UK

More Thoughts on BLM & current protests

So earlier I wrote a post about the protests in response to the death of George Floyd and some thoughts and feelings that I had relating to these. Here are some further reflections based on what I’ve seen. I want to make clear that these reflections are based on what I have seen through the Twitterverse and the like (so may be imperfect as a reflection). I have not actually attended any protests, there have been a couple in my city but I did not know about them until afterwards. If I had, I would have gone along in the capacity of someone having a look in order to get a better idea.

I follow a fair mix of people on Twitter now so I have seen views ranging from condemning BLM as Marxist terrorists to full support. You’ve probably figured this out by now, but I don’t fall into either category. I don’t disagree with BLM that police brutality and racism are (at least somewhat) connected and are a legitimate problem. I don’t disagree with trying to change that.

Here’s where I start to have my doubts. It seems a lot of the current actions have started to focus on the “statue wars”, beginning with the removal of the statue of Colston, a slave owner, in Bristol. As well as a movement to get rid of the statue of Cecil Rhodes in Oxford. Now I do not wish to sit here and defend statues venerating slave owners in the twenty first century, nor do I wish to defend the imperialist Cecil Rhodes having a statue. But statues are symbolism. That is all they are. In the last analysis symbols don’t matter very much. Symbols are not food on the table and they’re not an end to the bombings. Same with the vandalism of the statue of Winston Churchill, so it read ‘Churchill was a racist’ (which I agree, he was.)

Nor do I think stuff like chanting at Peter Hitchens for being in the general vicinity of one of your Cecil Rhodes protests is a particularly good look.

But the nub of this issue comes down to: essentially talking about these statues is talking about and condemning something that no longer exists (the British Empire). And while talking about something that does not exist (the British Empire) we are ignoring something that does exist (British Imperialism).

Now I’m sure BLM formally oppose bombing of countries abroad, but at the moment, I don’t see any really coherent messaging coming out of these protests condemning how Black Lives have been destroyed in Libya by the West, including Britain, turning the richest country in Africa into a place with open slave markets. We can’t talk about racism without talking about that. Nor can we talk about it without talking about the racism of the Iraq war and the anti-Palestinian racism endemic at every level of the British establishment. BLM is either not doing this, or not doing it very effectively.

A couple of other points that are key for me. First are the question marks about funding. They get funding from a lot of people that are not particularly trustworthy. Admittedly, this is regarding the US group and not the UK to avoid anything being misleading. The above article says:

The Ford Foundation, one of the most powerful private foundations in the world, with close ties to Wall Street and the US government, recently announced that it is overseeing the funneling of $100 million over six years to several organizations that play leading roles in the Black Lives Matter movement.

Gabriel Black, Billionaires Back “Black Lives Matter”

Billionaires generally don’t back stuff that’s against their interests. I think that is pretty clear.

One further point, and that is that I don’t see any criticism of lockdown from BLM. Any movement that seeks to get rid of police brutality and arbitrariness must criticise the expansion of police powers entailed by lockdown and their use. After all, if the police are racist, then it follows logically that any new powers they get will be wielded in a racist manner. And lockdown has done nothing but give the police new powers.

UK

Guardian Idiocy on Lockdown

Let’s take the piss out of the Guardian again. Since I don’t have anything better to do.

They’ve got a new article out called ‘The ‘lockdown sceptics’ want a culture war, with experts as the enemy’. Oh yeah, this going to be fun.

The dismissal of coronavirus expertise, the pitting of ‘elites’ against ‘the people’ – it’s Brexit all over again for the high-profile contrarians

Of course this article MUST mention Brexit because these people STILL can’t get over the fact that they lost. the. damn. referendum.

within days of Boris Johnson announcing lockdown restrictions in late March, Toby Young – self-appointed general secretary of the Free Speech Union – had his own take on the government’s tripartite slogan. “Stay sceptical. End the lockdown. Save lives.”

Why is he incorrect? Lockdown kills. Isolation kills, suicide kills, domestic violence kills, unemployment kills, stress related illnesses kill – all of which are increased by lockdown. The Guardian writers live in a bizarro world where the only thing people are dying of is Covid19. This article has a wealth of evidence for this position.

It then says something like ‘well of course scepticism is good and all that’ before they toot their own horn.

Journalists are inheritors of this fine intellectual tradition.

