Posts Tagged ‘neoliberalism’

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.

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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?

I heard a forgettable talking head recently speaking about an “existential threat to liberal democracy” across the world. Let me make a very simple hypothesis for these “experts”: liberal democracy can function very well if you STOP LETTING THE VERY RICH HOARD ALL THE LOOT.

 

People will always get disgruntled at immigration, mechanisation and a changing world, but nothing focuses the mind like seeing your standard of living steadily decline while those at the top are hiding untold riches in island paradises. If the Establishment stops repeating the mistakes of the 1930s; if it stops allowing globalisation to be used essentially as a racket for multinational plunder and money laundering under the guise of “investment”, it might still stand a chance of redeeming itself.

 

I won’t hold my breath.

These current times seem very reminiscent of the dying days of the Major administration. Remember when they were under fire from all sections of the media, even print, couldn’t get any Tory legislation passed, and people were just itching to boot them out of office for a fresh start? Now we regularly see sacrificial ministers wheeled out to be plucked like quivering chickens by the usually gentle and convivial Andrew Marr; answering questions in the irritatingly evasive manner of a suspect waiting for their lawyer to arrive. Mistress Mayhem AKA The Maybot ™ AKA The Feeding Seal has discovered that, much to her chagrin, the left were right all along: that her honeymoon period was almost entirely superficial, down to a combination of soft interviewing, the lauding of her by the press and their relentless hatchet jobs and character assassinations on her opposite number.

 

The inescapable problem for the Tories is that they have boxed themselves in with their narrow ideological obsessions. When the global financial crash struck in 2008, Gordon Brown was at the helm, and by 2010, following his clandestine insult of a voter being inadvertently broadcast, it should have been a cakewalk for the Tories, and they almost even blew that. As it was, the coalition with the LibDems should have suited David Cameron down to the ground. He could play to his natural liberal instincts and put into place his own vision for the country, which may have been closer to a LibDem vision than a Thatcherite Tory one.

 

Unfortunately for him, his party had been packed with raving neoliberals since Thatcher’s day, itching for further privatisation, deregulation and tax cuts for big business. ‘One Nation’ patrician conservatism was outdated; an anachronism. This may not have been too much of an issue if Cameron was smart, dedicated and strong, but he proved to be none of those things as he gave the Chancellor’s job to his old Bullingdon chum George Osborne, rather than the eminently better-qualified LibDem Vince Cable. Suddenly, we went from “coalition in service of the country in its hour of need” to “coalition in service of forwarding the interests of Tory party hard ideologues and big donors”.

 

Osborne was a proper neoliberal in the strictest sense: socially and economically. He idolised Thatcher, and embodied the worst Tory instincts that come with mindless privilege and a cocaine addiction. As far as he was concerned, he could ‘learn’ the chancellorship ‘on the job’, and soon treated cutting expenditure as some kind of game of Monopoly. Some Tories have been accused of reducing the state’s role to ‘custodian of the military’ and using war simply as a colonial tool. Osborne took a similarly reckless myopic approach to the treasury, seemingly taking gleeful abandon in slashing benefits to non-Tory voters, and privatising everything he could lay his hands on, even bragging of it as an end in itself. He clearly understood ‘disaster capitalism’, and the opportunities it presents for furthering nefarious ideological agendas which would otherwise prove publically unpalatable. As long as he kept blowing the ‘deficit’ trumpet, the Emperor’s clothes could remain just about visible to the oblivious masses.

 

When Cameron quietly dropped his ‘Big Society’ idea, most came to the reductive conclusion that Cameron was simply an empty vessel: an acceptable housewife-friendly face to front the completion of the UK’s asset stripping by the Tory neoliberals; a leader whose background in PR would stand him in good stead for bullshitting his way through the myriad social and economic issues Osborne’s demented slashing and burning would wreak.

 

Now though, finally, the tide seems to be turning. Whether the reality of Brexit fallout has been grasped, or people have just seen through the contradictory rhetoric of “all in it together”, the Tories have lost their majority, despite again being investigated of cheating on election expenditure, and having huge swathes of the mainstream media dancing to their tune.

 

Separating Theresa May’s abysmal campaign from the effectiveness of the party in general, an obviously oversimplified hypothesis of their failings would be that they do not know how not to do what they’ve done since Thatcher’s day, despite society and events moving on immeasurably. When Thatcher was handing every public asset to the private sector, it was new. You could disagree with it, but you couldn’t prove categorically that it would fail. Memories of the ‘Winter of Discontent’ sustained Thatcher’s crushing of trade unions and selling off of state monopolies: the context has changed in these last 40 years. Neoliberalism is a discredited economic ideology and a busted flush: 2008 was its natural death.

 

But rather than be flexible, the Tory ideologues have only one thought process: more privatisation and deregulation. Only, there is hardly anything left to sell, and it is now hugely unpopular with the general public. Their ‘zombie neoliberalism’ is fooling no one. People can see the connection between the Grenfell Tower disaster and the wider narrative where people are only valued for their economic power and big business literally gets away with murder in pursuit of profit.

