Category: propaganda

Theresa May’s Putinesque propaganda war


Interfering in other countries’ democracies, channelling public funds to shady operations that attack and smear opposition politicians and undermine the freedom of the press, maintaining secretive networks of loyalist journalists and civil servants at home and abroad, spreading social media disinformation, electoral cheating to maintain power, and all as the head of a political party bankrolled by dodgy Russian oligarchs.

You could be forgiven for thinking that this is a description of Vladimir Putin and his regime, but in fact it’s Theresa May and the Tories.

Anyone who has paid the remotest attention to how the Tory cabal funds itself will know that they’ve racked up more than £3 million in donations from dodgy Russian oligarchs and Putin cronies since 2010, including the sale of direct personal access to government ministers just weeks before the Tory government quashed Labour moves to clamp down on the tsunami of dodgy Russian cash flooding into the City of London.

Anyone who was paying attention during the 2017 general election will know that the Tory party is just as willing to use despicable social media propaganda to achieve their objectives as Vladimir Putin and the armies of Russia-based social media propaganda bots.

And who could forget the brazen electoral cheating the Tories got away with in 2015?

And now we’re learning about the incredibly shady activities of a government funded propaganda operation called the Institute for Statecraft after the leak of a cache of damning internal documents about the global propaganda operation they’re running (see here to browse the documents for yourself).

The Institute for Statecraft has been set up as a charity so as to avoid paying tax, and has benefited from around £2 million in public cash channelled through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

They’ve established what they refer to as “clusters” in democratic states across the developed world, including the UK, Spain, France, Greece, the US/Canada, Scandinavia, the Baltic region, and the Balkans. These shady cells act as anti-Russia propaganda outfits and also actively interfere in other countries’ democratic processes.

One of the operations they’re most proud of was their mobilisation against the appointment of Army reserve colonel Pedro Baños as Spain’s Director of National Security with a concerted smear campaign in the media within hours of the announcement.

They also openly brag about their interference in Spanish politics and the “silencing” of non-conformist voices on Serbian television in a document called “Top Three Deliverabilities for the FCO”.

So the UK government is funding this organisation to the tune of £millions, and they’re reporting back on their successes in interfering with the political systems and free press of other democratic states.

For an organisation that has been ostensibly created in order to counter Russian propaganda, this all seems more than a little Putinesque does it not?

The Institute for Statecraft operates a Twitter account called “Integrity Initiative” which, according to their Twitter bio, exists to “counter disinformation and malign influence” and “promote media literacy and media freedom“.

So now we have an organisation that brags about silencing unwelcome voices on Serbian television simultaneously posing as champions of “media freedom” on Twitter!

And it gets worse. This government funded Twitter account has published several highly partisan political attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, including one Tweet labelling him a “useful idiot” and others sharing the work of bitter anti-Corbyn propagandists in the mainstream media.

So we have a shady propaganda outfit that’s pretending to be a charity in order to avoid paying tax raking in £millions from the Tory government while they abuse the leader of the opposition on social media.

The channelling of public funds into a shady organisation that attacks and smears the leader of the political opposition is an absolutely appalling look for an organisation that ostensibly exists to counter Putinism.

The Tory government’s use of public cash to fund a shady organisation that interferes in other countries’ democracies, attacks press freedom, and bitterly attacks the leader of the opposition would be an absolute outrage under any other circumstances.

Just try to imagine it. Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister and then sets about channelling £2 million in public cash into a shady left-wing pseudo-charity propaganda outfit that actively interferes in other democratic states and bitterly smears his political opponents at home.

Do you honestly believe that there wouldn’t be absolute outrage about it across the BBC and the corporate mainstream media?

But you almost certainly won’t be hearing anything about this outrageous Tory scandal on the BBC or in the right-wing propaganda rags, and one of the principle reasons why is that this shady pseudo-charity has infiltrated them (especially the Times with three of their ‘journalists’ listed as Institute for Statecraft assets) as well as dozens of charities, think tanks, and government departments.

Another principle reason is that the mainstream media groupthink is to desperately defend the crumbling and incompetent Tory establishment out of fear that Jeremy Corbyn will actually follow through on his word and reform the political system to put the interests of ordinary people at the heart of government for the first time in decades, rather than continually pandering to the wealthy and coddled establishment cass to which most mainstream media hacks belong.

Hence this scandal will be brushed under the mainstream media carpet along with all the other outrageous Tory scandals they either forget about within days, deliberately obfuscate, or don’t even bother to cover at all.

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



OR

How gullible would you have to be to believe Theresa May’s latest Orwellian propaganda trope?

How cripplingly gullible would you have to be to believe Theresa May’s latest Orwellian reality reversal that her government are the only option for “moderate” voters?

Just look at how unpopular the Tory hard-right privatisation agenda is, and consider the fact that there’s virtually no public support for the 8 year Tory ideological agenda of privatising police services, prisons, state schools, the Royal Mail (at massively below its true market value) and swathes of the NHS.

Then consider the fact Labour’s policy of running vital national infrastructure and services as not-for-profit public services is actually incredibly popular with the public (see picture).

Look at how 8 years of ideologically driven Tory austerity dogma has led to the slowest post-crisis recovery in a Century, the longest sustained collapse in UK workers’ wages on record, failing public services, and the huge wave of public anger that drove the Brexit vote.

Labour are unquestionably the moderates when it comes to economic policy, but there’s more.

Think about Theresa May’s grotesque “hostile environment” strategy that led to British citizens being denied employment, housing, social security, bank accounts, and vital medical treatment, with unknown numbers of deportations, and even several victims of May’s extremist “deport now, hear appeals later” stance dying in exile from their homeland.