Actual jounalists? Absolutely. Like Julian Assange, who has been smeared by your publication non stop. You still haven’t fucking retracted the Manafort bullshit. Like Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett who the likes of George Monbiot at your esteemed organ think are Assad apologists for pointing out facts about fake gas attacks.

In the pages of the Daily Telegraph, the Spectator and other outlets, Britain’s contemporary “lockdown sceptics” have dedicated themselves to a singular cause: proving that the UK response to coronavirus has been a massive, hysterical overreaction. “Lift the lockdown” is their cogito ergo sum; Sweden their promised land.

This article does not discuss the relevance of Sweden though. The reason Sweden is raised is: UK has far more deaths per capita than Sweden, and a lockdown. Sweden has fewer deaths per capita and no lockdown. If we were all going to die without lockdown why hasn’t half the population of Sweden dropped dead at this point? It is an absolutely fair question. Just mentioning Sweden and not addressing the actual argument does not make your point correct.

Even as the coronavirus death toll has skyrocketed, the serried ranks of Britain’s lockdown sceptics have swelled. 

The problem with this argument is that it assumes lockdown works and the UK would have far more deaths if there had been no lockdown but there is no evidence for this position. See: Sweden above.

What was once largely the preserve of libertarians and professional contrarians now has supporters on the government benches and even, it appears, round the cabinet table.

I mean I don’t agree w/ libertarians on economics but complaining that libertarians care about civil liberties? Seriously. Also I have been anti-lockdown from the start and I am not a ‘libertarian’ nor a ‘professional contrarian’ [for one I don’t get paid for writing this]. I am a left winger who, at this point, wants a more localised version of leftism with more local control precisely to try and prevent the kind of overbearing state we are seeing now.

Britain’s self-appointed sceptics often look more like US-style culture warriors than critical thinkers.

No evidence is offered for this view. The lockdown sceptics I have read including the ones I disagree with ideologically like Peter Hitchens have written much more erudite pieces than this acknowledges.

“Coronavirus has turned us into a nation of scaredy-cats,” [Toby Young]

I agree. Guess I’m a monster and should go whip myself now or something.

(Young’s Lockdown Sceptics website even carries adverts from solicitors promising to advise anyone who “might have a legal case or claim over the government’s ‘lockdown’ regulations”.) 

Perfectly reasonable. Do you really think the police won’t get heavy handed if you give them all these new powers? Do you really think they won’t go after some groups more than others? We all know the police are breaking up poor people’s gatherings and smashing their shit, but when Ferguson sticks his cock up another man’s wife, well…

Young is not alone. Newspaper columnists such as Allison Pearson blithely equate asking schoolchildren to wear face masks with child abuse. 

I think she has a point. It is inculcating a completely unnecessary fear into children and will cause issues down the line, likely to have a negative effect on the child’s mental development such as increasing their anxiety. There’s also the fact that there is no evidence that wearing masks outside of a clinical setting is a good idea.

Particular ire is reserved for a group of people whose profession is based on scepticism: scientists. The team at Imperial College London – whose modelling predicted as many as half a million coronavirus deaths in Britain without lockdown measures – have been accused of “crude mathematical guesswork”. (By, er, Matt Ridley who presided over the crash at Northern Rock.)

Neil Ferguson, the modeller behind the predictions also said thousands and thousands would die of Mad Cow Disease and of Swine Flu. In neither case did this happen. Therefore, when a scientist makes an absurd prediction and has a track record of being wrong about fucking everything, we are entitled to ignore it and consider it junk science. Ridley is correct on this point, and not because he is saying it. In fact, the authors probably mentioned Ridley [instead of another scientist who thinks Ferguson’s predictions are BS] so they could bring up Northern Rock and then dismiss the argument that Ferguson’s models are junk by associating them with Ridley rather than another scientist who didn’t crash a bank.

When the Telegraph caught Neil Ferguson in breach of lockdown guidance

That’s one way of describing ‘sticking his dick up another man’s wife’, I suppose.

few were as cock-a-hoop as the paper’s columnists. On social media, anti-lockdown outriders presented the professor’s misdemeanours as evidence that his work was flawed.

You are missing the point. The value of a man’s advice is shown by how well he follows it himself. If he doesn’t follow it, it rather suggests he doesn’t believe in it.

