Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world of Quantum Politics, where everything is possible and nothing is the way it seems!


Gasp in horror at Theresa May, following up the last-minute progression of Brexit negotiations in December by informing everyone that she will now do exactly the opposite of what she agreed to do to keep EU negotiations progressing, by ruling out membership of the customs union and single market! See her vacillate wildly between minimal economic disruption and 20 mile tailbacks at Dover in perpetuity!


Scoff with incredulity at the DUP cheering on the Prime Minister’s casual dismissal of the customs union, while also maintaining that they will never sanction any kind of border in Ireland!


Guffaw at the buffoon’s buffoon BoJo making the same tired jokes about imperialism at speeches denouncing xenophobia, while declaring Brexit will be a resounding success in the face of all empirical projections compiled by his own side!


Because these are not examples of extreme cognitive dissonance or blind optimism in the face of adversity, they are Quantum Politics, where mutually exclusive scenarios can all be true at the same time!


You see, Theresa May currently inhabits a paradoxical Shangri-La where she can satisfy Anna Soubry and Jacob Rees-Mogg simultaneously; where erudite people, conniving ideologues and reactionary simpletons will come together in a spirit of brotherhood, and she will lead her party to a 300 seat majority on the back of the resurgent economy she has planned for when everything changes for the better, and nothing at all changes for the worse. We will have a cake for every man, woman and child that can be both fully consumed and saved for later at the same time, because the EU will surely capitulate when they realise us leaving their organisation should allow us more benefits of association, rather than less, and that leaving a frictionless market of 500 million people is worth it to become the global money-laundering tax haven, and withered client state of the US and China.


Of course, Jeremy Corbyn is the only politician currently playing Schrodinger’s Brexit brilliantly, by refusing to show his hand while the stakes are high. He’s talking the language of Hard Brexit, but appointing sensible negotiators like Keir Starmer, who would never sanction the ruinous calamity of a Hard Brexit. Many on the left seem to hate him for this, and I would suggest they don’t really understand political strategy, which is deeply ironic as this is an accusation that is continually flung at Corbyn by his detractors. He is apparently both an ideologue who can’t appeal to a wider majority, and also an unprincipled triangulist who is too obsessed with winning power to be principled over reversing Brexit to protect the interests of his core supporters.


But of course, Corbyn doesn’t have to be definitive at this point. He’s not in charge and no election has been called. He is following Sun Tzu’s immutable sagacity of not disturbing his enemy while they are busy making mistake after mistake. He sees the Lib Dems throwing their shirts at reversing Brexit and shuffling home in the raw, and comprehends the wisdom of hedging his bets until such time as he is called on to lead the negotiations.


Whether you are a Brexit cultist, or actually rely on logic and evidence, it seems pretty obvious that a large proportion of deprived areas in Britain would still follow the burning Brexit disaster bus into the volcano and vote for any party that would guarantee their economic destruction. We can mock this reality or despair over it, but pretending that if only Jeremy came out and proclaimed Brexit a colossal clusterfuck which he would cancel forthwith, he could take over and lead us into salvation, is almost as braindead as believing Brexit will see a new British empire rise. Let’s not be suckered into Quantum Politics. All is not yet lost.


I’m beginning to think there is some kind of coherent long-term strategy to the government’s seemingly braindead appointments, the most recent being professional troll and sex pest Toby Young.


There is an understanding, when we follow the money and the ideology, of most of the rest of the government’s apparent incompetence. The entirely-predicted NHS crisis has been deliberately manufactured as part of this government’s long-term strategy to restructure the NHS to be more suitable for selling off to private enterprise. These crises serve to (they hope) weaken the public’s resolve, until there forms enough of a national consensus to end the NHS as a public service and transfer it to a gravy train where the public actually fund it twice, through taxation and ‘top up fees per treatment’, and the private sector (mostly Conservative donors of course) delivers healthcare for those who can afford it and gorges itself on a huge stream of money.