Consider the ongoing systematic Tory abuse of disabled people, and the fact that it actually costs far more to force sick and disabled people through the dehumanisation and humiliation of “fit for work” assessments than this systematic persecution will ever save in reduced disability benefit payments!

And look at the way Theresa May has continually attempted to run Brexit as a tyrant intent on sidelining and marginalising everyone else (opposition parties, the UK business sector, devolved parliaments, trade unions, judges who defend parliamentary sovereignty …) and recall how the Tories cynically voted down Labour’s move to prevent the Tories from using Brexit as a Trojan Horse in order to trash our workers’ rights, our food standards, our equal rights legislation, our environmental laws, and our consumer protections.

Labour have pledged to put an end to ruinous Tory austerity dogma, public opinion-defying privatisation mania, to reverse Theresa May’s “hostile environment” persecution of British citizens, and to completely scrap the grotesque (and economically unjustifiable) systematic abuse of sick and disabled people.

When it comes to Brexit it’s even more obvious that the Tories are radical extremists who have insisted on running the whole thing for their narrow party political benefit since the beginning, and deliberately unpicked every move to stop them from using it as an excuse to ideologically vandalise our rights, standards, and protections.

Yet somehow Theresa May believes that people are so cripplingly gullible that they’ll ignore all of this evidence and believe her shockingly dishonest Orwellian posturing that she’s some kind of “moderate” in the face of Labour extremism!

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



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The European Parliament just voted to vandalise the open Internet

The European Parliament has just voted by 438-226 to vandalise the open Internet with a truly absurd set of proposals that will undermine independent media, further distort the political debate, and radically impact the way citizens use the Internet.

The two most controversial proposals in the proposed Copyright in the Digital Single Market legislation are article 11 and article 13 which have been dubbed the Link Tax and Upload Filters.

Link Tax

The Link Tax seeks to financially penalise any websites that use more than “individual words” of an article to describe what is being linked to. Thus the automatic previews of hyperlinked articles on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter will fall foul of the Link Tax for including the full title of the article and a subheading or extract from the article.

Even linking to an article with a text link that quotes from the article would fall foul of this ridiculous new law.

The Link Tax proposal puts the onus on EU member states to ensure that the sites where the hyperlinks are posted pay financial compensation to the news organisations that are being linked to.

The absurdity of this should be obvious to all but the worst Internet illiterates. What the EU is proposing is that in return for hosting free adverts to mainstream media websites on their platforms, social media organisations should have to pay them compensation!

The obvious get-around for this absurd legislation would be for social media platforms to block automatically generated hyperlink previews when users post links to their platforms. 

So instead of getting a picture, the title of the article, and a subheading/short extract, the hyperlink would simply display as a plain link, essentially creating a lucky dip instead of the current situation in which social media users are given a foretaste of what they’re likely to find on the link they’re considering clicking.

Another option would be for social media sites to eradicate the link tax problem altogether by blocking links to mainstream news sites altogether.


Whatever the social media platforms decide to do to combat the threat of the Link Tax, it would undoubtedlycreate a massive incentive for them to favour highly partisan political dark ads (that they get paid to promote) over hyperlinks to independent media sites and mainstream media news organisations that they would face financial penalties for hosting on their sites if they include even the most rudimentary of previews!

It’s extraordinarily difficult to see how any mainstream media organisation could be in favour of wrecking hyperlink previews of their articles through such wild copyright extremism, especially since they actually design their hyperlink previews to attract as many people as possible from social media onto their own websites, but that’s where the all pressure for this ludicrous legislation is coming from, and if you Google search “Link Tax” you’ll hardly find any mainstream news outlet describing the policy, let alone critiquing it.

Upload Filters

The concept of upload filters is perhaps even more radical copyright extremism than the link tax. Upload Filters put the onus upon all but the smallest of websites to constantly scan their comments sections for copyrighted material. 

The logical step for most small websites would be to severely restrict their comments sections to block the upload of images and/or hyperlinks, or just shut their comments sections down altogether.

Another deeply concerning aspect of the Article 13 proposal is that it looks set to outlaw memes, because once an image has been added to the EU’s proposed database of copyrighted images, people will find themselves blocked from uploading copies for the purpose of parody, commentary and/or criticism.

An assault on the open Internet

By effectively outlawing hyperlink previews, banning memes, putting onerous burdens on small independent websites, and giving social media platforms a massive financial incentive to prioritise partisan political dark ads over legitimate political commentary, the EU are seeking to radically reform the way that citizens use the Internet.

The mainstream media organisations and the political elitists are clearly absolutely terrified of the way that the Internet and social media platforms have opened up political discourse to ordinary citizens, but this effort to use copyright extremism to stamp out the threat is the wild flailing of people who don’t even understand the phenomena they’re trying to crush.

They’re trying to attack citizen journalism and restore political discourse to the carefully curated pro-neoliberal echo chambers of the 1990s and early 2000s.

But now that people have got used to being their own news curators and commentators through social media, the sharing of hyperlinks, memes, blogs, and the comments sections on assorted websites, they’re going to see it as a massive invasion of their free speech when the EU attack the sharing of hyperlinks on social media, outlaw popular memes, and enforce the restriction/closure of comments sections on all manner of websites to avoid the onerous burden of continually scanning them for copyright infringements.

Opposition

The Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and the World Wide Web pioneer Tim Berners-Lee are two of the most famous opponents of this copyright extremism from the EU. Other opponents come from across the political spectrum, the academic community, a coalition of open science advocatesmultiple media companies who are the intended beneficiaries of this nonsense, and even the European Copyright Society!

