Disaster capitalism strikes back! Theresa May has been catapulted into number 10 Downing Street, following the aftermath of Brexit. This calamitous few weeks have enabled the Tory government to shift even further to the right, with a more calculated unempathic Prime Minister than the previous one. At least David Cameron pretended (rather unconvincingly) to care at times. Theresa May I would expect, will not even waste her time with such trivialities. I expect her to continue to spout, baseless, soulless rhetoric as displayed in her opening address. Both are economically on the same wavelength, however, May is more socially conservative than Cameron, with a particular dislike for immigrants, human rights and any form of social welfare.
It never ceases to amaze me how the neoliberals grasp every opportunity to push their ideology more radically following any kind of political or social breakdown. This is what Naomi Klein quite rightly describes in her book ‘The Shock Doctrine’ as disaster capitalism. The list of incidences whereby the right have used catastrophic events to their advantage is practically endless. These methods can be as diverse as; financial pressure, a manufactured political shift or as we’ve seen for over a decade in the Middle East, threats of military action. Activating events which facilitate the implementation of neoliberalism can be anything from a financial collapse, a coup (military or political) or a full blown military campaign.
The recent debacle known as Brexit and it’s fallout only served to send the country into disarray including the two main political party’s. I would go as far as to say the EU referendum was a sham and served to distract the voters from the real issues whilst splintering any remaining solidarity left amongst the working people of Britain. The masses are clearly unhappy but are currently deeply divided on how to display this. Some have moved over to the left, supporting Jeremy Corbyn’s politics of hope, whilst others have been brainwashed by political elements such as UKIP. This so called political party have spouted ceaseless anti-immigration rhetoric whilst promising to return Britain to the good old days, whenever they were. Looking generally at the right wing’s role in all this, the whole thing felt like a ruse the moment Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Nigel Farrage ran like bulls in Pamplona once the withdrawal was assured. What followed was an array of confusing statements about how long it would take to leave the EU and how it would affect the UK. In fact most comments drifting from the right indicated that not much would change following this so-called momentous decision. Which kind of left me thinking, why? What is clear, is that all the Tories believe in strong neoliberal principles, to the detriment of working people. What they didn’t agree on with regards to Brexit and the EU, was how to best construct a extreme capitalist superstate in the UK. It is therefore, no surprise whatsoever that the Conservatives have managed to pull themselves together much quicker than the deeply divided Labour Party. What binds them together (neoliberalism) is much stronger than any lingering remains of repulsive forces left over from Brexit.
This cohesion theory of mine has been played out by the appointment of Boris Johnson as foreign secretary. Even though Theresa May was supposedly in the remain camp she duly became Prime Minister and Boris Johnson who allegedly was in the opposing corner, picked up the post of a senior minister. At this point those on the left should meditate a little on The Who’s awesome rock anthem, ‘We won’t get fooled again’. I strongly suggest this, because we cannot afford to be continually duped by right wing ideologists, who regularly protect their fellow establishment cronies to the detriment of us peasants. Those of us who lean towards socialism, in football parlance have been ‘played off the park’. We need to ditch our naiveté and fight our way back into this, before it’s too late. This is why we need to support Jeremy Corbyn with every ounce of our being, because if the Corbyn flame gets snuffed out, we will remain in the political dark for quite some time.
So let us appraise our anti-immigration, anti-benefits, anti- human rights, pro war leader, to get an idea of what she has in store for the nation. The Conservatives’ have ridiculed the Labour Party recently, stating that they have had 2 female PM’s to Labour’s none. However, I always prefer quality over quantity and Theresa May would appear to be Thatcher 2.0. It only requires a brief look at her voting record to realise that her initial speech (see video below) was either a set of blatant lies or she is suffering from cognitive dissonance. In this section I will review the obvious problems that will impact the country the most. I’m sure many of you out there could suggest a plethora of issues that are close to your heart, but here I will highlight some of the most glaring problematic topics.
Let us start with human rights, here is an example of Theresa May’s hypocrisy. In April 2016, May stated that she would urge Britain to leave the European Convention on Human Rights, despite at the time purporting to be a ‘Remain’ campaigner for the EU referendum. This made no sense as it is a necessity to be a member of the ECHR to be eligible to remain in the EU. What is clear, is most of the Tory Party agree that the ECHR should be replaced by some sort of watered down ‘British bill of rights’. By withdrawing from this 68 year old commitment to the ECHR, this would damage the UK’s international standing, as it is described as an important pillar of foreign policy. It can also be argued that there has to be another body outside of the government to rule on what in fact constitutes as a human right and when they are considered to be breached. Theresa May has consistently opposed laws to promote equality and human rights. In defence of her position May stated in April 2016 “The ECHR can bind the hands of parliament, adds nothing to our prosperity, makes us less secure by preventing the deportation of dangerous foreign nationals – and does nothing to change the attitudes of governments like Russia’s when it comes to human rights”. This blanket statement, however, would appear to be skipping over what the ECHR provides for us little people. For a quick summary of why the ECHR is so important, here is Patrick Stewart to explain in this wonderful skit.
