Biden: The Democratic Party’s preferred corporate lamb to the slaughter.

Make no mistake Joe Biden had an excellent Super Tuesday, while Sanders in contrast had somewhat of a nightmare. Following Biden’s win in the South Carolina primary, one centrist candidate after another coalesced around this questionable establishment politician in an effort to dampen Bernie’s popularity. In all honesty this strategy was smart and timely. Not only that, but to compound Bernie’s problems, the quintessential political chameleon Elizabeth Warren remained in the race until today, further splitting the progressive vote and most probably contributing to Sanders losing some states such as, Warren’s home state of Massachusetts, plus Maine, possibly Texas and Minnesota.

A couple of weeks ago the ruling elite had a collective meltdown, viewing Sanders increasingly as an existential threat to their privileged way of life. Therefore, something had to be done. This ultimately brought about tactics of alliances between candidates and a 24/7 blanket support of Biden post South Carolina by the mainstream propaganda machine. Biden has also courted and been supported by corporate America, recently hosting 250 big money donors in New York. Meanwhile, his recent Super Tuesday victory was reflected by a Wall Street surge who perceive Biden as a benign candidate.

Like any great prize fighter, following the Super Tuesday setback, Sanders needs to regroup, clear his head and fire back at Biden. Finding easy targets against a lacklustre, lifelong establishment candidate should not be a difficult task for the Sanders campaign. At this point Bernie needs to find his killer instinct and repeatedly hit Biden’s weak spots, which frankly is his entire political career. If Joe Biden is elected there is no doubt he would be eviscerated by Trump come debate time. It would be akin to watching a heavyweight top ten pugilist go up against a washed up punch drunk, ageing club fighter and it won’t be pretty to watch.

In 2016 many people voted for Trump because they were disillusioned with corporate, mainstream, establishment politics. Joe Biden embodies this down to his very core, he has even reaffirmed this on stage, espousing a lazy, uninspiring “steady as she goes” rhetoric. This is exactly what the US and the world do not need at this particular point. The planet is burning, huge inequality is effecting health, education and general wellbeing. Wars continue all over the world, as a part consequence of a system that requires infinite growth on a finite planet.

libya deathFurther to this, the US continues to expand it’s empire by systematically destroying nations who fail to toe the line, either through conflict or economic sanctions. Trump will undoubtedly continue down this path if re-elected, as his last few years have clearly indicated. So too would Biden if he wins the nomination and is elected later this year. To be fair the POTUS has very little control over foreign policy, as the deep state rarely deviates from its interventionist position.

It’s is difficult to attain what changes Bernie Sanders could make regarding foreign policy, considering the might of the military industrial complex. Domestically, however, there is only one anti-establishment change candidate around right now and that’s Bernie. Does he go as far as I’d like on many issues? Of course not. But we have to put this into perspective. This is the US, and as much as Bernie’s proposals would seem mainstream to most of Europe, they would signify a much welcomed radical shift in policy within the US.

So who really is Donald Trump’s potential punching bag Joe Biden? Biden has had 45 years in politics, he spent 36 years as a senator and a further 8 as Obama’s vice president. He is reputedly a ‘moderate’ who calls himself “middle class Joe”. However, over his career he has taken big money contributions at the expense of ordinary hard working Americans. This is the kind of politics that turned many people away from the Democrats and towards Trump in 2016. So let us take a little look at Biden’s politics of transaction.

Throughout his 36 years as a senator he has been financed by credit card companies. Between 1989 and 2000 MBNA was Biden’s single largest donor. In 2005 he authored and voted for a bankruptcy bill which made it increasingly more difficult for Americans to clear their debts. Consequently, this has had the effect of skyrocketing student debt since its inception. A study from the Federal Reserve of New York went as far as to suggest that this bill led to a rapid surge of foreclosures that may not have occurred otherwise. Coincidentally MBNA hired Biden’s son straight out of Law School as a lobbyist in 1996 and again as a consultant between 2001-2005, this was the same period Biden was working on the bill.

On the day Biden announced his campaign on the 25th April 2019, he attended a fundraiser hosted by a CEO of a major health insurance corporation. He unsurprisingly, flatly refused to sign a pledge rejecting money from the insurance and pharmaceutical world. Further to this, his campaign has been bankrolled by a super Pac run by healthcare lobbyists. In return for cash, the current healthcare industry will be preserved by President Biden if elected, at the expense of 10 million uninsured Americans.

Unlike healthcare, Biden did sign a pledge not to take money from the fossil fuel industry and then reneged on it. Shortly after the CNN hosted the climate change forum, he attended a fundraiser hosted by a fossil fuel conglomerate executive Andrew Goldman. Generally speaking Joe Biden’s climate change proposals have been rated as poor by leading environmental groups, accusing him of largely paying lip service with no discernible plan. In a report by the Sunrise Group, Bernie Sanders scored 183/200 while Biden totalled a dismal 75/200, the group concluded that climate change doesn’t appear to fit into his plans.

koala

Historically speaking Joe Biden’s positions don’t look too flash either.

What seems abundantly clear is that Biden lacks any moral conviction. His policies are deeply rooted in neoliberal ideology, while also being relatively socially conservative. In any other nation he would be considered to be firmly on the right of the political aisle. Biden, like the majority of the Democratic Party is a typical transactional politician, in effect a Hillary Clinton 2.0. He has been prolific on the speaking circuit for decades while cultivating close ties with lobbyists. His career in politics has been marked by establishment rhetoric and 3rd way triangulation, exactly what the US voters rejected in 2016.

Trump would be licking his lips at the prospect of running against Biden. They do possess similarities in as much they are both corrupt and employ unhealthy doses of nepotism. Where they differ, however, is Trump somehow still has the support from many of the disenfranchised all around the country. An establishment, centrist, careerist politician will never defeat a leader who has positioned themselves as a populist, regardless whether this façade bears any resemblance to the truth or not.

This matchup would not end well for Biden, but would definitely be a preferable option for the DNC, rather than allowing Bernie Sanders to run as the Democratic Party candidate. The truth is, only a populist can beat a populist in this current political climate and Bernie is the ultimate anti-establishment candidate. Sanders is perfectly suited to dismantle Trump and his dystopian nightmare. As they say styles make fights and this would be a cracker.

 

 

 

Beware of the grassy knoll: Will Bernie Sanders make it to the big dance?

America proclaims to be the “land of the free and the home of the brave”. One thing that is surely difficult to question is the bravery of Bernie Sanders. The US is the home of demockracy, big money talks and generally wins elections. It is a land where government policy is designed primarily to benefit corporations. Even healthcare, a basic human right in most other democracies is controlled by private entities.

Meanwhile, climate change is ignored because it clashes with US interests, more specifically corporate interests. Unsurprisingly, the US has the highest levels of economic inequality in the G7 and 5th worst in the OECD, while boasting more billionaires per capita than any other nation on earth. America is very much a plutocracy, while democracy is a mere pipe dream for the majority of its citizens.

The enormity of what Bernie Sanders is fighting against cannot be overestimated. It is a country at the epicentre of Gordon Gekko’s “greed is good” philosophy (See the film Wall Street for details). A nation that has been on the receiving end of decades of McCarthyism. A place that embodies individualism to the detriment of all others and a country that has killed between 20-30 million people since World War 2. Apparently, all in an effort to implement ‘US democracy’ around the globe. This wonderful gift has been delivered via coups, wars, assassinations, election interference and propping up dictators.

To make his task ever more difficult, Sanders is a self proclaimed Democratic Socialist. Merely uttering the word socialist often raises the heckles of many a ‘patriot’ playing a banjo whilst sat in a rocking chair, on the porch of a run down shack. But this societal attitude towards socialism shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. For decades the people of the US have been indoctrinated with the idea that socialism is bad and capitalism is good (try saying this while doing a Tarzan impersonation).

Throughout the United States this narrative has been blindly regurgitated over the years in the press and of course throughout popular culture. Just think of how many films portrayed the Soviet Union as the bad guys in the 1980’s; Rocky IV, Rambo, Top Gun, Red Dawn, Firefox and of course that unforgettable cinematic classic, No Retreat, No Surrender, complete with Jean Claude Van Damme as the obligatory nasty Russian.

drago

In the 21st century, however, most anti-socialist propaganda is more likely to appear on social media delivered by faux prophets such as Ben Shapiro. The fast talking Shapiro is an expert at knocking down strawman arguments with aplomb, while making false assertions. As an example, one such fallacy he makes is that most wealth in the US is not inherited. However, research on the contrary states that 40% of people on the Forbes 400 list received some inheritance from family members, with 21% inheriting enough to be placed straight on to this list. This particular study also concluded that 60% of individuals who made the list grew up in substantially privileged backgrounds.