When we see the fiasco of the unjustifiable rail fare rises, and the news that serial failure Chris Grayling has bailed out a Stagecoach-Virgin partnership who claimed they couldn’t afford to see out their contract – an opportunity they were lucky to have been afforded at all after East Coast had previously returned record amounts of money to the treasury during its time of being run directly by a government company; we understand (mainly because he has admitted it) that the government would rather bail out a failing company than take over the line directly, because it would conflict with their neoliberal ideology of not allowing the government to run anything ahead of the private sector.


But I struggled to see the sense in appointing Young to the position of Higher Education watchdog, beyond pure cronyism; a reward for championing the Tories’ cause in the organs he had written in. When the news broke, far more qualified candidates explained how they had been rejected. Young’s only ‘qualification’ seemed to be that he helped set up some free schools, before buggering off when it seemed too much like hard work. This didn’t seem quite right that the Tories, who, despite general incompetence in office, don’t tend to make highly contentious appointments unless there is an obvious positive that they gain that we don’t immediately see when following the money.


I heard some speculate that Young has been appointed precisely to tackle the fabricated ‘problem’ of “censorship” within Universities: a Daily Mail appointment if ever there was one. But then it occurred to me that there’s a deeper resonance in his appointment in the cultural sphere, and to understand it, we need to understand the modern economic and social paradigm we currently live under.


Neoliberalism was birthed under Thatcher’s reign, but only economically: the financial sector and other industry sectors were heavily liberalised, that is: deregulated, while socially Thatcher was more of an authoritarian. However, when New Labour took power in 1997, Blair changed very little of the fundamental economic consensus, but he liberalised social policy: repealing Section 28, banning smoking in public places (one of the few times that banning something could be classed as a liberal triumph), relaxing pub licensing laws and more (ironically in the last term of New Labour, they began to get worryingly authoritarian with indefinite detentions, ID cards and the like, perhaps they had emulated the abyss of Thatcherism for too long and had become what they once opposed). This married the liberalisation of economic and social policy: true Neoliberalism.


When the coalition took charge in 2010, the economy was further liberalised in the sense that public spending was planned to be drastically cut, and socially it appeared as if it would go the same way when David Cameron pronounced himself the ‘liberal Tory’, and helped legalise gay marriage. But soon they reverted to type, bringing in the 2014 Lobbying Act to silence criticism of their policies, while Chris Grayling went on a demented “Hang ‘em and flog ‘em” rampage in the criminal justice sector. It seemed that they had too many hard-right ministers who loved the economic deregulation, but craved more regulation in social policy.


One area in which they have long expressed animosity is the “culture of political correctness”, which reached its peak when they saw Michael Fallon and Damian Green partially fall because of the #metoo sexual harassment scandal. Twitter has seen something of an obsession with identity politics, and Tories are often being called out for crass statements about women, the disabled and the working classes. So appointing Toby Young seems not only to fill an immediate need to satiate the Daily Mail by pressuring universities to allow speakers that promote Brexit and right-wing social ideology, but also cocking a snook at the fabled ‘liberal elite’ they consider opponents of Brexit. Their obsession with fighting any opposition to Brexit is the primary motivation for Young’s appointment to a position he seemingly would only otherwise have ‘earned’ by his previous propaganda in favour of the party who created the role.


It’s also slightly disturbing on a larger level: that is, the government interfering with the orthodoxy and autonomy of universities. A cynic might suggest this appointment can be seen as actually attempting to further censure criticism and opposition to their ideology, at a time where young people are most likely to develop critical thinking and critique institutions. Perhaps there is an even bigger narrative to consider: well aware they will lose power soon, the Tories are packing institutions with their cronies, in the hope they will retain ‘tentacles’ in these sectors, and their ideology will still resonate.



If George W. Bush was the ‘village idiot’ President, then Donald Trump is surely now proving to be the ‘leper’ President.


Not literally in the sense of his body being ravaged with disease, though one could make an argument that his excuse for a mind may be that way. I mean ‘leper’ in the false-palindrome sense: repel. He repels all of the people around him in different ways.


