Posts Tagged ‘lies’

“Judge us on our record!”

 

Your record is atrocious. Only nation in the developed world to have a growing economy with stagnant wages. Doubled the national debt; more new debt added than every Labour government combined, and in peacetime too. Budget deficit still nowhere near being cleared, and at huge human cost: the kinds of humans that Tories don’t like to associate with anyway. Taxpayer-owned asset giveaway to donors of record proportions, despite no evidence privatisation makes things more cost effective or efficient, and with a wealth of evidence to the contrary. Increasingly authoritarian surveillance of civilians. Prison service, health service and education crumbling; unprecedented waves of strikes on the underground, rail network and even NHS.

 

 

“This is all about Brexit. Only I can deliver the right deal for Britain!”

 

When you were given this immensely important role at a critical point in British history, you decided it was more important to delay the negotiations to call a General Election you said multiple times we didn’t need. You go to the Daily Mail and others talking about how without provocation or hesitation you would reduce millions of people to glowing ashes, and tell the EU we rely on to strike us a positive deal to metaphorically fuck themselves. You recycle the kind of stock clichés an inquisitive 8 year old would take to pieces. Your ministers in charge of the Brexit negotiations offer contradictory statements daily, and you laugh them off as if they were just getting your aunt’s name wrong.

 

 

“*stock character slur on Jeremy Corbyn*”

 

When ad hominem polemic is your primary line of attack, you reveal you are petrified of debating the issues.

 

 

What a farrago of incompetence and chicanery this Tory election campaign has been. A dreadful manifesto, economic threats, a series of limited appearances with ministers parroting nothing but autocues from Lynton Crosby’s ‘Dog-Whistle Psychology for Angry Simpletons’, and the kind of absolute daylight robbery published and promoted in the Naylor Report making it into an interview with Andrew Neil. They have practically pledged to end the NHS, and a large section of the voting public have still not wavered, despite potentially losing access to free healthcare, having their kids’ legacy seized by the state, and given no details at all about Brexit, except it will be amazing for Britain as long as Theresa May is allowed to do whatever she wants.

 

God help us all if this contemptible bunch of clowns, crooks and charlatans become ‘the government we deserve’ on June 9th.

 

So, after endless rehashing of 1983’s “longest suicide note in history” in the press, we now have the “stupidest manifesto in history” from the press’s darlings. I have only ever been alive during the ‘neoliberal’ period, but in all that time, the Conservative manifesto 2017 is definitely the most dimwitted piece of rubbish ever presented by one of the two parties capable of forming a government, and must surely finally dispel that nonsensical myth that the Tories are always the slickest political operators.

 

Everywhere we look in the manifesto there are notions that sound like they were pitched at closing time in the Dog & Duck, and never reflected on again. Whether it’s taking away lunches from poor school kids or regurgitating failed policies on immigration and deficit reduction again and again like that arrogant idiot on the school football team who has the first touch of a tractor yet still insists the team wouldn’t lose every week if they just got the ball to him more, its delusional ineptitude is only matched by its malice. On what planet did the Conservatives think it would be sensible to sanction the state snatching people’s homes to pay for private care? Technically of course, they don’t actually have to give away the whole home, they get to keep £100k of the equity. Which is relatively fine if you live in Rochdale, not so good if you live in Dagenham. And who regulates the care home fees? Isn’t this just another ‘name your price’ outsourcing racket that the Conservatives seem to be so fond of? And that’s before we start getting into the rumours that banks are already creating new ‘financial products’ for this new ‘investment opportunity’. We truly have reached ‘peak Capitalism’, when businesses are scavenging for assets on corpses that haven’t died yet.

 

Not only is this social care policy cruel, but it targets the Conservatives’ core demograph of voters: the elderly with property. One thing never changes with Tory policies: there are no progressive scales, it’s just an arbitrary figure plucked out of their backsides and applied across the board, in rich and poor areas, to rich and poor people. It also throws up injustice when you realise that those who may have had life relatively easy and squandered their money will be cared for free of charge, while those who slogged away and sacrificed to own their home, will be deprived of it should nature’s unforgiving lottery deem their senescence to be more profound.