Hypocrisy or idiocy?

If you look at the social media feeds of the MEPs who voted in favour of this copyright extremism, their feeds are full of hyperlink previews of articles on mainstream media sites, yet they’re pushing for these hyperlink previews to be outlawed.

These people are either disgraceful hypocrites who think there should be one copyright law for them and another much harsher copyright law for everyone else, or they’re idiots who don’t even understand the legislation they’re supporting, or anything about the Internet other than how to open their Facebook/Twitter account.

What the hell are Labour playing at?

Unfortunately the majority of Labour Party MEPs in the European Parliament actually voted in favour of this nonsense, proving that a. they don’t have a clue what they’re doing, and b. they’re intent on defying the will of Labour Party members who would surely mostly oppose what’s being proposed if the mainstream media actually bothered to explain what the EU are plotting.

No wonder people hate the EU

I’ve continually argued against Brexit because the concept of enabling an unprecedented hard-right anti-democratic Tory power grab to escape from the EU is a classic out of the frying pan into the fire situation.

The EU’s blatant bias in favour of copyright extremists who want to radically reform the Internet to restore their own power and influence is grotesque.

The shockingly incompetent way they’re going about imposing this copyright extremism agenda is infuriating.

And their tone-deaf response to critics of their Link Tax and Upload Filters proposals is all too reminiscent of their aloof and contemptuous dismissal of widespread concerns about the TTIP corporate power grab.

The fight isn’t over

The copyright extremists may have won this battle to radically restructure the Internet in their own favour and interfere with the way ordinary citizens behave online, but the fight isn’t over yet.

The European parliament must debate these rules with the European Commission before they bring it back for the final vote, and even if they win the final vote, there are clear grounds for fighting these proposals in the courts, given the radical impact they’ll have on free speech and free political expression.

Make sure you’re following Julia Reda on Twitter and check out the #SaveYourInternet and #SaveTheLink hashtags to keep up to date with these ridiculous new laws.

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



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How is Theresa May still in power after deporting UK citizens to their deaths?


In 2014 Theresa May introduced new “hostile environment” anti-immigrant legislation in order to win plaudits from the Daily Mail and the other hard-right propaganda rags. During the debate she explained her policy of scrapping the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ in order to replace it with a “deport first, hear appeals later” strategy.

As a result of these policies dozens of UK citizens were deported from the UK, and at least three of the victims of Theresa May’s racist anti-immigrant policy have died overseas.

Just try to imagine what it must have felt like for these poor people to be lying on their deathbeds on the other side of the world to immediate family members, knowing that the injustice they suffered will never be reversed, that they’ll never see the country that they called home again.

So given that Theresa May is personally responsible for a policy that resulted in UK citizens being deported to their deaths, how on earth is she still in her job?

The answer is twofold, with both the Westminster political establishment and the mainstream media to blame.

The first thing to note is that aside from a few newspaper articles on the Windrush deaths, there was hardly any mainstream media coverage at all (a tiny drop in the ocean compared to the relentless barrage of anti-Corbyn smears).

Of the newspaper articles about these tragic deaths, some of the articles didn’t even bother to mention that Theresa May was the Home Secretary who introduced these horrific rules!

Just try to imagine what the mainstream media reaction would have been had Jeremy Corbyn been personally responsible for a policy that caused at least three UK citizens to be deported to their deaths. Do you honestly think they’d be using pictures of the boat rather than pictures of his face as the main image? Do you honestly think they’d omit to mention his name at all in the entire article?

So Theresa May’s Windrush deaths have been covered up underneath an avalanche of anti-Corbyn smears, and what mainstream media coverege has been produced has deliberately downplayed and minimalised Theresa May’s culpability.

The reason of course is that the majority of mainstream media hacks are busy fighting a last ditch defence of the hard-right neoliberal orthodoxy that’s served them so well (hefty salary, nice house, expensive car, generous pension pot, social status, establishment contacts …) at the expense of millions of the rest of us (austerity dogma, wage repression, in-work poverty, local service cuts, NHS crisis, social care meltdown, rising violent crime …).

These people see Jeremy Corbyn’s democratic socialist policies as a threat to their privileged positions in society, so they’re fighting tooth and nail to preserve the way things are, which means criticism of Theresa May over the fact she deported British citizens to their deaths would be absolutely counter-productive to this primary agenda.

Then there’s the fact that the mainstream media and the massive majority of the Westminster establishment class actually went along with Theresa May’s vile anti-immigrant legislation in 2014.

Despite hearing her explain her policy of scrapping the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ and widespread behind the scenes concerns that her policy was ‘reminiscent of Nazism’, not a single Tory MP voted against it. Almost all of the Liberal-Democrat MPs voted in favour of it, and all of the so-called Labour ‘centrists’ abstained out of fear that they would be labelled ‘soft on immigration’ if they voted against it.

Just 18 MPs opposed it at the time. The one Green MP, all three of the Plaid Cymru MPs, five of the six SNP representatives at the time, a few Lib-Dem rebels (all gone from parliament now) and a handful of genuinely left-wing Labour rebels.

This Westminster establishment complicity with Theresa May’s xenophobic anti-immigrant legislation has created the situation where few politicians can actually stand up and condemn it, without risking the awkward question of why they wilfully enabled it at the time.