Sadly, many like Shapiro have no clue what socialism actually is, let alone what democratic socialism entails. Therefore, the “red scare” persists in many parts of the US, particularly among the ‘baby boomer’ generation. Outlets like Fox News perpetuate this narrative in order to extinguish any ideas that there may just be a better way to run society. In one such egregious attempt to smear socialism, a Fox News anchor compared Denmark to Venezuela. Incidentally, Denmark buries the US on the majority of metrics in relation to wellbeing including; community support, education, environment, civic engagement, life satisfaction and work life balance. To be fair Denmark is considered more as a social democracy.

All that Bernie Sanders is really suggesting is a fairer system, one that looks after and educates all people, not just the ones who can afford it. He rightly disagrees with the premise that the US is currently a meritocracy. The “American Dream” is for many the “American Nightmare”, a fairy tale perpetuated by the ruling elite in order to keep people striving for more and more stuff. The “American Dream” only works for the super rich, who hide behind huge walls, private islands and tax scams . The tail without doubt continues to wag the dog, as the bulk of the money and political grunt lies with a tiny group of oligarchs.

Throughout the early stages of the primaries we have witnessed the corporate machine flex it’s muscles under the guise of the ‘moderate’ wing of the Democratic Party, ably supported by the billionaire led media. Like Corbyn in the UK, Sanders is receiving a huge amount of criticism from within his own party. This is the first line of attack, designed to question Bernie’s credibility and his electability, placing doubt in the minds of the public. This is coupled with the media’s blatant assault, which often consists of black outs or outright criticism. Attacks have also rained down recently from influential ex-politician and the wicked witch of the corporate west Hillary Clinton.

It has been well documented regarding the mainstream media’s overt negative attitude towards Sanders. MSNBC’s Mimi Rocah in 2019 proclaimed that Bernie made her “skin crawl” without giving any reasoning behind this comment, just a juvenile emotionally charged statement. The same organisation have also been guilty of repeated mathematical errors in the form of bogus graphics displayed on screen. These are never amended, apologised for and are always to the detriment of Mr Sanders.

One of MSNBC’s supposedly ‘progressive’ anchor Rachel Maddow suggested Bernie had a “women problem”, claiming that Sanders had less donations from women than all the other candidates. Critically, Maddow only included donations above $200, whilst 99.3% of Bernie’s donations are less than $100. It turns out, that Sanders has raised a greater share of his donations from women than over half the field in the Democratic primary, but this of course has not been mentioned. To further confirm MSNBC’s subservience towards corporate America, host Joe Scarborough boldly claimed that only a capitalist candidate could challenge Donald Trump, despite 63/68 polls stating that Sanders would win in a head to head.

CNN is another influential corporate media outlet that can even outdo MSNBC for anti-Sanders rhetoric. Like most mainstream propaganda outlets CNN is wedded to Wall Street; owned by Turner Broadcast, which is controlled by WarnerMedia, which is a subsidiary of AT&T, the 9th largest corporation in the US. And who owns AT&T? Wall Street investors, the very people who Bernie has consistently waged war against. At this point it’s also worth recognising, that every major media group apart from CBS have board members who are on other boards of either a health insurance or pharmaceutical company. Seeing as Sanders is championing universal healthcare, it’s not entirely surprising why among other reasons the media mafia is decidedly lukewarm towards Bernie.

It wouldn’t be far fetched to suggest that CNN’s sharing of information has been questionable to say the least. This ranges from displaying polls with statically insignificant numbers, to concealing the identities of DNC operatives and lobbyist employees at town hall events. These individuals used fake identities and asked questions with the sole aim to trip Bernie up in public. More recently, prior to the recent Iowa caucus, CNN were back to their usual trick of keeping the debate within acceptable boundaries, for them. 

This media behemoth displays their political colours by repeatedly taking sides against Sanders, such as, seizing on an Elizabeth Warren allegation, suggesting Sanders stated “a woman cannot win the presidency”. This is impossible to verify, as only Warren and Sanders were present during this verbal exchange. Furthermore, during the debate right wing talking points were used in place of responsible and pertinent questions, asking Sanders, “how would you keep the plan from bankrupting the country”?

Unfortunately, if Sanders is to succeed, his campaign better get used to this resistance as the propaganda will only intensify. Stage two will consist of an onslaught from the right wing media, GOP fearmongering and frightened billionaires claiming he is evil personified. Plus of course, obligatory name calling from the “child in chief” Donald Trump and his band of MAGA hat wearing merry men.

Already, right-wing billionaires have a launched an ad campaign against Sanders for proposing universal healthcare and a major public works plan to clean up the planet. Suggesting he’s aiming to transform the country by meeting extreme environmental standards. Unsurprisingly, the majority of these backers are allies of the Koch’s.

The general theme from groups like this is that the Sanders camp are an affront to American values and freedoms. In reality, all this cabal are concerned about is how it affects them and the higher taxes they may well have to pay. However, the game of choice from the right and the media in general will likely be ‘red baiting’. In fact this is already underway, prior to the New Hampshire primary Chris Matthews one of MSNBC’s talking heads suggested that if Sanders won the election, he would establish a dictatorship and start having his opponents shot.

Of course in preparation, the Republican’s will be dusting off their ‘red scare’ playbook, as Sanders begins to be seen as a credible threat to the presidency. In 2018 Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers released a report equating the mild Democratic Socialism Sanders is espousing to the murderous acts of Stalin and Mao. This is clearly ridiculous, if we analyse what Bernie is actually suggesting, in the majority of Europe he would be seen as nothing more than a centrist. Another common narrative right wing reactionaries try to establish, is the link between the plight of Venezuela and a Sanders led government. What they fail to mention is much of Venezuela’s woes have been caused by US sanctions and game playing by the Venezuelan elite.

What we have learnt from the 2016 US election and the recent 2019 UK election is, none of this right wing propaganda requires any truth, all that is needed is the initiation of an emotional response. If this is strong enough, it will override any rational thought processes within the pre-frontal cortex. This very approach contributed to many working class people in the UK to vote for a 3 word slogan “get Brexit done” over better health, education and public services, which Labour proposed.

The politics of fear will be used extensively by Trump with the goal of delivering a message that will bypass any prospect of reason among the electorate. Bear in mind, I haven’t even mentioned baseless accusations of anti-Semitism, which have surfaced on both sides of the Atlantic and was a major contributing factor regarding Corbyn’s defeat. AIPAC is infinitely more powerful than anything the UK has to offer. But unlike Corbyn, the Sander’s camp have been quick to fire back at a bogus article in the Washington Examiner stating, “anyone accusing Bernie Sanders of anti-Semitism and anyone publishing this shit, is a total asshole”.

Lets be honest, Bernie Sanders pisses a lot of rich, connected people off. He’s unapologetically going after bankers, billionaires, big pharma, the med insurance industry, the fossil fuel industry among others. The military industrial complex will also feel threatened by his perceived ‘communist’ ideas. So, will the system allow Bernie to be the President of the United States? If he scrapes past the obvious bias of his own party, mass media attacks that will only escalate, the wrath of right wing vitriol and their blatant lies, do we really think the “deep state” will welcome him with open arms? I’m not convinced.

We clearly need to seriously think about this. A Sanders presidency doesn’t seem that outlandish judging by the polls. Joe Biden has tanked and Buttigieg is hugely unpopular with non-white voters. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg looks like he will buy his way into contention and appears to be possibly the establishment’s strongest contender. But currently, Sanders on average has a 4.4 point lead in the Democratic Party national polls. What’s more, Bernie is up by 8 points in the polls against Trump, taken on the 10th February.

I guess what I’m asking is, with so much at stake would Bernie ever be allowed to physically walk into the White House as President of the United States? A Sanders victory would result in a lot of anger for very rich, powerful, connected people, in a country that has a history of assassinations both inside and outside of the US. In the event of a successful election bid, I would be extremely concerned for wellbeing of Mr Sanders and his family, but would relish a change in political direction from one of the worlds most influential nations. The question is, has the US got the stomach for a political revolution?

 

 

Defending the oligarchy: UK media and the manufacturing of a Tory victory.

Nobody should be surprised that the majority of the media were complicit in their manufacturing of a narrative that contributed to the defeat of Jeremy Corbyn during the recent election in December 2019. Nor should we expect any easing back of these tactics if a Labour leader is elected who is deemed unsuitable to the establishment oligarchs. Jeremy Corbyn at one point was seen as serious threat to the ruling elite in the UK, advocating wholesale changes to the way the rich and powerful operate. This included higher tax rates for the rich, a clampdown on tax evaders and avoiders, plus plans for the nationalisation of certain industries and services. Corbyn without doubt was considered a problem and had to go.