 

Of course, this hamfisted policy also demonstrates the cognitive dissonance within the Tory party. They are so obsessed with privatising everything not nailed down and deregulating their precious markets, they cannot fathom a scenario where care is actually state-provided rather than run as a private income stream, and we all contribute a little more to ameliorate nature’s random selection of genetic misfortune. Sounds a little like the NHS principles, which will explain the Tories’ desperation to sell that off before they’re booted out of office.

 

Back to the immigration pledge, which has been derided by anti-Tory groups, pro-Tory groups, cabinet ministers, big business, small business…in fact it’s easier to list those supporting the pledge: UKIP. Even someone with limited knowledge of macroeconomics would realise that a country so dependant on immigrants for so long is not going to be able to change this without radical reform of their economic structure. Companies that could pluck fully-trained EU nationals at a few weeks notice are not going to be too happy being told that they are going to be charged a large amount for each foreign worker, or train a British worker so they can do the job in 3 months time.

 

“Ensure foreign ownership of companies controlling important infrastructure does not undermine British security or essential services” – How about by not flogging off this infrastructure in the first place? If they acknowledge that there is a risk to British security, then the Tory party are admitting that their policies have threatened national security!

Of course it’s also worth mentioning one of the most utterly thoughtless policies floated: to allow up to a year’s unpaid leave caring for a loved one. Apparently no considerations of how many people could afford to take a year without pay (particularly since they are classified as employed so are not entitled to benefits), nor how many businesses could afford to keep a position open but unfilled for an entire year. I haven’t seen any confirmation of what condition loved ones have to be in before this would be permitted, nor how close a relative they would have to be.

It’s just line after line of uncosted nonsense that would be laughed out of a student politics debate, and this is where we’ve come. Where the governing party is so far ahead in ‘the polls’ that they think they can afford to offer up any old shit and have the turkeys trampling each other to get to the Christmas oven.

So, ‘fake news’ is now practically a fully fledged moral panic.

 

As we tend to do in the modern West, the lazy term has now been claimed and recontextualised depending on who is using it.

 

‘Fake news’ to the BBC is any blogger or independent media which does not agree with the mainstream consensus.

 

‘Fake news’ to the government is anything which threatens their agenda, regardless of truth.

 

‘Fake news’ to Donald Trump is anything critical of him or his statements.

 

‘Fake news’ to me, and I hope most others, is a nonsensical lengthening of the conveniently short and punchy synonym: LIES.

 

Just like I don’t consider terrorism worse because someone of Arabian heritage rather than a white nationalist committed it; like I don’t consider theft worse because a drug addict committed it rather than an investment banker defrauding seven figure sums; LIES are LIES regardless of their messenger.

 

Fiction; fabrication; falsehoods, fake news; plenty of alliteration but not enough clarity. They’re lies.

 

Donald Trump is a pathological liar, possibly even convincing himself that his lies are truth. Theresa May is a skilled liar, honed by the party that perfected the art. “There is no crisis in the NHS”, she says; with one statement implying that the BMA, junior doctors, nurses, NHS staff, independent media, clinicians and medical experts are all engaged in some labyrinthine scaremongering conspiracy.

 

Rupert Murdoch, Paul Dacre and Richard Desmond’s newspapers consistently headline stories which are demonstrably lies, and yet are only required to print retractions the size of the cheapest version of classified ads. So long as the lies only aim at individuals or organisations that can’t sue them for libel, they’ll continue to do it with impunity.

 

Why do power structures lie? Well, we know that power structures seek to either reinforce the status quo, or take more for the elites. The liars seek to confuse, bewilder, divide and distract opposition to their agendas.

 

The curious part of this whole charade is that it’s almost certain that a lot of these ‘fake news’ blogs are actually funded by the extreme right who already have tentacles in government. After all, if the opposition make headway with their factual arguments against you, the best method of attack is to seek to discredit by implying that you can’t tell fake news from truth, so best just not question the elites. Just look at Alex Jones: the prototype conspiratorial idiot paid to consistently discredit serious opposition by implying they’re all raving maniacs.