Also the hypocrisy of that odious man telling me I am banned from having social interaction white he has, er, ‘social interaction’ with another man’s wife pisses me off.

Imperial boffins had ruined the economy.

Are you going to argue that lockdown hasn’t trashed the economy? I mean I would say the economy was due a crash anyway because capitalism means every 10 years you get a crash but the lockdown has made that crash exponentially worse.

It is no surprise that so many professional contrarians are paid-up lockdown sceptics. They are products of our distorted media ecosystem, which invariably privileges heat over light. For them, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about – even if what you are talking about amounts to social Darwinism.

This article presents no evidence that lockdown has saved a single life, it just assumes it works because their beloved Neil Ferguson said so. So if lockdown does not work ending it cannot be ‘social Darwinism’. The author also ignores the deaths from lockdown, which again, they assume don’t exist. Because their beloved ‘experts’ don’t give a shit about 17 year olds killing themselves because of lockdown. If either is ‘social Darwinism’ it’s preventing people from working & feeding their family, which will have much more of a negative effect on the poor. All the lockdown diseases will primarily affect them. But hey so long as I, guardian writer, have my nice posh house and my nice wine and my nice Netflix subscription who cares about some poor ‘straight white male’ who wants to put food on his child’s table?

The former cabinet minister Steve Baker has called on his prime minister to end the “absurd, dystopian and tyrannical lockdown”. 

Please explain why it isn’t absurd, dystopian and tyrannical? It’s absurd to wreck the economy over a disease with ~0.2% CFR that largely affects elderly people, who, and I know the Guardian writers don’t like to hear it – will die within the next few years anyway. Sounds blunt but at some point, people, you have to face the reality of your own death.

It’s dystopian because it is full control by the government of what you can and can’t do with a good dollop of mass surveillance (these apps) tossed in. That’s literally what a dystopian novel is like. I have read a lot of them, okay. I know.

It’s tyrannical because it involves police breaking up peaceful protests and mandating that we cannot see loved ones, arresting people for doing perfectly normal activities. That’s tyranny.

How long before a British parliamentarian goes full “plandemic” and wonders aloud if Covid-19 is all a conspiracy?

this is a very vague sentence. there’s more than one position. The probably ‘least conspiratorial’ is that a natural virus was blown up out of all proportion in order to take away your rights during the panic whipped up by the MSM. There is a lot of evidence to support the rights grab, it’s called the ‘Coronavirus act’ and it allows arbitrary detention and destroys your right to protest. The fact that the MSM whips up panic rather than fact is shown by the gulf between the ‘we’re all gonna die’ rhetoric and the reality of the virus. I think (at a minimum) this ‘least conspiratorial’ position is highly plausible (not ruling out deeper possibilities, of course). But no evidence against this position is presented. All the ‘conspiracy theories’ are lumped in together as bad.

“I’m going to stick my neck out here. You’re unlikely to be killed by the coronavirus.” [Daniel Hannan]

He is correct. If you think he is wrong, you don’t understand statistics. Anyone who is not elderly and/or does not have a preexisting condition or both has a low chance of dying. I have a much higher chance of dying from being hit by a car than I do of dying of corona. That is a statistical fact. Of course, an elderly/vulnerable person has a higher risk of death from covid, but they also have a higher risk of death from almost anything else.

The echoes of Brexit in all this aren’t hard to spot. The disavowal of expertise. The pitting of “the elite” against “the people”. It is striking that while by no means all Brexiters are lockdown sceptics, almost all lockdown sceptics are Brexiters. 

You got me. You got me. I voted Brexit. My arguments have been destroyed.

We may come to a point where there is almost no “expertise” that cannot be somehow discredited by this brand of “scepticism”

There are plenty of experts that are anti lockdown like Dr Knut Wittowski. Just because the Guardian pretends they don’t exist doesn’t mean anything.

And given the platform and power many of the people peddling it possess, they can attempt to make anyone look like a hypocrite or a useful idiot, undermining any sense of truth.

If Neil Ferguson didn’t want to get accused of hypocrisy, he shouldn’t have been a hypocrite.

Carl Sagan would take one look at these contemporary sceptics and declare “baloney”. It is high time we did likewise.

How do you know? Got your ouija board out and asked him, have you?