In the UK, the print media is primarily owned by billionaires and these individuals help to maintain the sanctity of the establishment. Predictably coming down hard on anyone who threatens this hierarchy. The names of some of the people who help to preserve the status quo are;

  • Lord Rothermere – The Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday and The Metro.
  • Rupert Murdoch – The Sun, The Sun on Sunday, The Times and The Times on Sunday.
  • Alexander and Evgeny Lebedev – The Independent, The Independent on Sunday and The Evening Standard.
  • Richard Desmond – The Daily Star, The Star on Sunday, The Daily Express and The Express on Sunday.
  • David and Frederick Barclay – The Telegraph and The Spectator.

What appears obvious during the last two elections of 2017 and 2019 is, the majority of the print media were deeply critical of Corbyn and his proposed policies. This sustained criticism also occurred from supposed friends of Labour, such as the Guardian. However, most of this vitriol appeared in right wing rags, who persistently produced pages of propaganda and outright lies to concoct a powerful anti-Corbyn narrative. This rhetoric lasted four years, but notably increased in intensity over the 2017 election and stepping up a further gear over the 2019 campaign. It is proposed that the hostility towards Labour and in particular Jeremy Corbyn doubled from the 2017 to the 2019 election.

Corbyn bias 2

Positive/negative items published in the print media five weeks prior to the 2019 election. For clarity Labour is in red, Conservatives are in Blue.

The final week in the run up to the election saw the onslaught against Labour become steadily more vicious, in contrast coverage towards the Tories became friendlier over the same period. Among the highest circulating newspapers namely the, Sun, Telegraph and the Daily Mail the gloves were off, as these outlets effectively became the propaganda wing of the Conservative Party. In a study by Loughborough University it was clearly noted that more space was given to Johnson’s pre election proposals than Corbyn’s in the week before the election. With of course, most of the media coverage focusing on Brexit.

To get a taste of the savagery towards Corbyn, here’s a list of some of the most ridiculous claims levelled at Jeremy Corbyn over this 4 year period, all of which were completely unfounded. Of course, in this world the truth is irrelevant only the result matters. The original propaganda pieces are linked to subject matter.

  1. Corbyn met a Czech communist spy during the cold war.
  2. Corbyn is a Marxist extremist intent on bankrupting Britain.
  3. Corbyn is a terrorist sympathiser.
  4. Corbyn thinks the death of Osama Bin Laden was a tragedy.
  5. Corbyn wants Britain to abolish its Army (see below)
  6. Corbyn is an IRA supporter.

Sun lies

This coordinated campaign worked exceptionally well. To reaffirm this success, all that would be required is engagement with someone who is anti Corbyn, ask them why and then listen to them repeat the faux headlines from one or more of these listed publications. One of the most damaging themes seized upon by the print media across the entire spectrum of the mainstream media, was that Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party were anti-Semitic. The primary problem with this smear was many of these baseless accusations came from the identarian left paper, The Guardian. In the link you’ll find 105 articles from the Guardian that they ran against Corbyn on the subject of anti-Semitism up to 2019.

This narrative was broadly constructed on two fronts. The first stemmed from the Labour Party’s refusal to accept a definition of anti-Semitism proposed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Secondly there was a perception from anti-Corbyn Labour members that the party was too slow to condemn and punish anti-Semitic acts, while suggesting there was a general increase in anti-Semitism within Labour.

In response to the first issue, in 2016 the Labour party accepted in full the definition of anti-Semitism as proposed. What Labour adopted was the text in the box (see below), but not all the examples that followed. This approach was supported by leading high court lawyers who suggested that, accepting the entire ‘package’, which regularly conflates the criticism of anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism, could have a profound effect on any criticism of Israel and on free speech in general.

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

Accusations of anti-Semitism levelled at the Labour Party coincided with a Corbyn led shift to the left and an increase in scrutiny of Israel. In truth, Labour has exceptionally low levels of anti-Semitism. Out of the 228 MP’s as of 2016, one had been suspected and suspended for anti-Semitism, equating to 0.4% of all Labour MP’s. Among the 7000 councillors 0.07% had been suspended and of the 388,000 members (2016), 0.012% were suspended. A 2017 survey found that the Labour Party were unsurprisingly less likely to hold anti-Semitic views than both the Conservative Party and UKIP.

I think it’s fair to surmise that suggestions of an anti-Semitic tidal wave within the Labour Party were purely a political creation devised by Corbyn’s detractors. It has been pointed out that the media coverage regarding this subject lacked both context and perspective, often relying on a handful of Corbyn’s critics to paint a particular picture. This was accomplished without declaring their political motivations or any balance seeking initiatives from the media. One such agent was Margaret Hodge, who accused Corbyn of being a fascist, while Ms Hodge has a history of appropriating fascist language for political gain. There is no doubt that this was all part of the continued attempt to discredit Corbyn.

Moving away from the print media, the BBC also played a significant role in protecting the establishment from a left wing shift. The BBC used a multitude of methods to present the Conservatives in a far better light than what was deserved during the lead up to the election. So lets looks into these purposeful decisions by the BBC to maintain the establishment. Firstly, on Remembrance Day 2019, the BBC replaced a clip of Boris Johnson’s chaotic laying of a wreath (upside down), with a smarter more polished performance going back to 2016. This was shown on the BBC’s Breakfast programme the next morning.

A further cover up occurred during the leaders Question Time programme. This occurred when the BBC edited audience laughter following a question, asking Johnson if he believed it was “important that he told the truth”, instead using audio that contained only applause. Throughout the election build up, it had been noted that Laura Kuenssberg the BBC political editor had become increasingly more reliant on obtaining private briefings from Boris Johnson’s Chief Political Strategist Dominic Cummings. In addition to this, when the Prime Minister was caught in front of the press at a hospital while being quizzed by an anxious father over his sick daughter, Kuenssberg came to the rescue, rapidly discrediting the father, tweeting that he was a Labour activist.

kuenssberg

Kuenssberg continued to distribute lies even in the final few days before the election. Following Boris Johnson’s awkward incident at a hospital in Leeds, whereby, he refused to look at a photo of sick child on a makeshift bed of coats and pocketed the phone off the reporter. Alas, Kuenssberg again was on hand to distract the public. She was quick to circulate falsely, that an advisor to Health Secretary Matt Hancock had been punched by a Labour supporter. While two days later on the 11th, she sent a tweet suggesting that postal votes appeared to be favouring the Tories, even though counting the votes at opening and commenting on them is forbidden. However, the BBC covered this up by removing any evidence of Kuenssberg’s statements.

Of course the bias within the BBC is much more than Laura Kuenssberg. Andrew Neil’s twitter feed was constantly spewing out retweets from the Sun and the Spectator, the latter being a right wing publication of which he is on the board. So why does the BBC seem to naturally protect the Conservative Party? One theory is that there is a revolving door between the BBC and the Tories. It is well known that senior political journalists at the BBC have regularly gone on to work for Tory government’s and visa versa .

So lets looks at some of these characters, starting with Nick Robinson. Mr Robinson is an ex political editor at the BBC, who now presents the Today programme and is a former president of the Oxford University’s Conservative Association. James Harding who was director of news until 2018 is the former editor of The Times, while the TV political presenter Andrew Neil briefly worked for the Tories, but made his name within the Murdoch empire. Robbie Gibb a former editor on Neil’s Daily Politics show went on to work for Theresa May in 2017, incidentally he is the brother of Tory Minister Nick Gibb. Meanwhile, former Conservative Ministers Chris Grayling and Michael Gove are also ex BBC employees.

Of course, Labour politicians have also gone back and forth between the BBC and politics, but rarely do people from the political left occupy senior editorial positions. These places are generally reserved for white, upper-middle class Oxbridge types, who end up becoming decision makers at the BBC. If nothing else, this revolving door must raise serious questions regarding the BBC’s ability to hold the government to account or to even to understand anything outside of the world of formal politics, hence their continual confusion around Corbyn’s popularity.

This article of course wouldn’t be complete without looking at the effects of social media. It is widely thought that rather than a coordinated strategy on social media, the Tories won the battle on the internet primarily due to older Tory voters willing to engage in political activism by posting blatant lies. To exemplify this we must return to the Leeds Royal Infirmary incident, where many right wing keyboard warriors chose to smear the family of the sick boy on the floor by suggesting it was staged. This shameless attack was then shared by other like minded individuals, who desperately wanted this to be true in order to justify their own ideology.

The Tory social media strategy was simple, pick a few lines about Labour, regardless of their validity and repeat it continuously on every platform available. Their second tactic was to make up a Labour policy, add a random price tag and then concoct a tax policy that they proclaimed will be used to pay for it and then post it to as many people as possible. Of course, none of this required any truth just a wild imagination, simple repetition, a lack of moral integrity and a rudimentary grasp of a laptop was all that was required.