 

If we’re going to really tackle the ‘scourge’ of ‘fake news’, we need to do what we should have done a long time ago: equip children with the ability to critically think and examine news sources objectively. But of course that would lead to a population harder to govern. So, call me a cynic, but I have a feeling this “war against fake news” will simply be a front for crushing dissent from any non-mainstream institution. You have been warned.

Whenever I see an American comment (referring to Donald Trump) “We can’t have an incompetent, reactionary moron in the White House”, I always wonder why they’ve neglected to add ‘again’. Is there some form of collective amnesia, driven by the media, in relation to George W. Bush’s disastrous reign as President?

As the last millennium drew to a close, it’s fair to say that most ordinary people in the US and UK felt great hopefulness about a future where the Cold War had ended, the old right-wing parties had been ejected from office, their economies were booming, and the advent of the internet was growing apace.

Of course, little did non-seasoned politicos realise the seeds of destruction were being planted in the US by the so-called “centre-left” Democrats, what with their Alan Greenspans and their repealing of Glass-Steagal. On the surface though, the West seemed more optimistic than at any time since the ‘Golden Age of Capitalism’ was ended by the Oil Shock and the ‘New Right’ of Reagan and Thatcher. Perhaps the ‘Third Way’, espoused by messrs Blair and Clinton, really was the correct remedy for the sicknesses of globalisation.

Then, in 2000, it happened. The genial, managerial style of Bill Clinton was replaced, controversially, by the braindead ‘aw shucks’, God-fearing, gun-totin’ jingoism of Dubya. From illegal wars to enormous national debt increases, it’s hard to hypothesise just how his eight-year tenure could have gone worse.

The swathes of destruction wrought by his merry band of chickenhawk Neocon cronies across the Middle East saw that terrorism was added to labour, goods and capital on the list of free movements in the ‘free market’. (Note how the modern version of ‘free’ tends to cost a hell of a lot of money, and involve restriction of personal liberties – another modern perversion of the English language as business jargon infiltrated the political classes.) The ‘War on Terror’, Patriot Act and expansion of Guantanamo Bay traded privacy and humanity for speculated security. We all got used to being spied on, after being metaphorically waterboarded by images of terrorists at every airport, of bombs in every backpack, of jihad on every street with a non-white face in. They hated us and our ‘freedom’, we were told. You’re either with us or the terrorists, the chimp screeched.

But, if we flash forward to the present, upcoming US election, with the two most derided and unpopular major candidates in living memory standing, we see that this was directly caused by ‘Citizens United’, another Dubya abomination of allowing the Koch brothers and Goldman Sachs to effectively select the President themselves through unlimited bankrolling. Donald Trump is the result of both Citizens United and the nurturing of crackpot Tea Party extremists infiltrating all levels of the Republican Party, while Hillary would not be where she is without Citizens United, who allowed her to see off the strong challenge of Bernie Sanders.

It sums up Bush’s legacy that his reign was book-ended by 9/11 and the 2008 financial meltdown; the two most profoundly catastrophic and traumatic events in recent history, which ensured that the heady optimism of 1999 was paranoid fear by 2008.

So don’t talk about Trump as if you don’t know how his presidency would turn out. We already have an idea what happens when you put a braindead, greedy buffoon in the White House, and its nauseating legacy will stretch out for decades.

It’s important to give a few days between a horrible event occurring and commenting on it. When the referendum result came through, I found myself lashing out at various people I had no business attacking, and promptly banned myself from social media for the weekend, which kind of worked.

So now the dust is settling on the stupidest decision the British public has probably ever made, and there is a complete absence of any political leadership, just when it is surely needed most.