Media · UK · US

Coronavirus is the Left’s 9/11

Think about this for a moment. Both of these events were used (created?) in order to destroy your civil liberties and take away your rights. But one side of the political spectrum was more influenced that another in both cases. In the 9/11 case it was generally ‘right wing patriots’ that agreed with Bush and in the case of corona its generally ‘left wing socialists’ that agreed with lockdown. [Yes I fully acknowledge this is an overgeneralisation.]

A quick glance at the logic.

If you don’t support taking away our freedoms you are letting the terrorists kill innocent people/letting the virus kill innocent people.

If you don’t support surveillance, it’s because you have something to hide/If you don’t support ‘contact tracing’ (mass surveillance) its because you don’t care about people.

If you don’t trust the government narrative on 9/11 and Iraq, you’re a conspiracy theorist’/if you don’t trust the government line on Covid, you’re a ‘conspiracy theorist’.

+

I’m sure there are more comparisons to be made here but I’m tired right now.

UK

What are we even supposed to do in this hellscape?

Full, total, loss of control.

This is what lockdown means.

These are some thoughts.

Lockdown is meant to be easing on Monday here in the UK. What that means exactly I don’t know, but in terms of taking back power or control over our lives, it doesn’t mean very much, most likely. The economy is still going to be destroyed regardless, and even being allowed to go back and do things most likely will have a million restrictions such as being forced to wear masks. And we are still going to be pulled apart from each other – not allowed to even touch another human being without fear.

I’m more thinking of the implications for any form of political activity. Mass gatherings have been banned and will likely remain banned for a long time. I am sitting right here in the country of the Magna Carta writing the sentence “mass gatherings have been banned”. Think about that for a moment.

Without mass gatherings of any sort (whether through a march or through pickets, etc.) we don’t have any power or control as a collective. Without the ability to work and the ability to socialise we don’t have any power as individuals. What has shocked me is how quickly the elite have managed to get away with this. How supine we have been. I mean, I always knew that the vast majority of people care more about Love Island than they do about Julian Assange being tortured to death, but it is still shocking to watch how quickly and easily they have us all skirting round each other like we’re all monsters.

So what are we supposed to do? If we care about things and we want change? Or even, being my cynical self, we don’t really believe that change is possible but we believe in standing up for a moral principle, no matter how futile? here’s the new reality of Britain. This video.

Police forcing Julian Assange supporters to disperse on Monday 4th May

If this video would have come from Russia, the MSM would be screaming about the big bad Putin, in the UK though and no-one except some indie media has even commented. [and I want to make clear as I have in previous posts that a lot of indie media is buying into the fear porn and/or has been exposed as controlled opposition, depending on how charitable a view you want to take].

So we cannot even peacefully protest the government any more. No control, no way of advocating for a political cause any more. Sit on your hands and watch Netflix. Go on. Maybe we will let you post on social media, but you might get banned if we think what you write is a ‘conspiracy theory’.

One thing this lockdown has really made me realise is this: At some point, if I want to remain true to my principles, I am probably going to have to get arrested. I have only recently began getting involved in political causes and I really feel like this has escalated extremely quickly. I thought I would have the luxury of getting involved for a while so I could build myself up to the psychological and general preparation level for my arrest if I felt an act of civil disobedience became necessary or warranted. But now even a dozen people standing outside a courtroom is considered illegal behaviour.

In theory, I am willing to get arrested for what I believe so long as I can see that there is some sort of alternative benefit e.g. enhanced publicity for what I believe. In practice, it always becomes a matter of when that will be and under what circumstances, because getting arrested for no benefit is just counterproductive and prevents one doing other things.

You know what? At the moment, I’m scared as hell. Because I know in the past I have been terrible at living up to my principles, and the choice just got a whole lot more daunting.

[I want to make clear, in this piece, I’m not talking about deliberately trying to get arrested. I’m talking about doing something morally correct and as a consequence getting arrested. The two aren’t really the same.]

UK

Reflections on Lockdown

This is just a short post to put up some reflections about the lockdown.

Some people have reported a fraying of the lockdown where they live. Personally I haven’t seen that much evidence of that here. As far as I can tell, everything that was shut at the beginning of the lockdown is still shut. There are a few more people about on balance I think, and not a massive amount of mask wearing [that seems to be a small minority]. I don’t know about town [city centre] because I have had no reason to go there.

