Aside from being a living ‘Lord Snooty’ caricature of the quintessential English Toff, Jacob Rees-Mogg has strategically positioned himself as one of the most powerful people within the ruling Tory party, despite never even having served as a junior government minister.
The way he’s done this is by becoming the leader of the hard-right Brextremist ‘party within a party’ called the European Reform Group (ERG). This shadowy organisation rakes in taxpayers’ cash to fund their campaign in favour of the hardest possible Brexit, and has easily enough members to call a no confidence vote in Theresa May at any moment.
The two previous leaders of this Brextremist pressure group Steve Baker and Suella Fernandes have both been rewarded with positions in Theresa May’s government, but Rees-Mogg doesn’t seem to be interested in just interested in bagging some junior ministerial role, he’s intent on using the ERG’s influence over Theresa May to control her every move.
May knows that if she steps out of line over any issue, the ERG have the power to oust her because they’ve got more than enough members to trigger a leadership election by registering letters of no confidence with the Chairman of the 1922 Committee (the archaic method by which the Tory party dispose of unwanted leaders like Margaret Thatcher and iain Duncan Smith).
Theresa May knows that if she defies the ERG then she’ll be out of Downing Street in a flash.
The upshot of all of this is that as the leader of the ERG Jacob Rees-Mogg is the de facto Prime Minister, a man who gets to call all the shots, but doesn’t have to take any of the flak when things go wrong because he can use the hapless and hopeless Theresa May as a bullet shield.
One interesting question is whether Rees-Mogg has used his indisputable power over the Prime Minister to push for things that go beyond the hard Brexit fanaticism that the secretive ERG pressure group exists to promote.
For example have Rees-Mogg and the ERG had any influence over the Tories’ extremely pro-Russian behaviour in the weeks before the Salisbury attack for example?
Given the revelation that Rees-Mogg’s Somerset Capital Management fund has a huge £90 million investment in Russia, including £57 million in the blacklisted Russian Sberbank, the very recent Tory party decision to deliberately obstruct the introduction of Magnitsky powers to clamp down on dodgy Russian money looks a tad suspicious.
Sberbank is already subject to EU and US economic sanctions, but somehow Rees-Mogg and his Somerset Capital management chums have seen fit to retain this dodgy investment despite the sanctions, and £43 million worth of other Russian assets.
These kinds of Russian investments obviously mean that any serious government moves to clamp down on Russian money flowing in and out of the UK would represent a risk to Rees-Mogg’s profit margins.
Because of the secrecy of their operation it’s impossible to know whether Rees-Mogg and the ERG are responsible for the Tory government’s very recent policy of obstructing Magnitsky powers, but their continual secrecy (despite being bankrolled by the taxpayer) leaves questions like this hanging in the air.
If they insist on being so secretive about their influence on government policy, it’s clearly invites questions about whether they would use this secret influence to further their own financial interests.
Unless they give up the secrecy and actually publish stuff like their membership list, all of their sources of funding, their contacts and communications with government ministers, their contacts with people and institutions outside the Tory party, and their own financial conflicts of interest, then these kinds of questions about how their influence could be misused are inevitable aren’t they?
It is of course possible to come at it from an alternative direction and ask the Tory government to provide a detailed explanation of their decision to brazenly obstruct Magnitsky powers up until very days before the Salisbury attack, but then that would require some journalists within the Westminster lobby to earn their salaries by actually holding the powerful to account, rather than uncritically churning out whatever hard-right propaganda trope is the chosen narrative of the day.
Would Jacob Rees-Mogg abuse his position as the most powerful man in the Tory party to further his own financial interests?
Given the culture of secrecy that runs through the ERG and Theresa May’s autocratic government, who knows if it’s even theoretically possible to answer the question. But given the abject lack of decent journalists within the Westminster bubble, it’s almost certainly a question that will never be answered.
Anna Campbell gave up her comfortable western lifestyle and her job to travel to the Kurdish region of northern Syria in order to fight ISIS. She did this because the democratic Kurdish Rojava are demonstrably the only real good guys in the brutal Syrian civil war (the other main forces being the Assad regime, ISIS, other Islamist terrorists, Russia, Turkey, and the increasingly marginalised anti-Assad rebels who kicked the whole thing off).
Of course she knew that she was putting her life in danger by taking up arms to defend Kurdish democracy from the threat of ISIS, but she wanted to help make the world a better place.
Anna was killed last week as a result of Turkish shelling in the Kurdish town of Afrin.