It is pretty easy to surmise that the truth or morals are not a top priority for the Tories, But this was particularly evident when prior to the recent election it was reported that 88% of all Conservative Party Facebook ads were misleading or simply a lie. This compares to the Labour Party, whereby, zero ads paid for by Labour were considered misleading.

Out of 6,749 paid for by the Tories during a four day period over 5,000 claimed that they would build 40 new hospitals. This was considered bogus, as there had been no costings performed for 40 hospitals. Furthermore, the Tories had only allocated funding for upgrades on 6 hospitals by 2025 and upgrades on a further 38 hospitals between 2025-2030. At no point had there been any mention of constructing 40 new hospitals within this information.

40newhospitals

A second big lie which was found in 500 paid ads, consisted of the Tories pledging to create 50,000 new nursing jobs, however, 18,500 of these included in the total were existing nurses. A final example of this misinformation campaign was the misleading and inaccurate claims regarding Jeremy Corbyn’s tax plans, which featured in 4,000 ads circulated at the beginning of December. Notably, all of these above ‘porkies’ were discovered by First Draft, a non profit organisation created to debunk fakes news.

What is undeniable throughout the lead up to the last election is the establishment be it print media, TV or social media, made a concerted effort to undermine the result of the election. This ranged from a four year campaign to discredit Jeremy Corbyn in the traditional print media, to a covering up of Boris Johnson’s many inadequacies by the BBC, all the way through to right wing wannabee activists making up lies as they go. Evidently, this combination of activities proved to have a devastating effect on Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party and the eventual result.

The whole campaign has been propaganda masterclass by the Tories. Much of this is straight out Edward Bernays’s and Walter Lippman’s playbook as described by Noam Chomsky in his 1988 book Manufacturing Consent. But, as it stated on the 90’s TV show the X Files, “the truth is out there”, only now we will have to work much harder to uncover it.

 

 

Psychopathic billionaires: A danger to the planet and everything on it.

Many people intuitively feel that billionaires are out of touch with reality, some going as far as to declare they are psychopathic. In 2010 it was announced that executives including CEO’s were made up of three times as many psychopaths than the general population, which is said to be 1%. However, recent data indicates that this number could be much greater, with a figure closer to 20% suggested. Coincidentally, this is a similar percentage of psychopaths that generally can be found in the prison system. Many billionaires should have been prosecuted for destroying the economy in 2008, however, this group continue to shape society by moulding government to suit their personal desires.

Reportedly, billionaires and psychopaths share certain personality traits. Firstly, the rich show less empathy than the average person. A 2008 study revealed that the wealthy presented less compassion and attentiveness than their less affluent counterparts. This was observed when rich and poor strangers were paired together sharing life changing moments, such as a death of a loved one or a divorce.

Social psychologists indicate that human beings establish connections with people who are considered to have the most value. The less well off tend to place a great deal of emphasis on social connections and will generally listen more to others. In contrast, those with reduced material value or power matter little to the well-heeled and neither do sincere emotional connections. This disconnect can lead to damaging societal issues within a population.

Another documented trait of psychopathy is egotism. Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman conducted a study of 25 wealth advisers over 8 years and found that their proclaimed success was a total illusion. Kahneman offers that despite these people perceiving themselves as recipients of superior skills, it was discovered that the biggest factor for any success within the finance sector was luck. The rich and powerful regularly claim that they prosper due to exceptional vision, judgment and management skills, but these bold assertions appear to be a fallacy. Kahneman describes this as the “illusion of skill”.

Furthermore, when a group of 39 British business managers and executives were tested for psychological traits, it was found that this group scored similarly to convicts. Some scoring even higher for traits such as; flattery, manipulation, a strong sense of entitlement, a willingness to exploit people and a lack of conscience. Research psychologist Dr Kevin Dutton at Oxford University developed a scale based on traits such as; fearless dominance, self centred impulsivity and cold-heartedness to ascertain potential psychopathy.

Dutton used this scale to analyse past and present leaders. His criteria suggests that scores above 155 and 139.5 for men and women respectively indicates psychopathy. Interestingly, Donald Trump registered 171 using this system. It’s important, however, to put this into context, noting that Dutton has never examined Trump in person, moreover, he is not the only President of the US to display psychopathic traits. Dutton expanded on these results proposing that psychopathic features can help advance those in areas such as politics, business and banking, making tough decisions easier to make due to a lack of empathy.

Business Leaders Gather For B20 Summit In Sydney

Despite superficial charm and charisma, psychopaths generally show little remorse regarding how their actions may affect people. In fact, this group often blame others for any negative outcomes that result from their behaviour, while attributing any successes to their superior ability. Despite traits witnessed in psychopathy such as, ruthlessness and dissociative behaviour being viewed negatively in daily life, within the corporate sphere they are very much in demand. It’s not too outlandish to assert that some psychopaths do actually derive joy from manipulating other, rather than feelings of guilt or regret that the vast bulk of people would exhibit.

Contrary to the stories we are told regarding the generosity of the wealthy, professor of social psychology Paul Piff discovered that a person’s generosity increased as social economic status fell. Throughout his studies people in the lower classes of society felt a need donate a greater portion of their wage to charity at an average of 5.5%, compared to upper class participants who considered 2.1% as a reasonable amount. Piff also noticed that lower class participants displayed much greater spontaneous compassion, in contrast, the rich often needed prompting to show these emotions. Piff proposes that greater resources, freedom, plus independence fosters self-focused and social-cognitive tendencies that imply the rich are more likely to display unethical behaviours.

Piff has investigated this phenomenon in a variety ways. In one experiment he concluded that somebody driving an expensive car was more likely to cut in front of other vehicles on a 4 way highway. Further probes into this behaviour also discovered that drivers in what could be perceived as more prestigious vehicles were increasingly likely to drive over a pedestrian walkway instead of stopping for a waiting pedestrian. This incidentally is in violation of the Californian Vehicle Code and reinforces Piff’s unethical behaviour hypothesis.

Delving deeper into this phenomenon, in a separate study researchers used a jar of individually wrapped candy, which was said to be for the children participating in another activity. Even though it was stated that people partaking in Piff’s study were free to take some, it was clearly noted that upper class people took more candy than lower class participants, which ultimately meant less for the children.

These are just a few examples of studies that have been conducted within this field. So, with all this information in mind the question must be asked; why do we even listen to billionaires? In the US the ‘American dream’ revolves around the idea that if you work hard you can achieve anything. This fable suggests that the US is a meritocracy, a myth many Americans still wholeheartedly believe exists. Using this ‘logic’, however, it implies that billionaires must be the smartest and hardest working people on the planet. But is there really any truth to this?

I guess this brings us to the central question, do we actually need billionaires, what value do they add to society and should they even exist? Stephanie Kelton former advisor to Bernie Sanders argues, “you don’t make a billion dollars, you take a billion dollars. You take it from your workers. You plunder it from the environment and you strip it using patents and protections”. All over the globe there are billionaires with several homes to their name, while others sleep on the streets. Although billionaire parasites living in Manhattan apartment blocks are often far less moral than their bench dwelling fellow human beings, they are regularly held up as examples of excellence, by a system that only measures the bottom line.

What all this indicates is, we are witnessing a widespread catastrophic ethical and moral failure driven by unbridled capitalism. People are on the whole are treated vastly different according to their power and ultimately the amount of money they possess. The fact that we even question the validity and the need for billionaires is a sad indictment of how western society has become so accustomed to massive economic inequality.                                                 CEO to ave worker ratio

The above graphic details the enormous disparities regarding pay around the world. Massive inequality exists within every country throughout the ‘anglosphere’ and in most of Western Europe. It is vital to understand that extreme inequality destroys the very fabric of society. To accommodate the rich and powerful who fight to maintain the status quo, we have been led to believe that selfishness, greed, individualism and hyper-competitiveness are good traits. But these are attributes of a psychopath or a narcissist, often displayed by the very types of people heading some of our most important institutions.

In contrast to bogus theories such as homo economicus banded about by capitalist economists such as Milton Freidman and Friedrich Hayek or wackos such as Ayn Rand, it has been postulated that we succeed as a whole when we work together. Scientists posit that we have innate cooperative instincts, developed over hundreds of thousands of years, working and living in highly cohesive groups. Cooperation has proved to be the best way of surviving, while supressing individual greed and self centeredness. It has been offered in contrast to the neoliberal narrative, that to deny this way of being is to disrupt human nature.

Substantial levels of inequality changes the way people interact with each other. In Europe, studies have demonstrated that countries with larger levels of economic inequality are less likely to help each other. These societies have also shown less engagement with social and civil activities, including lower voter turnout. It has also been strongly proposed that unequal societies are associated with reduced levels of trust. The mechanism involved surmises that as inequality increases so does the social distance between members of society, thus manufacturing a belief that the haves and have nots are almost a different species.