David Cameron, the privileged PR guy who once said he should be PM because he’d “be good at it”, has proven that assertion absolutely false, by calling a referendum simply to iron out internal party issues and allow him to squeak an election win against the odds. Now his arrogance and immaturity has cost him everything. No longer allowed to sail into the sunset with a positive political legacy, he has been forced to resign in disgrace, having lost any credibility by calling the needless referendum, and then losing it. The fact he has vowed to continue until October, despite refusing to deal with Brexit negotiations, is a mark of the hubris and petulance of the man. He will go down as the Prime Minister who lost the ‘Unionist’ from the ‘Conservative and Unionist Party’; as once Article 50 is triggered, Scotland will surely call a second referendum, where they will vote for independence to stay in the EU, while the rest of the Tory Britain will finally finish Thatcher’s dream of killing off any and all things with ‘Union’ in their description.

Plenty of turkeys seemingly voted for Christmas, as parts of Wales and Cornwall, big recipients of EU funds, voted out. Better the devil you know, or, to put it another way, better to be fisted by Westminster than patronisingly patted on the back by Europe.

Other than the obvious lies about NHS funding and immigration reductions gobbed out of loudhalers by the lead Brexiteers, other things irked me about this result: the complete lack of exit strategy, proving more evident by the day; the fact that a number of people I spoke to who voted leave tended to preface it with ‘I don’t really get into politics’; the gloaty sneering about the result as if it was a rugby match, rather than something which would negatively affect generations to come. I’d be a complete berk to suggest everyone who voted Leave was a xenophobe or racist, but it is indisputable that the Leave campaign would not have won without the racist vote.

As I watched the tediously long-winded campaign unwind, I knew one thing for certain: the ‘Leave’ team could not win without pandering to fears about immigration. You never go broke appealing to the lowest common denominator, as the saying goes. Fears about mass immigration are not fabricated or undue, but, as many like me tried to argue, leaving the EU would not reduce immigration in any circumstance. Were we to leave the EU, our economy could not afford to leave the European Economic Area, therefore, like other non-EU members trading in the EEA like Norway and Switzerland, we would have to accept the freedom of movement principle.

If, somehow, we decided to shoot ourselves in both feet and cut our noses off by leaving the EEA, big business would simply import far more non-EU nationals than EU nationals, and lobby for regulations to be relaxed to ‘save the economy’ (and their profit margins). These are the fundamental tenets of the church of Neoliberalism: Capital is God, and must be fluid. Capital potential can be reduced if worker supply is reduced, or, Heaven forbid, big business has to pay to train British natives. Therefore, the lobbyists call the shots. If the Brexiteers don’t like this, join the rest of us who actually get off our arses and try to change it, rather than constantly posting anti-immigrant rhetoric and falling for divide-and-rule every time.

Joining Cameron in the cowardice sweepstakes was Boris Johnson, who shocked everyone by pulling out of the Tory leadership race at the last minute. So two men who manoeuvred specifically to stay PM, and become PM, had both failed miserably, and gutlessly ran away, leaving others to clean up their considerable mess.

Meanwhile, the opposition have decided to react to this vacuum of leadership with the most embarrassing coup attempt since, well, Boris Johnson’s! But that’s a discussion for another time.

When I hear David Cameron spout the latest of his tiresome catchphrases: “hard-working families”; “long-term plan”; “Britain paying its way”, I can never get the image of his Public Relations background out of my head. He is a political PR Tickle-Me-Elmo.

“Mr Cameron, me and my partner are struggling to keep a roof over our heads with these record rent rises. What can you do to…”

“Help-to-buy!”

“Umm okay, but I don’t see how that helps…”

“Aspiration nation! Own your own home and find fulfilment!”

“David, are you actually listening to me?”

“Our long-term plan is working! Don’t let Labour ruin it like they did when they caused the global financial crash!”

*sound of footsteps hurrying away*

The most complimentary thing anybody said about Margaret Thatcher is that she was a ‘conviction’ politician. It sounds impressive, even if she had to manufacture a war and move the ‘wets’ who disagreed with her handing over of assets to spivs and speculators out of the cabinet, to carry through her ‘convictions’. Since the Patron Saint of Greed was ushered out by her own party, the leaders following in her wake have had a conundrum: how can one be a conviction politician anymore, when one’s party is largely financed by the financial and corporate sector, who also own most of the national media? John Major found this an impossible job. Some may argue his convictions ensured the peace process in Ireland was carried through, but other than this he was brought down essentially by the Tory far-right factions demanding more, despite them having carte-blanche for the whole of Thatcher’s tenure. From the most successful elected Prime Minister in recent history in terms of outright votes, Major finished as a lame duck PM, with the country glad to cast out the sleaze-ridden Conservatives for a new start under a Labour government.