A thing I have noticed though is the ‘Clap for the NHS’ weekly propaganda stunt seems to be declining in popularity just going on the noise levels and glances out of my window on 8pm on a Thursday. [I always find it so weird. If the USSR in the 1930’s had suggested a ‘Clap for Stakhanovite workers’ campaign it would be derided today as obvious state propaganda and control].

Now, the media keeps pushing the idea that there are these big dastardly rule breakers everywhere. I have seen even less evidence of this. The only ‘rule’ I have seen being broken is there is a sign up in the park saying don’t take your dog off the lead. I have seen people play catch with their dog off a lead (the evildoers! and murderers!).

One thing I’d also like to talk about is how social interaction just got very, very strange. Now I’m a socially awkward person who is not very good with normal social things. But it just got some weird new rules.

I had a strange yet completely banal interaction with a woman at the park the other day. This woman had taken her kids to get some exercise etc. She was carrying a baby and the baby’s hat flew off and landed at my feet. Now of course I bent down to pick up the hat so I could return it, because that’s what you do. Then the thought ran through my head ‘argh what if this woman thinks I’m dangerous and bad because I touched her baby’s hat and maybe she thinks I’m trying to poison her kid with covid 19.’ Fortunately this ended up being a completely normal social interaction where she thanked me for picking up the hat and put it back on the baby’s head.

Trying to avoid people is also very strange. I don’t know the other person’s intentions or feelings. I don’t care if a person happens to come near me, but I don’t know if the other person in the interaction is a fear porn believer. So when I’m in a shop I find myself having to avoid people in spaces where we will inevitably be closer than 2m because of size of aisle, etc. It is really clunky, but I find myself going to do it because I don’t want to be screamed at. I have also had interactions where people stand out of the way when walking down the road when there is enough space for me and them to pass at once. It’s also strange because you wonder whether the other individual is a fear porn believer or whether they are doing it because they think you are a fear porn believer.

So there are my reflections on lockdown and this ‘new normal’ they keep talking about.

UK

What is the value of writing to your MP? Is there any?

So, in the wake of this police state and full imposition of authoritarian power, writing to your MP seems like a pretty stupid idea, doesn’t it? I mean they are rolling out horrific authoritarian control. Writing to your MP isn’t going to change anything, is it?

You’re right. It isn’t.

But if that was all there is to say on this issue, that would be the end of the post, wouldn’t it? In fact, I do think there is more to say about it, so let’s press on.

When I talk about ‘writing to your MP’ in this context, I am referring to issues that are of national political importance. I’m not talking about either local matters or personal problems in which an MP may get involved in solving. Those are rather different.

Instead, let’s talk about an example. My MP as I have said before is Preet Kaur Gill, Labour representative for Birmingham Edgbaston, who was first elected in 2017 as a replacement for the outgoing Gisela Stuart (whom you may be familiar with as one of the few Labour Brexiteers). She was then comfortably re-elected in 2019 despite the wipeout of the Labour Party in much of the Midlands and North.

Now the main issue which I have talked to my MP about is the Julian Assange case (of course). Now I want to make it very clear that my MP, either before or after I had written to her, does not seem to have done anything positive for Assange whatsoever.

Did I expect that as a result of me writing to her, she would have a Damascene conversion and become a staunch Assange defender? No.

So why do it? I have laid out all the evidence of the horrific treatment of Assange in HMP Belmarsh and the fact that his extradition is a threat to free speech and freedom of the press. I have written about his poor state of health and how it is possible he could die in prison.

Why?

Because it is not possible for her, after my actions, to plead ignorance of Julian Assange’s plight, because I told her about it.

If you – as an individual in position of power – know about a man’s torture in your own country and you do nothing about it, you are complicit in it.

You can use whatever words you like. My MP is rather fond of saying it is up to the courts. The courts denied him bail so nothing to see here. Or in other words, she is trying to say, if he dies in that prison, it isn’t up to me, his blood isn’t on my hands. Psychologically, that is what is going on here.

I believe that this nexus between morality and complicity is where any value of writing to your MP lies. It is moral to protect a man from torture. It it complicity to ignore a man’s torture when you could speak out. Writing to your MP helps expose their complicity, and their reasons for it.

UK

Welcome to the Police State

So it looks like 2020 may be the year that Western elites finally take the next step they have been salivating over and lead up down the road to a full police state.