This weakening of societal bonds leads to mistrust, an inability to form relationships, which is ultimately linked to an increase in crime, homicides and worsening health. The suggestion is, that these societies lack the capacity to prevent violence through the construction of safer communities. It has been postulated that an encouragement of social competition, can promote violence, primarily because an unequal society cultivates feelings of hopelessness, while inciting fear. These emotions can manifest as thoughts of inferiority, contributing to people being less inclined to behave in a socially acceptable manner.

All this begs the question, why do we listen to these psychopaths when it comes to ideas regarding how to run society? They are no more qualified than you or I, but we have been brainwashed to value the ability to make money so highly that we equate it not only with success, but enlightenment. This very small privileged group of people continue to persuade others on how the world should function (for example at Davos), simply to shape the world thus accruing more money and power. Their billions create movements such as climate change denial groups, while extolling the virtues of low taxation and limited banking regulations. These actions as we have witnessed help nobody, apart from themselves and their psychopathic buddies.                                                                                                                                                      Bill Gates

Billionaire’s are not your friends, or a fountain of wisdom, or even someone who should have a profound influence on how society is constructed. These individuals only ever care about themselves, while assuring everyone that this is how humanity naturally operates. The stinking rich proclaim they are simply infinitely superior at the very game they promote, conveniently forgetting any cash they may have inherited or the thousands of dollars that have been thrown at their education.

We are repeatedly encouraged to play this game, one which most of us can’t possibly win. All the while, being told that their success is built purely on hard word, effectively insinuating that the vast majority of the global populace are failures. It’s time we changed this false idea by working together to make this a better place for the most amount of people. While we remain fragmented and hung up on relatively trivial issues such as Brexit (in the UK), or pointless impeachment processes (US), psychopaths will continue to win big, meanwhile, the planet and all who inhabit it will lose out to this tiny group of lunatics.

 

Just like that: How the Tory magic trick was done.

In the aftermath of the UK election, the Labour Party have now started to rip themselves apart. With centrists crawling out the woodwork to reclaim the party apparatus, while political vultures pick over the still warm carcass. Many have used this election result to discredit any ideas of socialism in the near future and indeed this result may have sent shockwaves down the left side of the political divide. But to focus purely on this, would simply be sidestepping what actually occurred on Thursday the 12th December 2019.

There are clearly two distinct themes that are emerging; firstly Corbyn was deemed not trustworthy by much of the public and secondly people were totally consumed by Brexit. So the question must be asked; how did a party with one of the most progressive manifestos since WWII get so soundly beaten. I’m sure lots of people will suggest that between 2017 and 2019 Corbyn took a wrong turn regarding Brexit. This was seen in many eyes as a major change of position from supporting the outcome of the referendum, to one of fence sitting. Although, this may well be true, it also misses a key point. A better question would be, how did Brexit become so emotive, to the extent that people voted for this over well funded health care, education and public services.

Rationally this makes no sense at all, the idea that people would vote against their own best interests is hard to fathom, but this in effect is what has occurred. There lies a crucial part of the problem, Labour’s campaign was built on logic, whereas, the Tories tapped into people’s emotions. All the Conservatives had to offer was a slogan “Get Brexit Done”, no tangible policies, just 3 simple words. Clearly, this was enough to mobilise the masses who have been thoroughly convinced that this will solve the bulk of their problems.

knobhead

When encountering a potential Tory voter on social media or even in person it is noticeable that there is a distinct lack of critical thinking involved during any discussion. You are repeatedly hit with a barrage of short phrases which are very tabloidesque, such as; “we need our country back”, “it’s because of free movement” or “Corbyn’s a traitor”. If this fails, you are often told to shut up and respect their point of view, no debate just blind obedience. It rapidly became apparent that, the more Corbyn supporters hit back with stats, academic papers and 9 years of historical proof the more entrenched opposing views became.

Simply put, you cannot combat tribal inspired politics, driven by emotion with logic or reason. This has been recognised for over 100 years, starting with people such as, Edward Bernays and Walter Lippman, two of the main founders of propaganda. Their job was to elicit an emotional response for a particular goal to aid the ruling elite. Noam Chomsky described it as manufacturing consent in his 1988 book and this is exactly what occurred last week. The Tory campaign understood the importance of this much more than Labour. They quickly realised that Brexit was a powerful tool and had split the nation by more than geography, political party, education and class. This was an extra tear in the fabric of society that an unpopular and desperate government could utilise.

Brexit has dragged on for 3 years. If the government wanted to “Get Brexit Done” they could have, but they didn’t. They used this anger towards a lack of movement on Brexit as political capital, a situation which they had themselves created to fuel leave voters. Once Corbyn had decided to take the Labour party away from supporting Brexit in an effort to unite the people, the trap was set. The Tories had in effect created a huge tribe with one unifying goal, that was to leave the EU and nothing else mattered. This sentiment was cultivated by the Tories using the politics of fear, which was considered by the Athenians centuries ago as one of the three strongest motives for action.

A narrative needed to be created to invoke a sense of being under siege. This can be demonstrated by people who casually suggest that immigrants have taken their jobs, or that their presence in the UK has lowered wages for UK born citizens. None of this is true, as many academics have documented, but this didn’t matter for this election, it was the reaction of the people that was important, for the political right. The working class in many former industrial areas had a bogeyman to fight, created by the very people who had caused the problems, the neoliberals. Now this tribe felt they had an enemy whom they could vent their fury at, that being; the EU, people who supported it and immigrants.

The ruling elite diligently manufactured the consent of many of the working class, all to maintain the status quo. This is an establishment made up of billionaires and millionaires, with the resources to construct a sustained campaign to both create an illusion and discredit any opposition. Billionaires almost entirely own the media in the UK, while the BBC have generally colluded with any government narrative throughout this current Tory stranglehold. Noam Chomsky talks about the 5 filters of mass media; here’s a short film to explain this. As a bit of fun, try and pick out how many of these strategies you think were being used by the Tories and the media during the lead up to the election.

These methods of course are not unique to one political side or another, but the Conservatives this time around utilised these techniques extremely effectively, while Labour attempted to communicate with the electorate using facts. The result ultimately was a landslide. Once the right wing created fear among the populace, they miraculously found a cure and that was Boris Johnson. Johnson is a right wing populist, this type of a politician tends to use rhetoric around restoring order be it, fighting crime, preserving a particular culture or as in this case “getting the country back”.

There is now reasonable evidence to propose that populism thrives when people feel a lack of political power or control, that life is unfair and at times when they feel they are not getting what they deserve. But for populism to work it requires two opposing factions, this was already established in the form of leave and remain voters. Opposing views and the formation of identities can occur rapidly in the age of social media, as people connect often with others they agree with, creating an echo chamber.

The curious thing about Johnson is, populist candidates generally portray their campaign as a fight against the establishment. However, Boris Johnson is a member of the establishment, he therefore, had to reframe the terms of reference. Firstly, he labelled the EU as a cruel regime, oppressing the people of Britain. This manoeuvre allowed him to position himself in direct opposition and declare himself as a heroic figure rescuing the nation from the tyranny of Brussels.

A further necessary component of this magic trick was to portray Jeremy Corbyn as a danger to society, a traitor and untrustworthy. Not only was this done by an eager mainstream media, but this image was further embellished by centrists within his own party. Daily lies about the Labour Party’s unfounded anti-Semitism, his baseless links with the IRA or any other terror groups has been ceaseless over a four year period. The media used their considerable power to wage the biggest campaign of persecution against a politician in recent memory. The reasoning was simple, at the time Corbyn was a huge threat to the elite and this had to be prevented at all costs.

Now the dust is starting to settle, the country is left with Johnson at the helm. He is an unlikely people’s champion, an Etonian who is related to half the royal families in Europe. Not only is he an improbable hero, he patently isn’t the saviour of the working class. Johnson’s remit was to motivate enough people in order to keep him and the Tories in power. Brexit was merely the vehicle for which to achieve this. The new Prime Minister will not be leading the people into any mythical promised land, rather they will be led like lemmings off the end of a cliff. The population of the nation now have more austerity, economic inequality, privatisation of the NHS and ever deteriorating public services to look forward to, led by a right wing, elitist, populist.

And “just like that“, the trick was done.

Britain dutifully bows down to the ruling elite.

Congratulations to the people of ‘Great’ Britain for voting the ruling elite into power yet again. You certainly do know your place. Now they have a mandate to treat people with disdain and contempt, for the next five years. I always thought people in the US were dumb, but there is a new kid on the block vying for the title. How can a party offering no credible policies, with a history of inflicting misery on millions, with a leader who hides in a fridge when things get mildly difficult remain in power. I could glibly say you get what you deserve, but that would be grossly unfair to the millions who can see through this charade of thinly veiled fascism.