The same goes for mainstream media hacks. Hardly any of them spoke out against Theresa May at the time. Hardly any of them challenged their colleagues for publishing xenophobic hate-mongering articles at the time. And hardly any of them spoke out against the Labour so-called ‘centrists’ sitting on their hands rather than opposing Theresa May’s blatantly xenophobic extremism because they were so afraid of being labelled ‘soft on immigration’ by the right-wing propaganda rags.

So in order to attack Theresa May for introducing the xenophobic legislation that resulted in these appalling deaths, Westminster politicians and mainstream media hacks would have to come to terms with the fact they were utterly complicit in allowing it to happen, and acknowledge the fact that once again Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott, John McDonnell and a rag tag bunch of other parliamentary dissenters were the only people on the side of basic human decency back in 2014.

In order to hold Theresa May to account and demand her resignation over this unbelievably shocking scandal, Westminster politicans and mainstream media hacks would first have to admit that almost all of them were on the wrong side of the debate back in 2014, and that Jeremy Corbyn was on the right side of it, which is something that’s never going to happen in the current political climate.

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



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Guido Fawkes’ interpretation of Jeremy Corbyn’s media strategy is blatant ‘fake news’


When Jeremy Corbyn announced his plan to empower independent media sources, fund the BBC through a social media tax, democratise the BBC Board of Directors, and give investigative journalists more Freedom of Information powers it was obvious that defenders of the hard-right neoliberal orthodoxy would react with fits of outrage.

Nowhere was that blind right-wing fury more evident than in the Guido Fawkes hate-chamber.

By offering to strip away government control over who sits on the BBC Board of Directors, and to significantly increase Freedom of Information powers for investigative journalists, Corbyn’s proposals actually represent a loosening of state control over the media – but you certainly wouldn’t know that from the breathless fear-mongering diatribe on the Guido Fawkes blog.

As things stand now the government of the day gets to choose four members of the BBC Board, who then go on to pick the other ten members between them.

What Corbyn is proposing is that licence fee payers and BBC staff should get representation on the BBC Board, which means that if he becomes Prime Minister he’ll be giving away his government’s ability to hand-pick the BBC Board.

But somehow the deranged hard-right liars at the Guido Fawkes blog have turned this power-giveaway into a terrifying Corbyn power-grab that would see “left-wing activist cranks would get editorial control of the BBC and Laura Kuenssberg would be burnt at the stake”.

So the Guido Fawkes analysis is that if the public are allowed to choose who sits on the BBC Board they’d pick more left-wing representatives than Corbyn would pick himself?

And people are thick enough to fall for this drivel?

As for Kuennsberg. The fact that she’s still in her job at the BBC after being found guilty of inventing “fake news” is a sign of how dysfunctional the BBC has become.

Perhaps if BBC journalists knew that the BBC Board is made up of elected officials and their fellow BBC staff members with an interest in protecting their own reputations, they’d be a little bit more afraid of the consequences of inventing highly partisan fake news items?

Then consider Corbyn’s proposal to scrap the process of BBC Charter renewal. That would remove his own ability to use the threat of cutbacks to demand loyalty from the BBC (as previous governments have done).

How on earth, other than by lying through your teeth, is it possible to present such an obvious removal of government influence over BBC output as a terrifying power-grab.

Then there’s this absolute drivel “Profitable news outlets are fearless because they know they don’t have to bend the knee to survive”.

We’ve all seen how mainstream media outlets bend their coverage to suit the interests of their billionaire-owners, and how politicians from Thatcher through to May have gone grovelling before the right-wing media moguls like Murdoch, Harmsworth, and the Barclay brothers in return for partisan political support.

We’ve also seen how wealthy advertisers have pressurised these “profitable” mainstream media organisations into dropping critical coverage (like HSBC did with the Telegraph, and how the despicable Saudi tyrants do with swathes of the mainstream media).

So not only do the hard-right Guido hacks try to present Corbyn’s power-giveaway as a power-grab, they also sing from the corporate mainstream media hymn sheet that mainstream media outlets never “bend their knee” to the political ideology of their owners, or the whims of their advertisers!

In conclusion the Guido hack writes that “The hard-left and their opponents agree on one thing, a free press stands in their way of transforming society…”. 

In a way this part is actually true, except the terms they use are loaded as hell.

It’s beyond obvious that the shockingly right-wing biased mainstream media would do absolutely everything in their power to stop Jeremy Corbyn from transforming society.

  • They’ll oppose his new proposal to democratise the BBC.
  • They’ll oppose his proposal to support and encourage more independent journalism.
  • And they’ll definitely oppose his proposal to allow investigative journalists to submit freedom of information requests to find out what’s going on with all the dodgy private sector outsourcing companies making £billions from the public purse.
But in regards to all of this hostility from the right-wing press barons Corbyn isn’t actually proposing a crackdown on the corporate mainstream media at all, he’s actually offering to give up his own power to pick the BBC Board of Directors should he become Prime Minister, and to give investigative journalists more powers to investigate what his government is up to!

But somehow the fake news merchants at the Guido Fawkes blog have reversed reality in order to present Corbyn’s power-giveaway as a power-grab, and his policy of empowering independent and investigative journalists as an attack on the free press!

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



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Margaret Hodge has completely lost the plot in her latest anti-Corbyn rant

Labour are once again ahead in the polls, and like clockwork Margaret Hodge has emerged to badmouth her own party in the most extraordinary manner. In this article I’m going to look at just some of the desperately cynical, wantonly offensive, and downright dishonest nonsense she spewed in her interview with Sky News.

Muddying the water

Hodge said a lot of off-the-charts nonsense in her interview, but I’ve got to start with the most cynical and dangerous of her assertions. In an effort to have a stab at Jeremy Corbyn she claimed that there’s “a fine line between being pro-Palestinian, and being anti-Semitic”.