Their weapon? The coronavirus.

It’s worth thinking about what has led up to this point. Western states – despite the claim to be ‘democratic’, ‘open’ etc. have always used a certain amount of violence against those that rejected the state narrative on a particular thing. In the UK this has often taken the role of violence against striking workers or workers’ movements from Peterloo to the miners’ strike. There are various other examples from US using violence against civil rights movements and recently French brutality against the Gilets Jaunes.

So it’s worth bearing that fact in mind. However, recent trajectories have been more and more towards a state that will control everyone on a deeper level. Now here I think it is worth reminding ourselves of some of the trends that have led to this point. they key indicators of a move towards a full police state over the last 10 years have been the mass surveillance programs that allow the government to see any aspect of anyone’s life at all times. The second has been the removal of all critical journalism and in particular the persecution, torture and show trial of Julian Assange.

However it seems even these measures are now not enough for the government. Just simply knowing what people are doing at all times and stopping anyone from talking about it is not enough for them. Now they want to move into the active shutting down of protests and arbitrary detention of individuals. Sounds a bit extreme, right? Can’t be happening, right? Wrong.

Here’s the UK government’s own words:

enable the government to restrict or prohibit events and gatherings during the pandemic in any place, vehicle, train, vessel or aircraft, any movable structure and any offshore installation and, where necessary, to close premises

As I said, banning protests. That is what that sentence means.

Therefore, the bill will enable the police and immigration officers to detain a person, for a limited period, who is, or may be, infectious and to take them to a suitable place to enable screening and assessment.

So they can detain you if you ‘may be infectious’ which in reality could mean anything. I go outside holding a protest sign, the police can say I ‘may be infectious’ and whisk me off to arbitrary detention.

It’s not only the UK up to this shit. From what I can tell France has gone full authoritarian nightmare (most likely to deal with the gilets jaunes) whereas the US is now:

So yes this looks like the police state, or at least the next stage of the police state coming into fruition. They will say it is temporary and it’s for your own good, but it won’t be and it isn’t.

And of course, what is happening now, is that 90% of the people whom I thought had more sense are begging for this. Those who loathe Boris Johnson and Donald Trump are begging them to take away all their civil liberties for an impossible goal (because after all, a government can’t protect you from a virus).

I want to say to those people: in 6 months when you have woken up from this hysteria – enjoy your police state. And don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Media · UK

Tony Blair thinking his opinion is still relevant. Again.

So being as I’m bored let’s shoot some fish in a barrel and take the piss out of Tony Blair, who has come down from his throne in the heavens to tell Americans not to vote for Bernie Sanders.

Reminder: Tony Blair is a war criminal.

 “When I hear the rhetoric around Bernie Sanders, who by the way is obviously a very capable guy, it’s eerily familiar to anyone who’s just watched the debacle unfold in the British Labour party and our election defeat in the UK which is essentially the worst in our 120-year history.”

Tony Blair

You yourself and your neoliberal lackeys tried to undermine Corbyn at every turn and then act like it’s all his fault that he lost. Your second referendum nonsense which you pushed Corbyn to adopt led to the catastrophic defeat, not the fact that say, renationalising the railways in unpopular (it is actually popular). The media also screeched that he was an anti-Semite 24/7 in a smear job and your neoliberal lackeys supported and fuelled.

Don’t get me wrong Corbyn did himself zero favours by giving into the neoliberals but you get the idea.

I just don’t think there’s an appetite for socialist revolution. There wasn’t in Britain, I’d be surprised if there was in the US. And so I think … if they go down that path it’s an enormous gamble.

Tony Blair

As opposed to choosing a guy with severe age related cognitive decline?

I dunno, I think picking someone who can barely talk coherently to go against Trump might be a risk.

(Of course, there’s also Tulsi Gabbard, but she is sadly not going to win the nomination)

“Put it like this: you’re essentially saying, ‘Put aside the middle ground, we’re not really going to try to reach that, instead we’re going to up the turnout and that’s exactly the strategy of Corbyn’s Labour party in the UK and it failed, drastically.”

As opposed to nominating arch-moderate Hillary “Single payer will never come to pass” Clinton, which of course was a resounding success.