It would appear that many people from where I grew up in the north have had a lobotomy, believing all that the billionaire controlled media had to say pre-election, because surely they wouldn’t lie to the peasants. Would they? Or is it Brexit that swayed them? Now that you have your country back, so you say, is it suddenly going to become compulsory to sing “Ing…….err…….land” at nauseatingly high volumes while consuming copious amounts of beer? Is having a tattoo of a bulldog on your arse from the age of 10, going to be a new kind of branding?

hooligan

Well done, you are now free, from what, I’m not entirely sure. The Conservatives will continue destroying workers rights at a frenzied pace. Expect full steam ahead with zero hour contracts, bogus self-employment, underemployment, all topped off with an ever eroding safety net. So when the walls come tumbling down following a job loss, nothing will exist to help you out of the mess. Well done, you must be very proud. “But we’ve got our country back”, you may cry. Have you, have you really?

The result would suggest that large portions of the populace have little capacity to critically think. “But we’ve got our country back” I hear once more. “But clearly not the NHS for much longer” I reply. I’m sure some will complain that I’m calling people stupid for their political beliefs. To clarify this, yes, that’s exactly what I am doing. If only some of these individuals could have put their crayons down or possibly read a book without pictures at least once in their lives, maybe things might have turned out differently.

In contrast to the US, where they were voting for change, regardless of what that looked like, it was ultimately a vote against the establishment, albeit misguided. Conversely, the UK have voted overwhelmingly for the establishment. I’m sure the Tories are delighted you all know your place in the societal pecking order. At the bottom, with a very expensive Oxford lace up shoe, made by peasants, kicking you repeatedly in the balls, while you ask for more. After 9 years of crippling cuts to public services, austerity, a decrease in wages and a health system which is about to be privatised, you still voted for a Conservative government. Amazing!!! But not in a good way.

Admittedly, the ruling elite’s propaganda machine has been running on all cylinders and it’s clearly worked like a dream. In contrast, vast swathes of people are about to enter a dystopian nightmare, orchestrated by people who just couldn’t care about you any less. Put a fork in the UK, it’s done! Scotland will rightly feck off into the sunset, as England will be led by a man who can barely form a coherent sentence. Supported by a cabinet who know nothing outside of their privileged, privately educated, corporate run universe from which they rarely venture out of.

BRITAIN-POLITICS-CONSERVATIVES

You could have made it more difficult for the establishment, a glimmer of resistance protecting yourself from the bombardment of excrement raining down from billionaire penthouses would have been nice. Maybe more people could have searched behind the headlines of the Sun and the Mail to dig a little for the truth. Instead the population by in large responded to a hollow slogan, “Get Brexit Done”. At which point you ran in like a little puppy dog hoping your master would tickle your tummy. Instead of fighting for something better, you gave up, handing the nation to psychopaths, billionaires, millionaires and right wing ideologues.

The establishment will be laughing their collective cocks off, sat in their private London clubs drinking brandy and smoking cigars. Patting each other on their backs for getting the working class plebs to vote for the abstract construct of Brexit, over real issues such as; healthcare, education, public services and increasing poverty. The people of Leigh, Bolsover, Blyth Valley, and Durham among others should be disgusted with themselves, scoring an own goal of monumental proportions.

You had a chance to elect a decent man, who has fought for peace and fairness all his life, who wanted a better place for everyone. But you blew it Britain. Now you will have to live with the consequences, while explaining to your children and grandchildren what you did on that fateful day in December 2019. My sincere condolences for those who chose wisely, who could see behind the slurs and right wing bile. Good luck in the future, I suspect you will need it.

The Conservative party: For the rich, selfish and naïve.

If you are stinking rich and you don’t give a shit about anybody else, then the Tories is the perfect party for you. In short, they are a bunch of pompous, entitled, unempathic bastards, who I would suggest reflect a large proportion of the people who generally vote for them. You would have to be very well off and/or a self-obsessed moron to think voting for Boris Johnson would be the smart thing to do. As a disclaimer, if you are expecting to read something measured, balanced, with lashings of cold hard facts (although they do appear later on), look away now, as this piece will be unashamedly biased.

For the last few weeks I have tried to get into the minds of people, particularly the working class in an effort to discover why those who have very little would vote Tory. My basic advice at this stage would be to read some information regarding what each party is proposing. However, this is relatively simple to summarise, the Conservatives are offering zero and the Labour Party is attempting to make life better for as many people as possible. So put down the Sun or The Daily Mail spouting some bollocks or other about Corbyn being anti-Semitic and investigate what each party actually wants to achieve. What you should discover is unless you are a millionaire or billionaire, or possibly someone who is dealing with unresolved self hatred, voting Tory is not going to help your cause.

You may be angry about Brexit, your family could be lifelong Tory voters, you might even believe all that the Daily Mail has to offer, such as; Corbyn is a terrorist sympathiser, an IRA member, an Anti-Semite, a Russian spy, a traitor or an evil road hogging cyclist. However, non of this rubbish is going to help you to make a rational decision on the 12th of December. All that this will ultimately uncover is that you have been duped by a multi billion pound propaganda machine, that will throw as much money at this election as required to maintain the status quo. You could erroneously be thinking that a Boris Johnson led Conservative Party is ideally suited to “Get Brexit Done” as their pithy slogan implies. My question would be, what have they being doing for the past 3 and a half years? After all, they are currently in government.

jc bike
Jeremy on his mean machine

It’s abundantly obvious what the Tories have done, they have systematically run the country down by using the discredited theory of austerity to supposedly ‘balance the books’. Cunningly the middle class have been coerced into blaming the working class, as shown by their reaction to Brexit and their collective arrogance towards people who chose to leave. Meanwhile, Johnson and Farage have conned the working class into thinking the primary problem is those ‘bloody immigrants’ and that leaving the EU will solve all of their problems. The real culprits of course are the very people who have created this web of illusion and ultimately distraction. This consists of a powerful amalgam of corporate interests plus a right wing government with little concern regarding the wellbeing of its inhabitants.

The Tories has presided over nasty vindictive policies for almost a decade, chiefly designed to penalise the most vulnerable and powerless in society. I have provided a little taster regarding the effects of some of these policies. To start with, there is a general misconception that right wing parties are better for the economy, this is a shameless lie unless of course you are rich. Since 2010 the Conservatives have increased the national debt from £850bn to £2.27tn and counting. Across the country four million kids live in poverty, the number of rough sleepers has increased nationwide by 165% since 2010, while food bank use in the last 5 years is up 73%. Furthermore, the pound is worth approximately 15% less against both the Euro and the US dollar. Economic experts? Maybe not.

On observing employment or the lack of, the OECD calculates that there are about 3 million hidden unemployed people, which works out to be 13.2%. Shockingly, 10 million workers are in insecure employment such as; zero hours contracts, underemployment or false self-employment. Additionally, it’s estimated that 80% of the 5.3 million self-employed workers now live below the poverty line, with workers in general still £13 worse off than 2007. The Conservatives have also been guilty of utilising cruel benefit sanctions and millions have been left with no funds through the Universal Credit system.

In the public domain, government and council departments have been slashed by 25-30%, with half the councils close to bankruptcy. There are 20,600 less police officers, 7,000 fewer prison officers, plus 11,000 firefighters nationwide have been cut. The NHS has 43,000 unfilled nursing posts, which has been compounded by the abolishment of student nursing bursaries. There are also 10,000 fewer medical professionals and a loss of 5 million bed spaces per year. The NHS has persistently been the target of increased privatisation and this is expected to spiral following Brexit, as US corporations will be invited to pick over the carcass.

Grenfell tower

Sadly, I could ramble on for another ten paragraphs regarding callous Tory policies, but hopefully by now you get the point. The Conservatives are offering nothing that would benefit the vast majority of people, in fairness they have had 9 years to do something vaguely positive. I suppose in all honesty they have fulfilled plenty of their objectives for example, systematically destroying peoples lives up and down the country, at the same time as enriching those privileged few. With a victory this week, the Tories will steer more assuredly towards the far right, as the inappropriately named moderates have largely been cast aside. In affect, all the Tory government will provide under Johnson is further disdain, contempt and hatred of the working class.

Cabinet Ministers Liz Truss and Priti Patel described British workers as “the worst idlers in the world“. Dominic Raab has suggested that British employment legislation is a “straitjacket” for the economy. Good old Boris Johnson has previously advocated for charges within the NHS, while Dominic Raab and Michael Gove have both expressed their desire to privatise it. The Conservative’s unimaginative motto is “get Brexit done”, a win on Thursday and the misery will continue unabated, with basic human rights and environmental protections high on their hit list. So, if you happen to be working class and are thinking of voting for the Conservatives, it’s time to stop this masochistic behaviour and do yourself a favour by choosing Labour.