This is blatantly untrue. One involves having a bit of basic human decency and expressing solidarity towards the victims of decades of brutal Israeli repression. The other involves being a disgusting bigot who hates Jewish people for no reason other than that they’re Jews.

There is no “fine line” between decency and indecency, and this effort by Margaret Hodge to claim that there is, is nothing but a cynical effort to intimidate decent people out of expressing solidarity with the Palestinians for fear of being labelled a racist bigot for having done so.

Trivialising the Holocaust

After screaming vitriolic and defamatory abuse in Jeremy Corbyn’s face Margaret Hodge was subjected to a brief disciplinary procedure which involved the sending of a few letters, an meeting, and her getting let off scot free for an offence that would have seen any ordinary Labour Party member hoofed out of the party for good.

In a desperate attempt to present herself as the victim, Hodge actually compared this disciplinary process to the horror of fleeing Nazi Germany.

Just try to imagine the absolute tower of self-righteous delusion a person would have to be sitting upon in order to imagine that trivialising the horrors of the Holocaust in order to pose as the poor victim of a flawed softball disciplinary process that let her off scot free for an offence that would have had any normal person in a normal job rightly expecting the sack.

By trivialising the Holocaust in this way Hodge has demonstrated that she’s massively over-privileged and extremely disconnected from reality.

Entitlement

Let’s not forget that this is the same Labour Party that attempted to rig the 2nd Corbyn leadership election by purging thousands of left-wing members for “crimes” such as once retweeting a non-Labour MP, voting for a different political party long before they even joined Labour, and even liking the Foo Fighters too much!

Hodge was let off scot free for what would probably have seen any ordinary person like you or I sacked from our jobs, but she didn’t have a single word of criticism when thousands of ordinary people were being purged from the Labour Party for no reason other than they were likely to vote for Jeremy Corbyn in a leadership election!

Basically Hodge believes she should be allowed to do whatever she likes to bring the party into disrepute, because disciplinary processes, punishments, and expulsions are only for the little people.

Hypocrisy

In comparing Labour’s softball disciplinary procedure to the Holocaust in her victim-pleading rant Hodge has accidentally revealed her own hypocrisy.

The pro-Israeli lobby have long argued that it’s grotesque to compare stuff like the deliberate killing of scores of unarmed civilians (including medics, journalists, and children) in the vast open air prison camp of Gaza to Nazism or the Holocaust, even to the extent of smearing a Jewish Holocaust survivor as an anti-Semite just to have another crack at Corbyn.

But if comparing indisputable acts of brutality and repression to the actions of the Nazis is tasteless, then how on earth can it be considered reasonable to compare something as benign as an internal party political disciplinary process to the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust?

Outright lies

By claiming that Jeremy Corbyn has overseen an increase in anti-Semitism Hodge wasn’t just veering off into hyperbole, she was outright lying.

The evidence is absolutely clear that rates of anti-Semitism have fallen dramatically in the Labour ranks since Corbyn became leader.

The obvious explanation for this trend would seem to be that the massive influx of left-leaning socially liberal people into the Labour Party since 2015 has significantly diluted the pre-existing levels of anti-Semitism.

Let’s not forget that back in 2005 Labour’s top spin doctor Alistair Campbell masterminded grossly offensive poster campaign depicting a Jewish political rival as a pig and a Fagin character.

This was at a time when Hodge was an actual government minister, but somehow, she didn’t speak out about this grotesque anti-Semitism right at the heart of the Labour Party and use it to attack the party leadership.

Now that anti-Semitism rates have fallen dramatically under Corbyn, and nobody at the top of the party is doing anything remotely as bigoted as running an anti-Semitic poster campaign, now she’s persistently complaining about the issue?

Surely anyone with any sense at all can see that someone who turns a blind eye to the blatant anti-Semitism of her political allies can’t possibly be making a fuss over the issue in good faith when it comes to her political opponents?

Rabid anti-Corbynism

Hodge attempts to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity by raising concerns about the “rise of populism” but completely gives the game away with her list of supposed populists.

She mentions Boris Johnson and Donald Trump first, with no negative description, but when it comes to Corbyn she says “the cult of Corbynism”, thus revealing she’s actually got more antipathy towards Corbyn’s democratic socialist agenda than Boris Johnson’s extreme-right ultranationalism, or the frightening and ideologically incoherent lunacy of Trumpism!

It’s no surprise that Hodge is such a vehement opponent of Corbynism given that she was the beneficiary of a £1.5 million tax-dodging scam via a Liechtenstein-based fund

If anyone is likely to oppose Corbyn’s determination to clamp down on the tax-dodging of the mega-rich it’s someone who participates in that kind of thing.

Excuse me, who are the cultists?

In insultingly dismissing everyone who supports Jeremy Corbyn as a “cult”, Margaret Hodge is simply showing how out of touch she is with the wishes of the Labour Party membership.

People don’t support Corbyn because they see him as some kind of infallible idol but because he represents a genuine alternative to the hard-right neoliberal orthodoxy that has served the mega-rich and the political class do well over the last four decades at the expense of the rest of us.

the reality is that a lot of people are drawn to Corbyn because of his principles and policies (stuff like renationalising the railways, sticking up for workers, combating tax-dodging, stopping arms sales to despotic regimes like Saudi Arabia) but wish he was a bit better at forcing the point home. 