 

They no longer have an aura of competence, or a plausible narrative for their plundering of state assets. How can they say more cuts are necessary when they’ve had 7 years to deal with the deficit and failed miserably? Who will be inspired to welcome more misery and cutbacks when they’ve seen no positive results from the 7 years they’ve already endured? Did they really think nobody would notice the stealth abolition of the NHS?

 

The Conservatives have managed to alienate and piss off most of the public sector, including the people we tend to value the most: doctors, police and firefighters, while propagating a culture of racism, class discord and anti-intellectualism. And the only plan they have to satiate these people is to tell them to suck it up because Brexit is the only thing that matters in the world, but they can’t tell us anything about what its aftermath will look like.

 

Perhaps I’m jumping the gun: record numbers still voted for the worst manifesto I have ever known from a major party, and a leader who is seemingly terrified of people unless they’re subservient acolytes. But a leopard can’t change its spots. Either the Tories start ripping off more Labour policies, or they will continue claiming the state can’t do anything positive other than bending over for big business. I cannot see either inspiring again, particularly when it becomes clear that Brexit was a huge mistake. A purge of the neoliberals may take a decade, but surely it is the only cure for this death spiral for the party that seemed unassailable just a fortnight ago.

 

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.

“That’s the standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital” Noam Chomsky.

We are living in pretty desperate times. More and more people thankfully seem to be awakening to the fact that this Conservative Party of Neoliberal asset-strippers is as bad as most of us had warned.

When the Conservatives forced through the Health and Social Care Bill in 2012 (two years after initially presenting it), and then legally blocked the potentially explosive risk register from being made public, the writing was on the wall for anyone even moderately politically aware. The further disclosure of Andrew Lansley’s financial backing from a private healthcare giant just lit a neon sign around their obvious long-term agenda.

I’ve seen people roll out counter-arguments along the lines of:

1. “The Labour Party have claimed every election since 1950 that a Tory government would end the NHS and yet it’s still here. It’s just scaremongering.”
2. “Any party that privatises the NHS would never see government again.”
3. “If they tried it, they’d be voted out at the first opportunity and the NHS would be reinstated.”
4. “ What’s wrong with a mixed public-private model? Works well in most of Europe.”
5. “It’s getting too expensive now we’re all living longer, we need to look at new ways of funding it.”
6. “The country’s got no money. The government’s doing the best it can under the circumstances.”

So, to tackle them in turn:

1. Of course, opposition parties, particularly when they have introduced something universally popular and successful, will electioneer. But it is ridiculous to claim today’s Conservatives are even remotely similar to the ‘One Nation’ types that ruled in the 50s and 60s under a mixed economy social democracy. Today’s Tories are simply economic extremist Neoliberals. Much like America, UK political parties, rather than engines of change, have simply become enablers for the corporate elites (witness the relentless character assassination of Jeremy Corbyn to understand how defensive they become at any challenge to their corporate agenda). David Cameron is not a man of principle; he is a P.R. face for the corporate takeover. In everything the current government do, from forcing illegal debt onto former students by privatising the old student loan book, to making the taxpayer subsidise fossil fuel giants and underwriting mortgages people can’t actually afford, there is a singular agenda: everything must be sold to private enterprise, deregulated and made as irreversible as possible should any opposition party actually grow a backbone and try to reset some sense of democracy.
2. This is why Thatcher never dared to simply sell off the NHS like she did with British Gas, British Telecom and so many other British industries. Instead, she played the long game; introducing “internal markets” into the NHS to begin to alter the management focus from medicine to money. Privatising cleaning and other ancillary functions began the fragmentation of the service, ensuring “cooperation” became a dirty word, replaced by “competition”. John Major’s government took this a stage further by introducing the disastrous PFI schemes: building hospitals with expensive private loans rather than public borrowing. New Labour continued and expanded this treachery gleefully. With the Health and Social Care Act in force, private vultures have been hovering up lucrative ‘contracts’ within the service, sometimes dropping them when they decide they’re not making enough lucre: http://www.gponline.com/practice-dropped-nhs-trust-500000-losses-re-procured/article/1308060 Of course, the ultimate aim is to then reduce funding to the point of collapse, until the media stories convince the majority that “something needs to be done”. The junior doctors’ contracts and ending nurses’ bursary schemes is another step in making the service more ‘affordable’ for any private companies post-NHS, though of course the convenient cover-story is about “making a 7-day NHS”.
3. Hence why the current incumbents seem hell-bent on reducing constituency numbers, reducing Union income for the opposition, taking voters off the electoral roll, gagging opposition, criminalising protest and forcing 5 year fixed terms. If they can make it through the next election with the NHS in ruins, they will have slain the Neoliberal project’s biggest, and previously impervious foe. If they can’t, the damage will be immense, with debts, less nurses, less doctors and unsafe hospitals to turn around, with corporate vultures all still demanding their slice. If the intolerable trade deal TTIP is ratified, we can forget about the privatisation being able to be reversed anyway.
4. Well, the NHS is pretty consistently rated top of Western healthcare systems, particularly cost-efficiency: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/17/nhs-health, so one might ask why a change is even required, particularly as it wasn’t in the Conservative manifesto in 2010. If a change is required, then the swarm of US healthcare providers bidding for contracts and donating to the Conservatives seems to point to a different agenda: the American private insurance model. http://www.nhsforsale.info/database/impact-database/conflict-of-interest/GOVERNMENT-POLITICIANS.html
5. Well we’re certainly getting older, but I don’t see how exchanging a hugely cost-effective service for a demonstrably more expensive model would alleviate this, particularly as government can source everything more cheaply, by virtue of its ‘monopsony’ status, and of course, we issue our own currency. There is always, God forbid, the option of increasing National Insurance contributions a little for everyone, or the dreaded taxing of the super-rich. Of course, the super-rich are exactly the kind of people who are both donors to the Conservatives, and biggest potential beneficiaries of a private health market, so that won’t happen.
6. You’ve fallen for the bullshit. Sovereign currency issuers can never ‘run out’ of money, and hyper-inflation is a very remote threat (or, in the Neoliberals’ own terms: “scaremongering”). There is plenty of money, there is just no desire among the elite for any kind of redistribution (for pretty obvious reasons).

