs sausage roll in a manger farce and Kezia Dugdale dashing off to appear on "I'm a Celebrity" generated far more coverage.

Aside from the fact that the Irish border issue is absolutely crucial to the people of Ireland and Northern Ireland, it's actually also crucial to the people of mainland Britain too, because the EU27 have made it absolutely clear that the Brexit negotiations cannot move on to the trade talks phase until the Irish border issue is resolved.

So the more time the Tories fritter away without finding a sensible solution to the Irish border problem, the less time will remain for the trade talks to happen.

It's important to note that insulting the Irish Taoiseach and the Irish people is hardly a useful strategy at any stage of the negotiations, because (like all of the EU27 countries) Ireland will have a veto over the Brexit trade deal. Under these circumstances lobbing a load of bile, hyperbole, and abuse at the Irish hardly seems sensible.

In fact, it could be argued that frittering away time and insulting the Irish are exactly what you'd expect from people who actually want the Brexit negotiations to fail so as to cause the UK economy to collapse into an even more damaging economic meltdown than the 2007-08 bankers' crisis.

The suspicion that manufacturing a Brexit economic meltdown is the actual endgame for the hard-right is only bolstered by the fact that the Tories have been trying to hard write the Brexit date into law so that Britain crashes out of the EU with "no deal" whatever, even if both sides actually favour extending the negotiating period!

So once again we return to the age old question about Tories and their cheerleaders in the right-wing press: Is this behaviour motivated primarily by stupidity, or by malice?

What do you reckon?

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


How Jeremy Corbyn burned the UKIP Trojan Horse to the ground

UKIP was always a Trojan Horse of a political party. It was absolutely obvious that they were a fake protest party designed to hoover up the votes of the dissatisfied in order to push the UK political spectrum ever further to the hard-right.

Anyone who cared to actually listen to their contempt for the NHS and the hard-right policies they promoted could tell what they were up to, but somehow  UKIP kept building momentum and attracting more and more voters who seemed entirely unconcerned that the party they were endorsing were pushing ever more fanatically right-wing policies into the political mainstream.

For a while the UK political scene was looking absolutely grim for anyone who believes in centre-left and liberal ideas, because the Tory+UKIP share of the vote was absolutely massive. At the 2015 General Election the combined Tory-UKIP vote share dwarfed the Labour vote share in every age demographic, even the under-30s!

We knew that all it would take would be for the UKIP and Tory votes to combine, and Britain would suffer a landslide election victory for a hard-right ultra-nationalist party that would make the Thatcher regime look like a bunch of mild-mannered moderates in comparison.

Had the 2015 Tory and UKIP votes combined together under the Tory flag, and the other parties kept more or less the same vote share, the Electoral Calculus website suggests that the Tories would have landed a super-majority with 406 seats, Labour would have slumped to 183 seats (their worst performance since the 1930s) and the Lib-Dems would have been reduced to just 2 seats!

After the Brexit vote in June 2016 and the subsequent implosion of UKIP under the hapless and directionless leadership of Paul Nuttall, it seemed that our worst fears were coming true. Theresa May and the Tories were soaring high in the polls and ex-Ukippers were flocking to the Tory party to follow the Brexit flag Theresa may had opportunistically nicked off actual Brexiteers when it suited her carer interests to do so.

In the week that Theresa May announced her self-serving snap election, the Tories had a massive lead in the opinion polls

YouGov put the Tories 48-24 ahead of Labour, and ComRes polled a 50-25 lead for the Tories. 

The only debate amongst mainstream media hacks at the time was whether Theresa May was going to ride the Blue-kip surge to a super-majority of 50+, or a mega-majority of 100+.

We all know what happened next. 

We all witnessed the most extraordinary turnaround in political fortunes as Jeremy Corbyn built a massive wave of support, especially amongst young voters and the millions who had been disenfranchised and reduced to apathy through two decades of having no influence over politics other than the colour of the rosette being worn by one out-of-touch neoliberalism-fixated shill or the other.

Theresa May still benefited from a massive influx of hard-right ultra-nationalist Blue-kippers, which is the main explanation for how probably the worst general election campaign in living memory resulted in a 2.3 million increase in the Tory vote, but the Blue-kip surge was more than countered by the astounding 3.5 million increase in the Labour vote.

Jeremy Corbyn achieved this extraordinary turnaround in two main ways. Firstly he offered an actual manifesto of hope instead of the disastrously uninspiring kind of austerity-lite slop that Labour offered up at the 2015 General Election. And secondly by playing an absolute master-stroke. Despite howls of outrage from the usual suspects, Corbyn decided to go into the 2017 General Election offering a centre-left version of Brexit, rather than opting for a "let's cancel Brexit" campaign that would have been furiously derided as an anti-democratic sore loser campaign.