An intellectual will find his grasp of even basic logic and reason infuriating. If you are a liberal, his unfiltered bigotry and reactionary authoritarianism makes your blood boil. If you are a conservative, his contempt for fidelity, manners and propensity for altering the tax system to favour his cronies rather than you might enrage. If you are in the military, his banning of transgender service personnel and disrespect towards the families of fallen soldiers who don’t offer generous enough platitudes to their Commander-in-Chief might turn you against him, not to mention his own history of draft-dodging on a scale not quite as prolific as his bankruptcies.


He has bullied women and the disabled in front of television cameras. He has thrown fictitious slurs at all and sundry, and then projected on to them; insisting his personal worldview is the only reality.


According to the explosive tell-all book “The Fire and the Fury”, even close advisors and colleagues describe him as little more than an impulsive man-child; a gilded imbecile who flails around when he feels aggrieved, able only to post a passive-aggressive tweet like a demented orang-utan flinging his shit as he spins around screeching, while his Chiefs of Staff frantically order some junk food and hide the nuclear button.


Psychologists would have a field day examining what about his privileged upbringing has created a man quite so self-obsessed, insecure and contemptuous of anyone who does not bestow favours or adulation on him. One of the most eyebrow-raising claims in the book is that Trump considers sleeping with his friends’ wives to not only be acceptable, but a thrilling opportunity. So this is a man who will not only trample anyone not in his personal circle into the ground, but also seek to betray and humiliate members of his actual circle!


Sociopath is looking less of an accusation than a compliment to this guy, whose magic verisimilitude mirror would surely reflect back an actual image of the leper, only protected from the exile normally provoked by his kind of outrageous behaviour by enormous wealth and the grotesque power and invulnerability it affords him.


I find the whole unfolding world situation riveting in a morbid way. If aliens were to arrive today and view our entire human history, then saw the coming years threatening devastating climate change, mass social breakdown and potential nuclear conflict on the horizon, would they not identify Trump as the harbinger of the endtimes? An execrable symbol of the very worst hubris, ignorance and cruelty of our species to close the curtain on our era on this planet?


Our own leper messiah?

Comcast, Verizon et al seemed to threaten ‘Net Neutrality’ every other month of Barack Obama’s tenure, but now that Trumpo has blundered into office, knocking over everything and insulting foes and allies alike with his clown-car diplomacy, of course the jackals are back hovering around the juicy carcass of the internet. What this latest siege against internet freedom teaches us once and for all is that the Republican party, and Neoliberal capitalists in general are hypocritical bullshit artists of the highest order. They talk of the hallowed ‘Free Markets’ which can’t actually exist in a reality consisting of humans with nefarious agendas and governments in the pockets of wannabe monopolists. Then, when an actual free market is created in a virtual world; the Worldwide Web, a market where everyone has equal access to promote their products, ideas and views, the parasitical monopolists oppose it because it does not allow currently successful companies to bribe the ISP gatekeepers restrict access to competitors, while still shamelessly promoting their apparent desired utopia of ‘free markets’! Of course, this is merely a duplication of what currently happens in the physical world, which is a series of imperfect markets which, when loosely regulated, tend towards monopolies and cartel behaviour. Now, confident they have suitably ruined their immediate physical world, they’re seeking to throttle competition in the far-too-egalitarian world of cyberspace, and depressingly, the corrupt moron masquerading as President, along with his cavalcade of sponsored cronies, will probably make it happen.

‘Suicide Blonde’

Ah. Brexit. The Tory Birthday present with a bomb inside that nobody wants to be left holding when the clock stops ticking. How did we ever get here?


Since Thatcher purged her ‘wet’ One Nation cabinet members and dropped her drawers for corporate lobbyists, there has been a growing fringe of hardcore Neoliberals in the Conservative party. Their ultimate goal is what they see is Thatcher’s dream: a state that is no more than custodians of the military and parts of the judiciary. Everything else not only owned and ran by private capital, but hardly regulated at all and paying peppercorn tax at a rate of something close to zero percent. Globalisation moved this dystopian fantasy into view, because it meant easy movement of capital and cheap labour. If they could only remove pesky, burdensome “red tape” like paying workers’ a legal minimum rate or having them work less than 12 hour days, the sun may yet rise on their utopia.