Tony Blair, despite his anointment as the new hope, turned out to just be a sublimely presented corporate spokesperson. Unlike Major, Blair had a more balanced party, but he himself was the hollow messiah. He stood for nothing but winning elections. Having researched Labour’s many defeats to Thatcher and Major, Blair imagined that the electorate fully supported the Neoliberal consensus, while the financial and corporate sectors liked having their bellies tickled. Unfortunately, it seems the fraud supreme was right, and each following Prime Minister is nothing more than a totem of corporate supremacy, with very little wriggle-room for radical redistribution or renationalisation policies. When he called himself the ‘heir to Blair’, Cameron was essentially revealing what many suspected: he was made Conservative leader to be the acceptable PR-friendly face of the continuing corporate takeover of all public assets. Much like Blair was put in place solely to appease the sceptical City of London and finally win Labour an election, Cameron was appointed solely to appease the sceptical electorate and finally win the Tories an election. And he failed, but was propped up anyway.

We can all see what his mission was: utilise the five years of power to privatise Royal Mail and the NHS, and put in place the building blocks to privatise schools and higher education, as well as the criminal justice system, then attempt to be re-elected to finish the job. This Neoliberal project is bigger than Cameron. It is his corporate donors and the City of London who insist it is completed, Cameron is merely a shiny spokesperson to lie to the voters about the Tories’ intentions. You only have to reference the Circle Healthcare Hinchingbrooke hospital debacle to see that the Tories are enacting ‘pay-as-you-go’ policies for donors, at the expense of the general public.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-31104003

Circle, of course, bankrolled the office of Andrew Lansley, progenitor of the 2012 Health and Social Care Bill that opened up swathes of the NHS to private providers.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/6989408/Andrew-Lansley-bankrolled-by-private-healthcare-provider.html

So when we see the increasingly desperate shots at the Leader of the Opposition, coupled with a complete lack of intellectual depth when answering complex social questions, we can see that Cameron has reached his limits. Even he cannot defend the indefensible, despite being a housewives’ favourite.

The previously unelectable Ed Miliband has seemingly been boosted by the transparent attempts to demonise and lampoon him in the Murdoch press, but he has also sounded like he actually has ideas to tackle social problems. When he stated in a recent speech that the welfare state and NHS “did not appear because nice politicians came long, but because the public demanded it”, he instantly invigorated my interest. Imagine, a modern politician not saying they have all the answers, but saying that public will can shape the country instead. Little chance one might think under our two-party First-Past-The-Post tactical voting nightmare, but perhaps Ed might prove better than the lesser of two evils. I for one do not trust the current Labour party to dismantle any significant aspects of the Neoliberal project, but if truly progressive parties like the Greens could enter into a coalition, maybe the crushing tide of crony corporate plutarchy might finally start to turn.

I hear a lot of people mention countries undergoing massive protests or even revolutions, and commenting along the lines of “our government’s not perfect, but at least we have democracy”.

Understanding that train of thought, we have just heard that Andy Coulson will be jailed for his part in orchestrating phone-hacking, yet we are asked to believe that Rebekah Brooks, his boss, was entirely innocent of being complicit, or actually ordering the actions. Presumably the narrative we are expected to swallow is that Coulson was something of an overly ambitious and ethically-challenged loose cannon who also compulsively lied to his bosses and the Prime Minister.

So Brooks, who was not only Coulson’s boss but his secret lover, was apparently massively incompetent and could not read people to save her life. This is about as credible as any story in The Sun; no wonder Rupert thinks it will stick.

We knew the Murdoch empire controlled governments and the police, but, after hearing that he also financed most of both parties’ defence funds, we can reasonably assume that this insult to the British public’s intelligence means that his mafia-like grip on the UK also extends to the Crown Prosecution Service.