Hodge really doesn’t seem to realise that the vast majority of British people have absolutely had it with self-serving political elites flogging off our national assets to their mates on the cheap, gutting our local communities, trashing our wages and working conditions, and imposing ruinous austerity dogma on the nation in order to make the poor and ordinary shoulder the entire cost of the bankers’ bailouts, lavishing handouts and tax breaks on corporations and the mega-rich, and fiddling their expenses all the while to maximise their own personal gains.

The reality is that it’s the Westminster establishment club and their lackeys in the mainstream media who are living in a cult, but because they have little or no concern for ordinary people.

They’re content in their cosy little ideological echo chamber full of reassurances that strict adherence to the orthodox neoliberal ideology is still an unquestionable article of faith, and that anyone who actually listens to what the little people want must be the mad, bad, dangerous, extremist with the cult following!

Irresponsible journalism

One of the most disturbing things about the interview is the complicity of the interviewer, who instead of actually questioning any of the dishonest, deluded, and borderline deranged nonsense Hodge was spouting, actually nodded along like it’s the received wisdom!

Maybe you could give the journalist a break for being too taken aback by the outlandishness of it to interject during Hodge’s extraordinary Holocaust hyperbole, but failing to point out the fact that she was outright lying about anti-Semitism having increased under Jeremy Corbyn is an extraordinary failure.

Isn’t it the least we can expect from journalists that they actually hold powerful establishment figures to account when they lie, rather than acting as their enablers and mouthpieces?

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



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Why are the mainstream media ignoring the brazen extreme-right takeover of the Tory party?

After Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party in 2015 the party membership swelled with hundreds of thousands of new members, mainly traditional Labour folk enthused by the party’s first democratic socialist leader in decades.

The mainstream media were horrified by this surge of support for a guy who threatens the hard-right neoliberal orthodoxy that has served people like them so well for the last four decades, at the expense of millions of the rest of us, so the attacks on these new Labour Party members have been pretty much constant ever since.

The Labour membership surge

Ever since the Labour membership surge mainstream media hacks and opponents of democratic socialism have worked tirelessly to discredit it.

Aside from all of the abuse (“trots”, “dogs”, “rabble”, “thugs”, “Nazi stormtroopers”) two themes have constantly stood out, the idea that left-wing people joining Labour are “entryists”, and that Corbyn supporters are a “cult”.

Anyone who is familiar with the history of the Labour Party would surely put up a counter-argument that the likes of centre-right pro-privatisation Thatcherites like Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson, John McTernan, Margaret Hodge, and Alistair Campbell were the “entryists” who took over the party, and that the post-Corbyn membership surge is the mass home-coming of those who were driven away from the party by the right-wing pro-privatisation pro-austerity Tory lite agenda between 1997 and 2015.

But still the mainstream media persists in portraying the hundreds of thousands who joined Labour since 2015 as “entryists” and “cultists” rather than just ordinary people enthused by an actual alternative to the hard-right Thatcherite consensus of the last four decades.

Ukipification of the Tories

Ever since the 2016 EU referendum it’s become increasingly obvious that the Tory party is being usurped by the small hard-right anti-EU faction (the crackpot element John Major used to refer to as “the bastards”).

Theresa May called her vanity election in 2017 because she believed that having unified the traditional Tory vote with the extreme-right ultranationalist Blue-kip demographic, a landslide majority would be inevitable. But she didn’t count on Jeremy Corbyn or the energised Labour membership orchestrating the biggest turnaround in British politics since universal suffrage.

Since the 2017 general election we’ve all seen how Theresa May dances to the tune of the ERG Brextremists, knowing that Jacob Rees-Mogg and his ERG mob easily have the parliamentary numbers to trigger a leadership election if she refuses to obey their instructions.

And now we’ve even got the spectacle of Nigel Farage’s extreme-right anti-immigrant Leave.EU campaign openly bragging that they’ve infiltrated the Tory party membership with 10,000 Brextremists in order to ensure that the next leader of the Tory party is a hard-right Brexiteer.

They’re so confident of their success that they’ve actually announced what they’re up to on Twitter!

The mainstream media silence on this ongoing Brextremist takeover of the Tory party is staggering given the absolute brazenness of it, and the enormous fuss they made over the Labour membership surge.

The Orwellian state of the British media

On the one hand you have hundreds of thousands of left-leaning people finally coming home to the Labour Party after years in exile due to the right-wing pro-privatisation, pro-austerity gruel being offered by the orthodox neoliberal leadership.

And on the other hand you’ve got an extreme-right Brexit campaign group openly and publicly bragging about the way they’ve infiltrated the Tory party in order to interfere in the party’s leadership election.

But somehow the former is the grave concern worthy of hundreds of columns and TV segments ranging from patronising faux outrage to outright abuse of ordinary people, and the latter barely gets a single mention.

If anyone in British politics is an “entryist” surely it’s got to be a follower of Nigel Farage and Arron Banks tearing up their UKIP membership in order to join the Tory party and influence the next leadership election in favour of the most extreme Brexiteer in the running?

If anyone in British politics is a “cultist” surely it’s people who continue to glibly dismiss every single piece of evidence that a “no deal” flounce out of the EU would be a social and economic catastrophe as “Project Fear”.

Yet somehow left-wing Labour supporters are still continually derided as “entryists” and “cultists” by the mainstream media, while the Brexit cultists who are openly and brazenly usurping the Tory party in front of our eyes are just left in peace to get on with it!

The only conclusion that can be drawn out of this extraordinary contrast in mainstream media coverage is that the vast majority of the coddled mainstream media class are way more comfortable with extreme-right, anti-immigrant, Brextremists brazenly taking over the ruling Tory party in front of our eyes than they are with the Labour opposition returning to its democratic socialist roots!