The two previous insurmountable barriers to this Randian wet dream were: parliamentary accountability, and the dreaded EU. With the gleeful assistance of Rupert Murdoch and his cronies, the first was mostly neutered with the creation of New Labour. Blair would keep the seat warm and not renovate the façade, so as soon as a financial crash came, the Tories could continue rabidly asset-stripping and moving towards their promised land. 2010 came, and the Neoliberals, who by now had significantly infected all three major political parties, attempted to seize the spoils of crisis. The never-less-than hysterical right-wing press managed to force David Cameron over the line in coalition with the relatively cowed Neoliberal Democrats. The narrative to justify the asset-stripping was as obvious as it was false: the crash was caused by too much public spending and not so much the bankers that supported and financially propped up the Tory party. And of course, this narrative was forced home day after day along with classic divide-and-rule bogeymen: chiefly the right’s old favourite scapegoats of the poor and foreigners. They compressed the complexities of an entire sovereign currency issuing nation’s budgeting into “living within our means”, as if the international markets may at any minute decide to call in our debts by seizing the entire island and repatriating British citizens to Calais.


Needless to say, Britons’ general apathy and/or lack of critical thinking capabilities meant that this worked like a charm. Perhaps the biggest success of the Tories’ seven years (so far) of enriching the elites and impoverishing most others was that they simultaneously oversaw the slowest recovery on record, while maintaining an impression of competence with most of the public, but also foisting blame for any adverse side-effects of their warped strategy on two targets: the last Labour administration, and the EU: the hardcore Neoliberals’ nemesis. This proved to be a very misguided strategy for David Cameron, a man so naturally smug with imagined superiority he practically glistened like a plump ham joint basted with privilege.


When 2015 rolled into view and things hadn’t demonstrably improved in the economy, Cameron called in master of ad hominem campaigning, Lynton Crosby, who successfully flung enough dung about a Labour-SNP coalition to squeak the shyster back into office, minus his coalition partners. This was actually bad news to Cameron, who had gambled that he would once more be in a coalition with the Lib Dems, absolving him of the obligation to hold the EU referendum. Cameron of course had previous for bombastic hubris, but kept on rolling the dice as he lost the house and car, by deciding Crosby’s tactics of campaigning would be well suited to the ‘remain’ campaign. ‘Project Fear’ generally involved patronising any waverers to death; evoking black rain, locusts and the earth being drowned in a tide of molten metal, rather than attempting to succinctly explain the positive aspects of being within the European Union. It didn’t help that another prominent feature of the now failed campaign was George Osborne’s delirious cocaine smirk.


Disaster was predictable: the ‘Leave’ campaign simply used Conservative tactics against them: form a fallacious narrative of blame against a large entity, easy to sloganise on memes and news bulletins and repeat the demonstrable lies endlessly with greater vigour. They had the added benefit of appearing to be the underdog fighting the Establishment (despite having many of the more extreme and unpleasant members of the Establishment in their camp). The result was a new triumph for the kind of aggressive demagoguery that Donald Trump would later utilise in an even more debased strategy of trash-talking anyone who disagreed as if he was a worried boxer at an endless weigh-in, and implying any contradictory evidence to his agenda was filtered through a lens of opposition and couldn’t be trusted (ironically calling out the very real elite bias in the mainstream media, but twisting it to suit his own purpose with a deftness that belies his generally astounding lack of tact or intellect).


Cameron of course scuttled away at the first sign of hard work as his historic election victory was immediately forgotten and his name forever associated with the most stupendous act of economic suicide this nation has ever inflicted on itself. We had a few weeks in which we genuinely had to imagine our next leader would be a clown, a goblin or a batty old reactionary. It’s hard to remember just how much of a collective sigh the nation emitted when we discovered it was only to be the failed Home Secretary; a minister with worrying authoritarian instincts who repeatedly failed her own immigration targets, made up stories and bought anti-immigrant vans to whip up her nationalist wing, and seemingly had an obsession with ignoring judicial oversight. Her nickname of ‘submarine’ to indicate she tended to duck under the surface when things got tough, was not analysed in the press at the time.