Turkey has continually intervened in the Syrian conflict in order to attack the Kurdish forces that are trying to drive ISIS and the other Islamist fanatics out of Syria.
Turkey also stands accused of allowing Islamist extremists and military supplies to flow across the border into and out of Syria, treating wounded ISIS fighters in Turkish hospitals, and funding ISIS by buying their oil.
Aside from their interventions in Syria to support ISIS and other Islamist terrorist groups, Turkey itself is in the grip of a brutal and repressive dictatorship. There are more journalists in Turkish jails than any other country on earth.
Theresa May and the Tories don’t care about any of this though. Human rights violations in Turkey, support for vile Islamist terrorists in neighbouring countries, attacks on the Kurds who are fighting back against ISIS … it’s all swept under the carpet because just like Saudi Arabia, Turkey is a marketplace for British weapons.
Just a couple of months ago Theresa May and the Tories signed a £100 million fighter jet deal with the Turkish tyrant Erdoğan.
And Theresa May and the Tories have also flogged an incredible £4.6 billion worth of arms Saudi Arabia in the full knowledge that they’re a barbaric tyranny that funds, arms, and supplies terrorist fighters to ISIS, and also uses British weapons to commit war crimes in Yemen.
If Anna Campbell hadn’t been killed by the British-backed Turkish forces behind her, she could just have easily have been killed by the Saudi Arabian and Turkish backed ISIS terrorists in front of her. Both of the enemies that wanted to kill Anna and wipe out the emerging democracy in Kurdistan are ultimately backed by Theresa May and the Tories.
Probably the worst thing of all is that it’s only really in unusual cases where this Tories’ grotesque foreign policy of hawking weapons to the most brutal and tyrannical regimes on earth ends up killing a British citizen that the British media pay any kind of attention.
So often the British press are willing to turn a blind eye when it’s gays and atheists being beheaded and crucified in Saudi Arabia; huge numbers of Yemeni civilians suffering Saudi war crimes and starvation; dozens of Turkish journalists languishing in jail for doing their jobs; millions of civilians displaced in Syria and Iraq as the Turkish/Saudi backed Islamist terrorists run amok; or hundreds of Kurdish democratic fighters being shot in the back by Turkish forces as they try to defend their region from Islamist terrorism.
When Britain should be following Anna Campbell’s lead and standing in solidarity with one of the few genuinely democratic movements in the Middle East, our government actually arms and supports the tyrants who seek to destroy them.
Backing one particular political party in another country’s general election is a serious breach of diplomatic protocol. Even if governments privately favour one particular party to win in another country’s election, it’s considered very bad diplomatic form to actually attempt to sway the election with partisan public statements.
So aside from demonstrating their willingness to ignore diplomatic protocol and interfere in other nations’ sovereign affairs, why would the Russian Embassy have chosen to back Theresa May and the Tories at the 2017 General Election?
Here are a few potential answers:
One of the most incredible things about the response to the Salisbury nerve agent attack is that as the result of an absolute barrage of reality-reversing propaganda from the mainstream media (including the BBC) millions have been duped into believing that Theresa May has actually done a good job of responding to it.
In this article I’m going to go through just a few of the things that demonstrate what an appalling job she’s actually done.
The Tories have taken an astounding £3 million in donations from Russian oligarchs and Putin cronies since 2010, including £800,000+ since Theresa May became Prime Minister. In the wake of this chemical weapons attack on British soil they’ve steadfastly refused to return a penny of it.
Just imagine the purely hypothetical situation that Iran had conducted a chemical weapons attack on British soil, and that the Labour Party coffers were stuffed with £3 million in Iranian cash, and that Jeremy Corbyn was refusing to pay back a penny of it or explain what kind of influence all that cash had bought.
Do you honestly think the mainstream media wouldn’t be making any fuss over it, and that public opinion of Corbyn’s handling of the situation would be favourable?
Gavin Williamson 1
Theresa May appointed the staggeringly underqualified former fireplace salesman Gavin Williamson as Defence Secretary in her shambolic January 2018 reshuffle. For his first two months in the job he did virtually nothing except allow the Tory party to sell personal access to him for £30,000 to the wife of a former Putin finance minister. What Williamson and this Putin stooge discussed has not been made public.
Just two weeks before the Salisbury attack the Tory government brazenly obstructed Labour’s efforts to introduce Magnitsky powers to clamp down on the flood of Russian dark money flowing into the City of London and the UK housing market.