“First of all, my view of the populism is you’ve got to be very careful when you’re from the liberal or progressive side of politics, because if you’re not careful you tend to say that, ‘These people who are voting for Donald Trump or Brexit, they’re just irrational people, I don’t understand why they’re doing it and you’ve just got to hope this is a moment that passes.’

This argument is laughable. Why? Because it’s left wingers (okay, reasonable ones) who actually acknowledge that people who voted Trump or Brexit are not actually all hardcore thick racists. That argument is an argument made by THE LIBERAL ELITE LIKE YOURSELF, Tony.

The thing is you people want to say ‘oh the people who voted for populism have real grievances’ and then put forward a platform which is more of the same centrist neoliberal warmongering shite that we have had for 40 years which led to the grievances in the first place!

Blair also said he was “a passionate believer that if the left goes down the path of trying to fight a culture war with the right, it will lose comprehensively and it really should not do that.”

This argument makes zero sense in the context of discussing Sanders’ campaign because Sanders is 90% economic arguments. Some people in his camp might do the culture warrior stuff but that’s not really Sanders’ cup of tea and he really isn’t starting a culture war. It’s generally neoliberals that obsess over the culture warrior stuff to hide the fact that they support the same foreign policy and economic policy as the Republicans.

In other words piss off to the Hague Tony you absolute bellend.

Media · UK

How I learned to stop worrying and love Tony Blair

So I just found the article with the worst title of all time.

Here it is:

‘Labour will only become electable again when it comes to love Tony Blair’: Andrew Adonis

Yes that’s right. Love a war criminal to get elected.

[Adonis] started with a broader political defence of Tony Blair’s record: “The world now divides into two: those people who think that Blair was a saint and a genius and the most inspired political leader in history of mankind, which probably includes me, and those who actually think it is a good idea for Labour to win elections, which includes about 500,000 members of the Labour Party – so they will start increasingly to study and emulate Blair, because it’s the way back.” 

I’m not sure if the ‘inspired political genius’ bit is meant to be a joke. For my sanity I’m going to assume it’s a joke.

It’s only really good if Labour win elections if they are going to actually do something useful. Electoral politics in the West is ‘good cop bad cop’. Two parties that do basically the same thing when in power but one of them hates minorities a bit less.

He is also ignoring the fact that everyone is already emulating Blair and even under Corbyn 90% of the PLP were Blairites.

He said the record “looks more and more impressive in retrospect,”

War crimes look great in retrospect I guess.

“I know there were quite a few controversies, which as we look back on them appear to be almost narcissistically minor, between different bits of the Labour Party.”

This is absolutely disgusting. The biggest controversy of the Blair years was the Iraq war – I know, I was alive at the time. but his attitude is ‘oh there was some minor arguments about stuff, Iraq, no big deal, mass murder what’s the problem’. And yet he’s the kind of person who will call you a racist if you want to leave the EU.

When Adonis arrived, the class was discussing the row in 2002-03 between Gordon Brown, the chancellor, and Alan Milburn, the health secretary, about whether or not foundation hospitals should be allowed to borrow for investment. “If that was the total of the political disputes we’d been having the last four or five years, we would thank our lucky stars,” said Adonis

YOU ARE IGNORING THE IRAQ WAR WHICH BEGAN IN 2003 YOU BELLEND.

Some debate about ‘foundation hospitals’ is not the fucking main issue here!

Adonis said, “and when people say, by the way, that this was a ‘Tory government lite’ and that we have had 30 years of neoliberalism – the idea that you would ever have had a Conservative government that announced in one Sunday morning interview that it was going to spend two percentage points [more of national income] on health is obviously a laughable and farcical proposition”.

This is absolutely wrong. The Blair policy towards healthcare was absolutely neoliberal – in fact, it was arguably much more neoliberal than Thatcher or Major.

What Adonis says here completely ignores the fact that it was the Blair government that started (on a major scale) the PFI schemes and introduction of masses of private consultants into the NHS. This is neoliberalism, because one of the core tenets of neoliberalism is that privatisation is a good thing and the the ‘market knows best’ when it comes to public services.

I have written about this issue elsewhere, see: “Those who want medicare for all in the US need to critically examine the history of the NHS”.

“The sainted Attlee – who’s supposed to be the most progressive and left-wing figure that ever existed on the face of the Earth – because instead that Labour government decided to double spending on defence.” 