Leaving out the failed press hatchet jobs on Jeremy Corbyn being exposed to the full in the snap election, just what the hell are the government doing right now? We’re a year down the line from Article 50 and still we’re going round the mulberry bush with the “best deal for the country” nonsense. May can’t support or endorse any position without outraging one section of her MPs, and the wider picture is that the Neoliberal hardcore earlier referred to earlier, comprising of people like John Redwood, Iain Duncan-Smith and Jacob Rees-Mogg, see their one glorious opportunity for extricating the UK from any remaining handbrake to their low-tax, low-regulation, rentier’s paradise, and they’re not going to let the opportunity slip. They’d rather take down their own PM (and, potentially, party) than compromise now. If it all goes wrong, they’ll use the press to foist the blame onto Hammond, May and the ‘treacherous remoaners’ no doubt. And, if their dearest wish comes to pass, amid the economic ruin, disgraced minister Liam Fox will be desperately offering up every UK public asset to American venture capitalist parasites. This will be ‘disaster capitalism”s finest hour, if the Brexiteers just play it right. That’s what’s it stake with this fiasco. Be warned, whichever way you voted. The worst will not be the wreckage, but the looters which follow.

I noticed Nick Robinson has recently been writing about the perceived threat to “proper journalism” from the slew of popular left-wing blogs challenging the Establishment perspective on everything from economic orthodoxy to social justice. I genuinely approached his piece with an open mind, but sadly, despite Robinson being one of the more reasonable-minded and less dogmatic BBC reporters, it was simply another tribal piece defending the people and institutions he represents, rather than an honest debate about the reasons that people may not trust the Establishment news narratives. Lots of implications that because bloggers aren’t paid, they can’t be trusted, whereas journalists, who are paid, are therefore more trustworthy by virtue of this, as well as referencing veiled insults implying that people who read these blogs are dripping with confirmation bias.

This wantonly disregards the reasons behind the mass disenchantment with the mainstream media, while lumping in unhinged conspiracy theorists with people genuinely sick of corporate hegemony and its cheerleaders. As Noam Chomsky famously skewered Andrew Marr: “I’m not saying you don’t believe in what you’re saying, I’m saying that if you believed something different, you wouldn’t be sitting there.” Establishment members might have liberal ideas about gay rights and helping the poor, but they will never question or criticise the framework of the status quo, as it would work against theirs and their employer’s interests. This is an unavoidable fact, no matter what Robinson argues. I’m sure he convinces himself that every day he’s out there challenging injustice and fighting the good fight, but the BBC still never really questions military intervention or neoliberal economics, despite their widespread unpopularity with the general public.

The demise of the BBC from a state-funded politically neutral organisation to a lapdog and mouthpiece of the Establishment seems complete when we see Laura Kuenssberg found guilty by the BBC trust of misrepresenting Jeremy Corbyn’s view on the ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy for suspected terrorists. The BBC used to welcome new orthodoxies; now it follows the Establishment line of ‘ridicule, ignore and discredit’.

Journalists don’t realise the general malaise is not entirely in what they broadcast, but what they omit. I’m sure the BBC will argue on Newsnight that it gives air to rhetoric which challenges Establishment thinking, but it’s not good enough to preach to the already curious. They know full well that most people only watch primetime news, and it should ensure it always offers alternative perspectives or contextualisation on soundbites. We’re consistently told we’re in debt, and the BBC leaves the story like this, rather than asking why this is a bad thing: what ultimately would happen in a default situation and how would this occur? How can a sovereign currency issuer go “bankrupt”? How many citizens should suffer before it’s considered too high a cost? Are we going to get any details on the Brexit strategy other than crossing our fingers and blasting jingoism out of the rectum of Dacre and Murdoch’s shitrags?