Operation ‘Destroy Corbyn’: A political ‘hit’ on the Labour leader.

It’s simple, the ruling elite cannot allow Jeremy Corbyn into number 10, ever. The Labour leader plans to change life indefinitely for the rich and the powerful. Those sorts, who use their money to secure power, to alter the government machinery to obtain further riches and yet more power are exceptionally frightened. As a result, every mechanism at their disposal is being utilised to prevent any chance of discernible change. Jeremy Corbyn is not fighting the Conservative Party as such, he is taking on the entire neoliberal system and this battle extends way beyond the shores of the UK. Do you really think Donald Trump would be in the least bit enamoured with a Corbyn government?

Labour’s 2019 manifesto has made it abundantly clear that they aim to shift power away from the rich, ensuring more people benefit from government policy. This manifesto has been described as ‘radical’, but to me it just makes total sense. It’s blatantly obvious that these proposals would work well for the vast majority of people, not everyone obviously, but most. Here is a summary of the themes within this document.

  • Renationalising public services.
  • An end to zero hour contracts, universal credit and an increase to 10 quid an hour living wage.
  • Integrating a ‘Green Revolution’ with the economy.
  • Increased workers rights.
  • Control of the education system, with a new National Education Service.
  • The end of NHS privatisation and substantial funding .
  • A clamp down on bankers, tax dodging billionaires, unscrupulous landlords, media tycoons and corporations who pay next to nothing in tax.
  • Only people earning above 80,000 will pay more tax to fund this.

This is just big picture stuff, of course there is much more detail underpinning these proposals. Labour’s main ideas are simple; to improve public services, increase NHS funding, make education work for all, an end to penalising the poor, a commitment to workers rights and effective taxation of the rich. Despite this attempt to roll back unbridled capitalism, some citizens, and not just the wealthy, will vote conservative on December the 12th. If we are looking purely at which party is offering the most beneficial policies for the good of the country, then the choice is relatively simple. However, if we consider this through the lens of our political and social times, such as the easy dissemination of fake news via the internet, things begin to appear murkier and this is completely by design.

Most recently the UK’s political landscape has been shaped dramatically by Brexit. It has dominated political discourse over the past few years and has served to fragment society. Further to this, the UK has suffered 40 years of neoliberalism, a destruction of society replaced by individualism, a value system based almost entirely on money, a mainstream media totally devoted to the ruling elite, capitalism or both, plus a establishment along with a government who gain enormously from the status quo. Within this context, we shouldn’t be remotely surprised that the establishment are using everything within their power to destroy Corbyn. Jeremy threatens all of this, as he plans to bring democracy back to the people and this scares the crap out of the powers that be. Never has a man been more persecuted for trying to make the UK a better place for the majority of people.

Corbyn has been subjected to baseless anti-Semitic slurs, not just from his political enemies, but from his own party. In the press, he’s been accused of being an IRA supporter, claimed to be a Russian stooge, a terrorist sympathiser, as well as labelled a traitor. Any dispassionate research leads to the same conclusion, there is no evidence to support any of these assertions. In July this year, the BBC even went so far as to broadcast a ‘documentary’ entitled, Is Labour Anti-Semitic. Anyone who saw this would have quickly recognised that the makers of Panorama started with the premise that Labour is anti-Semitic and worked back to justify their position. This provided no other purpose than to damage Jeremy Corbyn’s reputation.

Bogus anti Semitic slurs are levelled at Corbyn daily. They are grounded in zero evidence, devoid of fact, but are nethertheless deeply damaging. This campaign against him and the Labour Party doesn’t have to produce people who will vote for Boris Johnson, all that is required is to plant enough doubt in the minds of people to provoke apathy. This collective siege has been unleashed from all corners; party members and former party members such as Margaret Hodge and Luciana Berger. While other offensives have been conducted from so called celebrities such as Rachel Riley and certain figures among the Jewish community, with particular political interests, who proclaim to speak for the entire Jewish community (recently Rabbi Ephrain Mervis).

Rachel the liar Riley

Lets not forget of course that Israel in the form of ‘hasbara’ has been waging political war against Jeremy Corbyn for several years. This has been punctuated by false allegations, by among others an active anti-Palestinian Jewish Labour Movement. Led by characters such as Ella Rose and Adam Langelben, this campaign has been designed unquestionably to force Corbyn and his supporters out of prominent positions within the party. Unfortunately, Corbyn on occasions has made tactical errors, by conceding at times to the demands of these groups. Although, it’s hardly surprising considering the pressure he must be under. This assault has frequently been supported by a media outlet once considered a left leaning source, that of the Guardian, with journalists such as Jonathan Freedland sticking his boot in at varying opportunistic moments.

Contrary to these empty lies, recently departed Speaker of the House, Conservative MP and Jewish man John Bercow, clearly stated that Jeremy Corbyn is not Anti-Semitic, having known him for over 20 years. The political right unsurprisingly have taken a different method in which to sully Jeremy Corbyn. Jeremy Hunt, accused the Labour leader of being the new Hitler. In contrast, the Times suggested Corbyn was too frail, both physically and mentally to lead the nation. The same publication also printed an article from a British Army General who ensured that ‘direct action‘ would be taken if Corbyn was ever elected, declaring he was a threat to national security.

What we need to be aware of regarding the war against Corbyn is, the truth is inconsequential for his opponents and it is all just seen as another strategy to be utilised. What is vital, is the defence of the ruling elite and their way of life, at all costs. Truth, logic and the Enlightenment is slowly but surely ebbing away.  Replacing this is a newly manufactured era of subjectivity, emotion, distraction, lies and hyperbole. This onslaught against objectivity has the effect of keeping the populace confused, apathetic, off-balance, mistrustful and with no comprehension regarding what is a fact or indeed fiction.

Without any doubt this is intentional and a pre-requisite in order for power to remain in the hands of a relatively small, psychopathic, narcissistic, privileged group of people. I suggest that everyone who cares about the UK gets off their collective arses and vote Labour on December the 12th. The Conservatives are offering nothing that may improve the lives of people in any way, shape or form. In fact, their entire plan is solely centred around keeping their grubby hands on the reins of power. Voters just so happen to be the tools with which to achieve this, however, nothing of any good will be returned to them for their misguided loyalty.

 

 

Brexit: The saviour of capitalism.

An election is looming in the UK, on the 12th of December the nation will vote for a new leader of this beleaguered country. If you follow the polls, you may be thinking things are looking bleak for Labour, as many polls have the Conservatives in a sizeable lead. Of course, they could be way off, as they were in 2017, when Labour made significant headway. What amazes me is not that the Conservatives are reportedly doing better than Labour, but the question must be; how are they even close? Massive inequality, an NHS that’s steadily being sold off, poor public services, inconsistent education, increase usage of food banks, a growing homeless population and inertia when it comes to climate change, just to name a few issues. This should be a perfect time for a change Prime Minister of which Corbyn is well suited. So what’s happened? The answer is Brexit.

I’m not sure at the time if David Cameron, the Conservative Party or the right wing in general realised how much political capital would be gained by the charade that has become of leaving the EU. Before we go any further, I will just reaffirm my position on Brexit and it’s a simple one. It will be neoliberalism if the UK stay in Europe and it will be neoliberalism if you’re eating Corn Flakes having voted for the Conservative Party on the morning of the 13th of December. Nothing will change, well not for the better anyway. Everything will continue to get worse, only at a quicker pace because a majority of people will have voted for entitled, public school educated, upper class psychopaths, with a mandate to do as they wish.

This election has rather predictably been labelled a Brexit election, but this is merely a sideshow. There is much more going on in the UK that requires urgent action. Sadly Brexit has divided people like no other issue, blinding many to much more pressing matters that Brexit simply cannot and will not resolve. The UK is split on geographical lines, education, class, race, political party, climate change and of course the ‘B’ word. The political right know that when people are divided, apathetic, politically demoralised and voter turnout is low, they win and usually handsomely.

When people are united by the need for change, with a trust that this can be achieved through the democratic process and a general agreement of what it should look like, the population tends to move to the left. Much of the populist left does not possess much money or power, but when it works it is driven by the people, in vast numbers. Hence the beauty of Brexit. It adds yet another fissure to society, keeping people divided, bitter, angry, emotional and desperate. These factors lead to some working class people who have gained nothing from the system to vote for the very party who will maintain the status quo.

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The ruling elite are feeding off the anxiety and desolation of the working class, who have seen whole areas decimated and relieved of any trace of industry or prosperity. Huge swathes of this group show all the signs of ‘Stockholm Syndrome‘. This is a condition that is often displayed by abused people, prisoners of war and cult members. This occurs when people feel intense fear of physical harm and believe their captor is in total control. It is chiefly thought to be a survival response, which includes sympathy and support for their captor’s plight and can even display manifestations of negative feelings towards people who are trying to help (in this case Labour and Jeremy Corbyn).