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



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Neoliberalism is to blame for the state of modern Britain

How did Britain come to be in such a mess?

It should be clear to anyone that the looming threat of a catastrophic “no deal” Tory strop out of the European Union didn’t just happen in isolation, and that there are numerous factors at play.

Probably the biggest factor of all is the Westminster political establishment’s ideological obsession with hard-right neoliberal dogma.

Ever since 1979 neoliberalism has ruled the roost in Westminster. The only period in the last four decades where it’s not been Tories pushing hard-right, pro-privatisation, anti-worker, social housing wrecking, bank deregulating neoliberal dogma was 1997-2010 when Tony Blair and Gordon Brown pushed the same ideological madness, but with doses of welfare economics and public service investment to soften the consequences of their adherence to Thatcherite economic dogma.

While policies like tax credits, the minimum wage, and investment in the NHS were admittedly far better than anything you’d expect from a Tory government, New Labour’s refusal to reverse the worst aspects of neoliberal dogma meant they were absolutely complicit in the ensuing disaster, which came about when the private banks collapsed under the weight of their gambling debts in the 2007-08 financial sector insolvency crisis (you know, the crisis we still haven’t recovered from).

Instead of allowing the reckless and insolvent banks to go under and be replaced in the marketplace by less reckless institutions (as neoliberal economic theory suggests), the British state decided to institute the biggest state bailout in history.

In an unprecedented display of crony capitalism the government pumped £hundreds of billions into the financial sector directly while the Bank of England began magicking money out of nowhere via quantitative easing in order to artificially prop up the value of assets held mainly by the mega-rich.

These massive state interventions to save the neoliberalised financial sector from the consequences of their own reckless gambling should obviously have sounded the death knell for hard-right anti-state neoliberalism.

If you’ve spent the previous three decades pushing the lie that state intervention is bad, then you couldn’t get a more obvious invalidation of your agenda than an unprecedented state intervention to save the economy from the consequences of your ideological experiment.

However, when the Lib-Dems enabled the Tories back into power in 2010 the Coalition government immediately set about implementing an audacious strategy of prescribing the cause of the financial sector crisis as their so-called solution to the crisis.

So instead of a much needed rebalancing of the economy away from hard-right neoliberal dogma, the Tories actually doubled down on neoliberalism with their ideologically driven austerity agenda.

The results of this double-down on neoliberalism strategy were appalling: The slowest post-crisis recovery in Centuries. The longest sustained collapse in the real value of workers wages since records began. Savage local government cuts. The lowest levels of new house building since the 1920s. Home ownership rendered an impossible dream for millions as the private rental slumlords cashed in through the exploitation of people with nowhere else to turn. The NHS is crisis. Social care in crisis. Police and emergency services cut to the bone. Public assets being flogged off at fractions of their true values. Soaring child poverty. Soaring in-work poverty. An exponential growth in food bank dependency. Millions trapped in low-pay insecure Zero Hours Contract and gig economy jobs.

Once again the Labour right-wingers were complicit in the ensuing disaster. Instead of standing up and opposing ruinous Tory austerity dogma with all their might, Labour right-wingers like Ed Balls and Chris Leslie actually decided to pathetically imitate it with “austerity lite” (a decision that cost them the 2015 General Election and led to the Brexit vote).

If Labour had opposed Tory austerity dogma, it’s likely they would have cruised into power in 2015 on a massive wave of public anger. But they refused to oppose it, and left the door open for hard-right opportunists to once again use the consequences of their own hard-right ideological fanaticism as a Trojan Horse to push even more of it.

The fact two of the Westminster establishment parties were pushing ruinous austerity dogma in government, while the third pathetically imitated it instead of opposing it left the door wide open for the right-wing fringe of the Tory party (and their Ukipper mates) to pin the blame the consequences of this devastating ideological attack on poor and ordinary people onto immigrants and the EU in order to whip up support for Brexit.

Had there been any opposition to Tory austerity dogma whatever, then it’s unlikely Brexit would ever have happened. Just look at Scotland where the SNP ran a strong anti-Tory, anti-austerity campaign in 2015, and how the Scottish public overwhelmingly rejected Brexit the following year.

Now that the UK is facing the ever-increasing likelihood of a ruinous “no deal” Tory flounce out of the EU (which would trigger an economic crisis even worse than the bankers’ insolvency crisis we still haven’t even recovered from), surely it’s time to accept that the four decade long Westminster fixation hard-right neoliberal dogma is the root cause of Britain’s problems, and that the only sensible solution is to actually fight back against it?

Of course the majority of the Westminster establishment, mainstream media, and corporate executive class will fight tooth and nail to defend the ideological orthodoxy that they’ve done very nicely out of indeed. They’ll fight back against a change of direction because they fear that undoing some of the damage to ensure that everyone in Britain gets a fair chance might mean that the privileged few lose out a bit.

And they’re right. The mega-rich should have to pay their fair share of tax rather than stashing their wealth in Panama or the Cayman Islands. Exploitative private sector slumlords should have their profiteering curtailed by decent living standards and rent controls. Greedy property speculators should lose out as the government launches a massive house building drive to ensure that everyone who works for a living can afford a decent home to live in. Private profiteers who have made untold fortunes siphoning wealth out of our public utilities should see their money tap turned off as vital public infrastructure and services are bought back under public ownership. And perhaps most importantly of all, those who have monopolised the top jobs in society thanks to their privileged backgrounds should face some real competition from people from ordinary backgrounds armed with an education that is provided free of charge under a new National Education System.