Regarding foreign policy it is abundantly obvious by perusing her voting record that the UK’s leader has been consistently pro-war, a case in point being the Iraq War, which she supported. May has also always voted for the replacement of Trident; this is an obsolete relic of the cold war era at an estimated cost of £205 billion. At a time when UK public services have been decimated by austerity, MP’s have recently overwhelmingly voted in favour of renewing Trident. May’s unwavering support of nuclear weapons under the guise of a deterrent and other military interventions gives us a clear indication that she would not be shy of using and escalating military force to solve our foreign policy problems. I am sure this stance goes a long way to reassure the US, preserving the US/UK ‘special relationship’. Recently May acknowledged that she would be willing to authorise a nuclear strike capable of killing a 100,000 people or more, which never struck me as the most sensible of strategies. I always thought that a retaliatory nuclear strike, hence, matching the death of possibly millions of people, with the murder of few more million human beings was outright lunacy. These points outlined make the prospect of a President Clinton and a Prime Minister Theresa May UK/US alliance, given their penchant for war a deeply disturbing prospect. It appears both premiers would be happy to send young, often poor people to die to support a failed foreign policy. An ideology that has nothing remotely to do with peace, but would conveniently line the pockets of the shareholders who have a significant stake in the companies involved with the arms industry. Recently Theresa May sent a message that she is more than comfortable denying any responsibility for the catastrophic US led western foreign policy by scrapping the ‘Minister for Syrian Refugees’. This at a time when western nations should be coordinating efforts to ensure the safety and humane treatment of refugees fleeing from an impossible situation, that US led foreign policy has helped to create.
For those who have kept an eye on Theresa May’s shenanigans this deletion of the Syrian refugees minister shouldn’t come as much of a shock. As Home Secretary, Theresa May made it crystal clear that she took an unashamedly anti-immigration stance. This is exemplified in both her voting record and her actions whilst in this post. In 2015 Theresa May addressed the Tory faithful stating that immigration threatened Britain’s cohesion. While in 2012 May as Home Secretary proposed that migrant workers from outside the EU who wish to settle in the UK must earn at least £35,000, this is in contrast to the average wage in the UK which sits at around £26,500, after a series of hiccups, this policy is set to be in place by 2016. The new Prime Minister also pushed through a series of blocks, making it much harder for foreign-born students to settle in the UK on graduating from their respective courses. Her main reason at the time was simple; in her view “the net economic and fiscal benefits are close to zero”. Interesting enough she offered a similar reason for leaving the ECHR, when she stated “ECHR can bind the hands of parliament, adds nothing to our prosperity”. As previously mentioned May’s voting record reinforces her convictions; voting for a stricter asylum system and stronger enforcement of immigration rules.
Returning to the home front, Empress Theresa has repeatedly voted to reduce housing benefits. According to her record, she voted against raising welfare benefits whilst voting for a reduction of spending on the said benefits. May has been opposed to increasing benefits for the sick or people with disabilities and against public spending to increase jobs for young people. Theresa May clearly believes in a ‘everyone for themselves’ type of society, that purports going out and getting a job, but at the same time not supporting any schemes that may promote employment. It would seem that the new PM has no interest at all in helping the most vulnerable in society gain ascendency. However, on the flip side, she has always tried to help her establishment buddies out, voting against tax rises on people who earn £150,000 and above, whilst voting to oppose a tax on bankers bonuses. Ms May has voted consistently against a mansion tax, as I presume this would upset her and her peers, who would be deeply affected. At the same time she has repeatedly stomped on workers rights by voting for more regulation on trade union activity. It is obvious that what Theresa May advocates looking at her record; this is a widening of inequality, by quashing benefits of any sort, while taking any remaining workers rights that currently exist. Counter to this she is delighted for the rich and therefore herself to pay less tax. It is in no doubt that when a decision needs to be made, we can be assured that Theresa May will always vote in favour of the 1% and her own interests. Theresa May’s crowning glory (note the sarcasm) was the proposal of the, Investigatory Power Bill, or otherwise known as the ‘snoopers charter’. This intrusive set of new laws have passed through the House of Commons and is now heading on to the House of Lords to be voted upon. The Investigatory Powers Bill is a new law that will give the UK police and security agencies massive powers to collect, analyse and look at our private communications and internet use. Here are some of the worrying bits;
- Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will be forced to create a record of the websites you visit and the apps you use and can keep this data for a year. This information can be analysed without a warrant. The police only need to get internal sign off to look at this data. Government departments, like the Department of Work and Pensions, can look at this data too.
- Your communications can be easily obtained by the security services. Tapping undersea fibre-optic cables, GCHQ can record and keep all passing internet traffic for several days, and metadata for six months.
- The police and intelligence agencies can hack into your phone or computer. You don’t have to be suspected of a crime for this to happen.
- The security services can easily access any public or private database – whether it’s held by DVLA or Tesco. They have admitted that the vast majority of this data will be about people who are not suspected of any crimes.
All this will be pushed through under the guise of national security, but this is a gross erosion of our civil liberties. The bill is expected to pass through both houses by the end of 2016, at which point, ‘Big Sister’ will be watching you!
With regards to real problems such as climate change; Theresa May hasn’t been shy about showing her disdain for it, within a week of her tenure in number 10 she scrapped the Department for Energy and Climate Change. While adding insult to injury for environmentalists, Andrea Leadsom the lady who had no idea about climate change was given the post of Environment Secretary. The PM has consistently voted against climate change prevention measures and tighter regulation on fracking, whilst also being in favour of the sale of state owned forests. Her blatant dismissal regarding the importance of climate change is severely worrying, as she seems quite prepared to support big business at the expense of our planet. Her ideology is simply incompatible with the severity of the problem and the tough measures we are going to have to employ particularly against the fossil fuel industry. It is now imperative to limit the damage that has already been estimated to occur due to international governing bodies repeated laxidasicle responses to the crisis. On this issue alone I would declare her unfit for office, as she is contributing amongst other inept leaders to put the planet in severe danger.
So there you have it. While the Tories celebrate that she is indeed a woman, the UK need to be reminded that she is a human rights denying, elitist, war mongering, unempathic, narcissistic, despicable, global danger. Oh, but it’s OK didn’t I tell you…..she’s a woman.