A large proportion of this magic trick is performed by the ruling elite, providing disgruntled citizens a common enemy, while proposing a solution to end their pain. Primarily, but not exclusively regarding Brexit this particular ‘patsy’ is immigration. The powers that be, along with a complicit mainstream media have created immigration as a major issue. It has been suggested that immigrants are stealing jobs or reducing wages within the UK.

All this despite academic research suggesting that this is a false narrative, but the myth persists, as any dissenting voice is simply discarded as propaganda, both from the left and the right dependent on which side of the Brexit fence you sit on. Many people will vehemently declare they are not racist and I’m sure they are generally sincere with these admissions. However, the process of immigration involves of course people from varying countries and cultures and without any compelling evidence to support the immigration theory, lets just say, it doesn’t look good.

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Many people who move to the UK are there because the nation requires their skills, particularly in the NHS. Regarding EU immigrants, a paper by the London School of Economics suggests that they are generally more educated, younger and less likely to claim benefits than people born in the UK. Approximately 44% of this population have some form of higher education as opposed to 23% of those born in the UK. With regards to taking jobs, immigrants also consume goods and services, therefore, potentially creating more employment opportunities. Evidence has shown that in areas with the most amount EU immigration the situation has not resulted in major job losses or a reduction in pay for UK born workers. Most major economic repercussions resulted from the rich playing roulette with other peoples’ money, pre and post 2008.

So on the face of it, the immigration scapegoat holds little water, but we shouldn’t let a good yarn obscure the facts, because after all the ruling elite have a solution for all this. This of course is Brexit, on waking up post election, plus Brexit shortly after, the UK will be free to make their own decisions and to screw up the country as they see fit. They will be free to continue with the privatisation of the NHS, free to penalise the poor and free to allow corporate CEO’s, ex Prime Minsters, celebrities and other undesirables to hide their money in British Overseas Territories via trusts. All this freedom must be intoxicating for some people, but not necessarily for anyone you or I know. The idea that Brexit will cure all our ills is a fantasy, but it continues to fragment the people and for that the Conservatives must be eternally grateful.

Won’t get fooled again? The Brexit sideshow that could distract the UK from real change.

The people of the UK go to the polls on December the 12th bitterly divided by class, geographical differences, education, economics, race, culture and of course Brexit. Forty years of unbridled capitalism and now we have working class people supporting an Etonian, upper class Conservative Party and a metropolitan, middle class, Eurocentric group who may vote Labour (or Liberal Democrat), but hate their leader. Among this, there is still a very sizeable group who see Jeremy Corbyn’s politics of anti-austerity, pro people and fervently against the ruling self-serving elite as a way out of this neoliberal hell.

You would like to think it would be intuitive for people who have very little and have witnessed their town or city obliterated, while being turned into a giant Amazon warehouse to vote for someone who opposes this. Alas not. It is also difficult to imagine people voting against someone whose aim is to directly fund the NHS, thus providing better and cheaper services. In contrast to the Conservative’s who plan to expand the external market for exploitation by massive corporations. Sadly, this is exactly what is occurring in many impoverished regions.

The health of a society, the education of kids, utilities for the elderly in the winter and public transport should not be a business opportunity for the rich to gain off peoples’ daily predicaments. After decades of this, it has become a way of life, with a number of people not knowing of a time when things were different and now many individuals are unable to look outside of the corporatist matrix. We have been told we are “worth it”, that we are inherently competitive, while social cohesion has been destroyed and the population reduced to consumers.

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Neoliberal ideology has stripped us of our compassion. The idea of a strong functioning community and the notion of not leaving people behind who are struggling seems a distant memory. This has been replaced with a ultra punitive society, that locks more people in prison than any nation outside of the US and regularly celebrates the very people who make sacks full of money from our labour. This is a system that encourages us to buy shit that we really don’t need or simply can’t afford, in order to feel better than the family living next door. We buy newer or bigger, all to prove we that we are superior to the other lot, whoever they may be.

The upper class who control the media, who lobby the government, while hiding their dosh in British Overseas Territories through trusts, convince the aspiring middle classes to look down on the primary culprits. Who are invariably defined as uneducated, working class types sat on their collective backsides all day. The middle class Conservatives hate them because they apparently drain the government coffers while adding nothing to the pot, meanwhile the middle class ‘moderates’ despise them, because they are considered racist, stupid and probably a supporter of Brexit.

People from impoverished areas are cajoled by the likes of Nigel Farage. The story is told that immigrants are stealing their jobs and that the nation needs to be in control of its borders. This is despite the fact that most immigrants arrive in the UK qualified to do the jobs that the country requires and provide skills the nation lacks. Are these people stupid? No, they are desperate and have gained nothing from 40 years of ultra-capitalism. Additionally, being a part of this ‘magical’ organisation called the EU doesn’t appear to have helped most people in the former industrial heartlands. When mainstream politics fail, often individuals look to the margins for change. Leaders who will say anything and offer the world to gain favour. Enter Mr Trump and Mr Johnson.

Brexit is yet another fissure for which to divide the population of the UK. Whether this was intentional by David Cameron and his staff is hard to know, but since then it has been manipulated skilfully to shatter any cohesion the UK once had. As it stands right now with a Conservative government, whether the UK leave or stay in Europe the world will still cater for the rich and powerful at the expense of everyone else. The EU is by design a capitalist, pro corporatist entity. It promotes “free trade”, “free movement” of capital, business austerity, low pay, flexible labour markets, privatisation of public services and the destruction of the welfare state.

To see the EU’s true colours we only have to look at Greece and other nations hit hardest by the economic crisis. The vast majority of bailout funds went straight to French and German banks, while very little actually made its way into the economies of these beleaguered countries. As part of the conditions for these bailout packages collective bargaining rights have been drastically eroded, estimated to have been reduced by an average of 21% across the 10 hardest hit nations. In Greece, workers rights have been reduced by an estimated 45%. The EU has continued to make an example of Greece, with privatisation and austerity, forced upon them at every turn.

Does this mean I support Brexit? No, in all honesty I’m pretty ambivalent towards Brexit. But what the EU isn’t, is some benevolent social democratic club that protects the UK from the vile Tories. Of course, the Tories can do all of those things previously mentioned and much worse without the help of a bureaucratic behemoth in Brussels. The Tories have devastated public services, workers rights and given half a chance they would rip up any remaining human rights that exist. So what’s the answer? Quite clearly, none of the above. I’m sure a portion of the metropolitan, superbly educated, suitably housed, well paid professional classes may benefit from the EU, but many people elsewhere have experienced little in the way of joy.

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Falinge Estate, Rochdale.

The north of England where I am originally from have 10 of the 12 most economically declining cities in the UK, two of which I worked in for the NHS, performing clinics in some of the most run down areas. As money has been syphoned into the South East (primarily London), real wages in these former industrial areas have consistently fallen or at best stagnated. The EU isn’t going to save the working class, but a bold plan from Labour led by Jeremy Corbyn might just start to turn things around. Sadly many people would rather cry into their G & T’s about Brexit than get behind a set of policies that would benefit the most amount of people.

Jeremy Corbyn is the only candidate who will go after the real perpetrators, these are ruling elites who use their money and influence to lobby government, while stashing trillions away in overseas trust accounts. It’s not the poor, the disaffected, the unemployed, the working class, immigrants or anyone else who are destroying societies in the UK or anywhere else. Already this week Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to take on “tax dodgers, bad bosses, big polluters and the billionaire media owners”, while pledging support for public services in particular the NHS.

Further to this, Labour is the only party totally committed to protecting the NHS from further privatisation. NHS officials have reportedly been in talks with US pharmaceutical firms preparing for a post Brexit trade deal. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is the only party who clearly have the people in mind. If we look at the last manifesto of 2017 the main features were; to scrap student tuition fees, renationalise water, mail and rail, increase spending on public service including the police force and fire brigade, end zero hour contracts and crucially increase taxes on the rich and corporations.

This assault on the rich and powerful by attempting to close tax loopholes is in my opinion the primary reason Jeremy Corbyn has been savaged on all on sides and even within his own party. He stands to make the ruling elite accountable, something that hasn’t been attempted for decades. If you are opposed to what Labour proposes, you seriously need to ask yourself why. Have you been propagandised by the elite, convinced that politics is only performed by the rich and powerful for the sole benefit of them. If so that isn’t democracy. Democracy isn’t a spectator sport that rolls around every 4 years (or less). Democracy is a 24 hour a day activity, you may not partake, but I guarantee the people with the power will. I can assure you, apathy and petty squabbles on this occasion will not win the day.