Of course it would be impossible to undo the damage caused by four decades of neoliberal economic dogma overnight (especially against a tidal wave of establishment hostility), but surely it’s time to reverse course rather than simply accepting the endless Westminster prescriptions of more of the exact same toxic dogma that caused the problem as the cure to the problem?

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



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The BBC are covering up UK complicity in Saudi war crimes

This week Saudi Arabian forces blasted a bus full of children to pieces in Yemen leaving at least 29 dead and many more severely injured, which is just one of countless war crimes the Saudis have committed since they began bombarding the country in 2015.

Other Saudi war crimes include attacks on busy market places, wedding celebrations and fleeing refugees, the targeting of civilian infrastructure like electricity and water treatment plants, and the deliberate use of famine and disease as weapons through their ongoing blockade of food and basic medical supplies and attacks on distribution infrastructure.
 

The bus bombing was so appalling that a small amount of coverage actually leaked into the UK mainstream media, however everyone knows that if Bashar Assad’s regime had blasted a bus full of Syrian children to pieces, then there would have been wall to wall outrage, with plenty of condemnation of Russia for supplying Syria with weapons and playing an active military role in supporting Assad’s campaigns.

Interestingly none of the UK mainstream media coverage bothers to explain that not only is Saudi Arabia Britain’s biggest customer for weapons, the UK is also supplying the Saudi forces with military assistance!

The omission of these crucial details from mainstream media coverage of Saudi war crimes is an example of the propaganda tactic of deception by omission.

Take the BBC’s coverage of the Saudi bus-bombing that left at least 29 children dead. Towards the end of the article it does actually mention that starvation and cholera as now rife in Yemen, but without bothering to explain that the Saudi forces are actually using famine and disease as weapons against the Yemeni people.

The BBC article also makes no mention whatever of Britain’s role in arming the Saudi war criminals, nor the British service personnel that are embedded with the Saudi forces.

Another thing the BBC fail to mention in their coverage is that the United Kingdom government have more than quadrupled the amount of arms being sold to Saudi Arabia since they began their attacks on Yemen.

Neither do the BBC bother to mention that the official Tory government excuse for Britain arming the Saudis is that if Britain doesn’t profit from Saudi war crimes, then someone else might!

There’s absolutely no way that balanced or impartial coverage of what the Saudis are doing in Yemen would seek to downplay their deliberate use of famine and disease as weapons, or omit the fact that the United Kingdom government is actively supporting the Saudi regime, despite knowing that the Saudis are using British weapons to commit war crimes.

But then after the staggering levels of BBC bias demonstrated through their ridiculously one-sided pro-austerity/anti-investment economics coverage, their extraordinary bias during the Scottish independence referendum, their recent assault on the free speech of Scottish independence advocates, and their shockingly pro-Tory/anti-Corbyn coverage from their politics team, it’s hardly surprising that they’re desperate to minimise and downplay Saudi war crimes, and omit the fact that the Tory government are complicit in them.

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



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Boris Johnson’s burqa comments have worked out exactly the way he planned

Boris Johnson’s comments ridiculing women who wear the veil were a blatant ploy to rile up the extreme-right by throwing them the red meat of Muslims to hate, and the free speech issue to gnash their teeth over.

It’s no coincidence whatever that Johnson has decided to whip up the extreme-right like this, having just had a secretive meeting with the alt right “kingmaker” Steve Bannon who was the one who unified the Swastika-waving “Jews will not replace us” crowd and the Donald Trump Presidential campaign.

Picking minority groups to bash rather than talking about policy issues has been a classic extreme-right tactic ever since Hitler and the Nazis, and just look how it’s already worked a treat for the hard-right Brextremists:

Look how they successfully pinned the blame for the devastating consequences of their own hard-right austerity agenda onto immigrants and the EU in order to con people into voting for their ‘make it up as we go along’ Brexit shambles.

Public pressure has eventually convinced the Tory leadership to drop their usual “ignore it until it goes away” stance in favour of a supposedly independent inquiry into Johnson’s conduct.

But this inquiry is disastrous for multiple reasons. The main one is that it feeds into the victimhood narratives that the extreme-right rely so heavily upon to spread their divisive bile

Boris was clearly hoping his comments would generate pushback so that he can pose as the poor innocent victim who is being silenced, so it’s played right into his hands.

Another reason such a limited inquiry is a disastrous idea is that it’s a lose-lose outcome for Muslims. If Boris is cleared then it sends out a signal to every single bigot in Britain that ridiculing Muslim women and demanding they be denied access to public services is now approved and acceptable behaviour. Boris gets off scot free, Muslims take the hit

If Boris is sanctioned for his comments, then he’s sure to be anointed with martyrdom sainthood by the extreme right, with Muslim people bearing the brunt of the criticism for the fact he’s been sanctioned. Boris gets a huge popularity boost with the extreme-right mob, Muslims take the hit

What the Tory party really needed to do is call the wide-ranging inquiry into anti-Muslim bigotry in the Tory ranks that the Muslim Council of Britain and several senior Tories have been demanding for months.


Instead they’ve cobbled together this rigged Boris wins – Muslims lose farce.

If you’re under any doubt whatever about whether Boris Johnson’s comment were a ploy to garner support from the extreme-right ultranationalist blue-kip demographic, just take a look at what’s been going on in the Tommy Robinson hate chamber since Johnson made his remarks.

These are just a tiny sample illustrating the wave of extreme-right Boris adoration and anti-Muslim commentary he’s managed to whip up.

 Another Angry Voice  is a “Pay As You Feel” website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.



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