Are there people on the left who over-idealise Attlee and ignore the negatives, particularly some of the really bad foreign policy stuff? Sure. Not sure what the point is here though.

“The only reason the left thinks the Attlee government was so good is because it’s forgotten most of it. By its own token of ‘Don’t spend all this money on wars abroad’, they’ve forgotten what actually happened then.” 

“Attlee was bad so that means Blair is cool and a good dude” (implied) not an actual argument. Yeah I agree Attlee’s foreign policy was bad (at least from my limited knowledge) because he tried to maintain empire in some places and thus there were crimes committed by the government.

Asked about the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), he defended it on the pragmatic grounds that it allowed more new schools and hospitals to be built: “There are two arguments in favour, and there’s one against. Argument one in favour is that, because it’s a lifetime contract, you get better quality infrastructure; it’s designed better, because the people who are designing it have got to maintain it afterwards. 

“The second argument in favour is that it leveraged more upfront investment, because you had to cover the cost of the credit and not the long term cost of the asset. This meant you could do more in the short term. 

The Private Finance Initiative has been proven by all measures to be more expensive than government building schools and hospitals. The first reason for this is that governments can always borrow from banks at a lower interest rate than private companies, because a private company can go bankrupt (thus higher risk) unlike a government. The second reason is the only motivation for the private sector to be involved is because they want to make a profit. There’s only three ways to do this: either it costs more or the service is reduced in quality, or the wages of the staff are cut to the bone.

“And the argument against it is the obverse of that, of ‘putting it on the credit card’, which is that ultimately the credit card catches up with you.” 

This is hardly the ‘only’ argument against PFI, as outlined above. There are arguments based around a public sector ethos – this simply being more appropriate and effective for these services. But I doubt Adonis cares about that.

There aren’t many people who look back and say that the big problem with the Blair government was those appalling academies and those outrageously right-wing foundation hospitals. What they now say is, ‘Wow, I wish we could have more of that.’

There are plenty of people that have problems with both of these. Just because they don’t exist among Adonis’ neolib mates, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

But a lot of people on the left also say, ‘If only he hadn’t gone to war in Iraq.’ And therein lies another story.”

Oh, now you mention Iraq do you. Only the MOST IMPORTANT THING in the whole Blair era and it takes several paragraphs for it to even get mentioned and then it move straight on to a different topic.

He identified the causes of the Corbyn surge as the combination of poor leadership – “no good leaders after Blair and Brown, a chronic problem of very poor candidates” – and the decision of most of those candidates to abstain in the vote on Conservative welfare cuts in 2015. “It was not a Blairite thing. 

Yes I agree the candidates after Blair and Brown were poor politicians – but given that Blair remade the party in his own image, you have to ask who is responsible for the paucity of actual good politicians.

Abstaining on welfare cuts = not Blairite. lol

“Every choice of leader after Tony Blair – until hopefully this one – has been significantly worse than the previous one. That wasn’t Tony Blair’s fault. He was the one who was good. It’s been steadily downhill ever since. It’s not his fault that people voted for Ed Miliband rather than David Miliband in 2010. People had a vote and that is how they voted, unfortunately.” 

As if people would have just chosen David Miliband instead it would all be fine. LOL.

“The big mistake that the Labour Party has made on every front, since 2007, is to depart from the policies and the strategy set out by Tony Blair.”

Blair is a hardline remainer who loved the idea of overturning the democratic vote to leave the EU. How far did agreeing with Tony on that one get the Labour party eh? Oh they got mullered didn’t they?

Adonis’ comments in this article are beyond repulsive, he mentions Iraq once and that’s it, he thinks it’s fine to ignore mass murder because Blair got elected. This guy is a piece of shit, shame on him.

UK

Liberal Nonsense #8: 23rd December

So here’s someone whose bitter about Brexit:

So according to this Liberal Remainer, working class leave voters are all scum who abuse foreigners and are fat (for some reason). And they wonder why working class people don’t like the ‘liberal elite’!

PS. I’ve explained on Twitter several times advantages to a legitimate Brexit (particularly Left Wing Brexit which is what I support). These threads are actually designed for remainers to bitch, not actually for Leavers to explain their views (for which they’ll just get called racist anyway – I got called a racist for linking to a Tony Benn video criticising the EU that had 0 racism in it, but no, it must be I hate foreigners, not that I think the EU is undemocratic).