I am genuinely terrified of what comes after this Junior Doctor strike. If Jeremy Hunt wins, then we will all lose in the long run. The NHS is irreplaceable, but is currently being fattened up for slaughter. Without hyperbolising, our children are at risk. Can you afford a grand a month on top of bills for private insurance? We have become a nation built almost entirely on rentierism and usury. We’re already being figuratively bled dry. Now the Establishment want to do it literally.

I don’t want to return to a time when the working classes could not afford to be sick. We all need to realise the clear and present danger and fight it, before the worst case scenario becomes a dystopian reality, as we hear our friends and family justify it through specious newspaper narratives.

You know when you have to break some really bad news to someone, but don’t want to see them upset, so somehow you convince yourself if you just phrase it softly, or as a subtle analogy, that they will take it in good spirit, and, more importantly, not attack you? Sometimes the English language is frustratingly limited. But what can you do?

Well, if you’re in Government, you can simply convey what you’re actually doing by using words or phrases that are acceptable, even positive to people, so they will then associate something good with all the bad you’re doing, and it will somehow all make moral sense in their jumbled heads.

Examples abound. “Hard-working families” now means: “anyone who voted Tory”. “Global financial crisis”, “Eurozone crisis” and “food banks” are now translated as “Labour’s mess”. “Slave labour” has become “Workfare”, while “actively provoking the next financial crash” is simply known as “Help to Buy”. There’s more. “Enabling Free Markets” actually means “assistance for near-monopolies to consolidate their dominance”, “free trade deals” can be translated as “stateless multinationals plundering all they survey”, while “reform”/”choice” are alternating pseudonyms for “privatisation”.

But my biggest bugbear, the worst mangling of meaning has to be “centrist politics”. I’ve heard this waffled by Labour party thinktanks or “reformers”; usually after an announcement that big business should be in any way responsible or answerable to the laws of the land: “we will only win from a centrist position”. Yet these same types are advocating 2% minimum GDP defence spending and cutting welfare further. These are not “centrist” positions. Most of them are a painful way away from “centre-right”.

This logic dictates that the Conservatives are “centrist”, perhaps with a hint of “centre-right” economic frugality. Yet this flies in the face of all known evidence. Handing every public service over to private interests is actually economically far-right, just as having everything state-owned or abolishing private ownership entirely would certainly be far-left economically. Yet a Government whose leader and Chancellor have both advocated having everything bar parts of the military and judiciary privately owned or contracted out, are laughably considered “centrist” by our transparently pro-Establishment media sources.

‘Workfare’; the notion that anyone, regardless of age or circumstance, should have to work for survival rather than a salaried wage, is socially far-right: it’s the modern-day workhouse, only instead of the upkeep of the workhouse, the money goes to landlords and party donors who get free labour. Criminalising homelessness is far-right. Assuming all citizens are potential terrorists and justifying spying on them is authoritarian to the point of fascist: far-right.

As students of modern British political history will know, this shifting of the ‘centre ground’ to the right was done under Thatcher. Suddenly, the private sector running essential natural monopolies, massive tax cuts for the rich and corporations, and privatising council housing was ‘centrist’. Maggie was of course the master of manipulating the truth. Swathes of dole claimants she created quietly became long-term disability claimants to massage her grotesque figures. Her Neoliberal dystopia became the new ‘consensus’, enforced with batons and misinformation.

The BBC get into the act when they describe Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn as a ‘far left’ candidate. Moderate socialism has never been ‘far left’, unless small-c conservatism is now classed as ‘far right’. It may seem petty, but words can distort realities and create false narratives when used often enough. Real centrist politics would require a significant leftward shift from where we are currently, probably in relation to taxing corporations and the super-rich more progressively, and renationalising essential natural monopolies like the railways and utilities. The body politic has been heaved so far right they now see anything remotely public or progressive as anarchy. Don’t believe the bullshit.