An Opinium poll found that 65% of British people are in favour of Magnitsky powes as opposed to just 5% against, but thanks to the complicity of the mainstream media, neither Theresa May nor other senior Tory ministers have been grilled over why they brazenly obstructed these Magnitsky powers just a couple of weeks ago.
Theresa May eventually caved in to Jeremy Corbyn’s pressure and announced that the Tories would be seeking to introduce Magnitsky powers like he has been arguining in favour of for eight years, however the mainstream press decided not to portray this as the screeching Tory U-turn that it so clearly is.
How can a political party go from crudely and brazenly obstructing efforts to introduce Magnitsky powers two weeks ago, to suddenly supporting them, without anyone in the mainstream media clocking it as a massive U-turn?
For the best part of a week the Tories and their chums in the mainstream press derided Jeremy Corbyn for daring to ask questions about the proof that Russians were behind the attack.
Then it turned out that Theresa May had actually hidden intelligence about the attack from Corbyn. Cutting Corbyn out of the intelligence loop then deriding him for asking questions is about as cynical a ploy as can be imagined, especially when the subject under debate is an unprecedented chemical weapons attack on British soil.
Mainstream media hacks were quick to accuse Corbyn of “politicising the attack” when he asked pertinent questions about the flood of Russian cash into Tory party coffers and their continual obstruction of Magnitsky powers.
But then they “forgot” to make similarly outraged (and much more justified) accusations that Theresa May and the Tories had been “politicising the attack” by hiding vital information from Corbyn, then caricaturing him as some kind of Russian stooge for … erm … asking for more information!
Gavin Williamson 2
After deriding Corbyn’s calm evidence-seeking approach to the attack for the best part of a week, the Tories and the mainstream press turned a blind eye to Gavin Williamson’s incredible sub-juvenile whine that “Russia should go away and shut up“.
If Theresa May had any authority whatever over her shambles of a party she would have slapped Williamson down for demeaning his office like that, issued an official retraction and a clear reiteration of Britain’s actual position, and then told the catastrophically unfit Williamson to submit his resignation.
She didn’t do any of that because he’s one of her last remaining allies within the party, meaning she’d rather have Britain made a laughing stock on the world stage than weaken her own position within the Tory party.
Gavin Williamson is not the only Tory minister to have made a complete pillock of himself and been allowed to get away with it Scott free.
Aside from all of his bumbling rhetoric, Boris Johnson has tied himself in an impossible knot by claiming that Russia has been building up a stockpile of chemical weapons, which is in stark contrast to the findings of the Organisation for Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) who oversaw and certified Russia’s destruction of their chemical weapons programme, then describing the OPCW are “reliable” “technical experts”.
Now they’re either reliable technical experts or they’re a bunch of bumbling idiots who certified Russia’s destruction of their chemical weapons while Russia was busy expanding their chemical weapons programme. They simply can’t be both.
This kind of bumbling and self-contradictory “making it up as he goes along” rubbish is an absolute embarrassment to Britain, but Theresa May can’t sack him, or even publicly disagree with him, because she knows that the secretive cabal of ERG Brextremists who control her every move would have here out of Downing Street in a flash if she even tried it.
Fist bumps and selfies
Theresa May’s visit to Salisbury was an utterly bizarre spectacle. She was visiting the site of an unprecedented chemical weapons attack on British soil, with three people gravely ill in hospital, and she treated it like she was some C list actor delighted that they’ve been invited to a glamorous film premiere, when they know they didn;t do anything to deserve it.
Fist bumps here, selfies there, and a truly cringeworthy photo op with a baby thrown in too.
At a time of national crisis do we want a leader who takes the situation seriously and is seen to have concern for the victims and their families, or do we want one who cavorts around the crime scene like a C-list celebrity?
I guess regular Another Angry Voice readers will at least be familiar with some of this damning evidence, but millions clearly aren’t.
Millions of people remain confined within carefully curated mainstream media echo chambers. They get their politics from the right-wing propaganda rags, from the BBC, and maybe from the commercial radio news items on the workplace radio. And that’s it.
In order to unmask the mainstream media’s reality-reversed propaganda deceptions it’s no good just talking amongst ourselves, we need to get the real information out there to people who wouldn’t otherwise see it.
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the fact that the bbc is still stating that the image “was not manipulated in any way” when it so clearly has been reveals the depths of their journalistic dishonesty, gaslighting, and conservative bias. even ignoring the issue of photoshopping, why choose this specific 2 year old photo of jeremy corbyn in the first place if the aim wasn’t to deliberately fit a narrative they wanted to construct.
i’m sure the conservative party would appreciate seeing the following below. the quote used is indeed factual.