Corbyn's strategic decision payed off brilliantly as a sizeable chunk of the less rabidly right-wing UKIP vote deserted to Labour instead of the Tories, and the Lib-Dems who did run a sore loser campaign actually dropped another 0.5% from what most observers assumed to be their absolute nadir in 2015.

The Tories should be absolutely furious with Theresa May because the UKIP Trojan Horse surge was a one-off golden opportunity to secure a massive unassailable Tory majority, and she absolutely wasted it.

UKIP is now wreck of a party that has slumped from almost 4 million votes in 2015 to below half a million just two years later. In the 2017 local elections they lost a staggering 145 of the 146 council seats they were defending, since the General Election they've lost all 5 of the by-election seats they held, and they're also suffering even more losses as UKIP councillors flee the sinking ship by defecting to the Tory party.

There's never going to be another Blue-kip surge for the Tory party because the UKIP Trojan Horse is burned to cinders. And the Tories have got an even bigger problem than that too. The grotesque brand of hard-right ultra-nationalism that the Tories embraced in order to appeal to the Ukipper demographic is electoral cyanide to the younger generations, who are very much more keen on stuff like environmentalism, feminism, multiculturalism and social liberalism.

The Tories must keep pushing the regressive hard-right ultra-nationalist policies or their brand new, but now fundamentally important Blue-kip demographic will desert them. But they're sitting on a demographic trapdoor, because the electorate is more divided by age than it's ever been, and the demographics that most adore regressive hard-right fanaticism are the not-long-to-live over-65s, while younger voters who have a dozen or more elections in front of them absolutely detest it.

The Tories can't get off the demographic trapdoor they've positioned themselves over because their fanatically right-wing Blue-kip demographic would abandon them if they did, but this demographic is going to gradually die off, leaving Labour to power to victory at some point.

The trope amongst bitter centrist dad Blairite types these days is to ignore the fact that Jeremy Corbyn achieved the biggest increase in the Labour vote share since 1945, and to actually whine that Corbyn should have won the election outright. 

But what they're missing (either wilfully, or through sheer political ignorance) is that Jeremy Corbyn has burned the UKIP Trojan Horse to the ground, and left the Tories utterly dependent on appealing to the basest instincts of the regressive Blue-kip demographic.

Just imagine how much scorn and derision would have been poured on anyone who had predicted back in April that Jeremy Corbyn could more than counteract the Blue-kip surge by doing two things that conventional political wisdom claimed as impossible; bringing out the youth vote, and re-engaging non-voters. 

But somehow he actually managed to do it, and it's surely only a matter of time before the Tory party collapses into the "no deal" Brexit hole they keep digging beneath their own foundations, giving Jeremy Corbyn and the reenergised Labour Party a chance to finish off the job.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Friday, 17 November 2017

The Spanish knew about Abdelbaki Es Satty's jihadist links, but they didn't bother to tell the Catalan police

The Islamist extremist who masterminded the August 2017 terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils had worked as an informant to the Spanish security services.

Spain's National Intelligence Centre (CNI) have admitted that they had contact with Abdelbaki Es Satty that began during his four year jail sentence for drug smuggling between 2010 and 2014.

It's also been established that Es Satty was known to the Spanish intelligence services when he first arrived in Spain in 2002, and that his contact details were included in the address books of the terrorists who carried out the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 193 people.

Es Satty was killed in an explosion in the bomb factory he was operating in the small Catalan town of Alcanar in August 2017.

The CNI have refused to admit when Es Satty stopped working as an informant for them, or how much he was paid. They also failed to intervene when Es Satty appealed against his deportation from Spain in 2015 because the court were presented with no information whatever about his links with Islamist terrorists.

The CNI have not offered an explanation for why none of the information on Es Satty's jihadist links and drug smuggling activities were ever shared with the Catalan police when it became clear that he'd settled in Catalonia either.

What's even worse is that despite the Spanish security services having failed to share the information they had on Es Satty with the Catalan police, Spanish sources in Madrid even set about briefing the press that the Catalan police were at fault for "missing opportunities to uncover the plot".

Given how the justice system works in Spain nobody in the Spanish intelligence agencies will ever face criticism, let alone punishment over this scandal, and if Es Satty was still working as an informant while he was actively plotting terrorist attacks, the fact will never be made public.

We know this because if you're part of the Spanish establishment you can walk free even after being found guilty of vast multi-billion Euro frauds (like Rodrigo Rato and IƱaki Urdangarin have), while if you're considered an enemy of the Spanish state you can be imprisoned without trial for "crimes" like peacefully promoting Catalan independence and organising a democratic vote.

It's absolutely no surprise that the Spanish legal system is widely regarded as the most corrupt in western Europe, and it would take an extraordinary display of wishful thinking to expect anything resembling a proper unbiased investigation into the Abdelbaki Es Satty scandal.

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