Last night 243 Labour MPs voted against the Tory government’s Brexit bill.
The Tories tried to make as much capital out of this vote as possible by whipping up their Brextremist followers into a rage with outright lies that Labour were “blocking the delivery of a smooth Brexit”, which are a tad difficult to accept at face value given that the Tories and their bigoted DUP backers actually won the vote!
In reality the Labour Party (and other opposition parties) tried to do everything in their power to amend the Tories’ basket case European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, and when virtually all of these amendments were defeated by the Tories and the DUP extremists they bribed into supporting them, Labour had no choice but to vote against this cynical and shambolic power grab the Tories have cobbled together under the guise of leaving the EU.
It’s vital to understand that Labour and the opposition parties tried really hard to improve the EU Withdrawal bill, but the Tories and the DUP fanatics simply scrapped all the changes.
Here are just a few of the amendments that the Tories refused to make to their shambolic legislation:
If they have no intention of using Brexit as a Trojan horse to attack all of these rights, protections, and laws – then why did they scrap the amendments that would have prevented them from doing so?
If they have no intention of using Brexit as an excuse to attack and undermine the powers of the devolved parliaments in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland – then why did they scrap the amendments that would have prevented them from doing so?
And if they have no intention of ploughing ahead with a shambolic “let’s make it up as we go along” hard-right Brexit – then why did they scrap the amendments that would have made them at least conduct economic impact assessments on the final Brexit situation they decide on before moving to enact it?
Labour and the other opposition parties tried to co-operate and improve the Tory Brexit legislation, but the Tories and the DUP lackeys they bribed into supporting them just trashed all the amendments.
This Tory intransigence left Labour with no choice but to vote against the shambolic legislative mess the Tories have put forward.
When historians look back at this time, nobody will blame Labour for at least trying to amend the Tory Brexit legislation to make it fit for purpose.
However now that the Tories have demonstrated their intention to use Brexit as an excuse to attack our rights, scrap our consumer protections, erode our environmental laws, undermine our devolved parliaments, and do so in a reckless make it up as we go along manner with no economic impact assessments to justify their actions, nobody (aside from the ‘we want Brexit at any cost’ extremists) could possibly argue that Labour were wrong to vote against the EU Withdrawal Bill.
The Labour Brexit minister explaining why the Tory EU Withdrawal bill is such a shambles Labour had to vote against it.
— Tom (AAV) (@Angry_Voice) January 18, 2018
The next stage for the EU Withdrawal Bill will be the unelected House of Lords, which will make an interesting spectacle as a bunch of unelected peers attempt to amend this absolute shambles of a Tory power grab to make the bill itself more democratic, and the Tory govenrment more accountable for their actions.
As the rest of us were celebrating the New Year, the Tories decided to quietly sneak out an announcement that they’d appointed the vile hard-right polemicist Toby Young to their new (and supposedly impartial) universities watchdog.
Within a matter of hours it became clear that the Tories had failed to do even the slightest due diligence on the guy they were handing a job to. Not only did Toby Young have a disgusting back catalogue of misogynistic, homophobic, and downright disgusting Tweets, he’d also been attending secretive pro-eugenics conferences full of white supremacists and paedophilia apologists, and writing articles attempting to rehabilitate the concept of eugenics.
Eventually, after a nine day shit-storm over his repulsive comments and views, Toby Young resigned, and any sensible and/or vaguely competent political party would have looked into how they managed to appoint someone with such an appalling track record, but not the Tories.
On the very same day that Toby Young resigned over his back catalogue of despicable articles and Tweets, Theresa May appointed the recently elected Tory MP Ben Bradley as Vice Chair for Youth.
Apparently his job would be to get more young people to engage with the Conservative party.
Had they bothered to check Bradley’s Internet history before appointing him, they would have come across a truly disgusting blog post calling for the sterilisation of unemployed people, as if unemployment is some kind of genetic disease, rather than a necessary condition in capitalist economies.
I mean just think about it, how else are the exploitative capitalist class going to extract as much profit from the labour force as possible if there isn’t a permanent pool of unemployed workers ready to replace any worker who agitates too loudly for pay raises or better working conditions?
One of the most shocking things about his elitist views on unemployment is that Bradley is the first ever Tory MP in the former mining town of Mansfield.
If anyone should know that unemployment can be thrust upon people, families, and even entire communities through no fault of their own, then surely it’s people in a former mining town that was socially and economically decimated by the closure of the mines (as well as the textiles industry and the Mansfield brewery)?
But no, they’ve actually gone and elected this elitist Tory prig as their MP.
How someone with such vile elitist views about the sterilisation of the poor ever made it through the selection process to become a Tory parliamentary candidate is bizarre enough, but his appointment to Theresa May’s government as a kind of youth engagement officer, well it just defies belief doesn’t it?
Bradley and his right-wing backers have attempted to defend his comments by making out they happened ages ago, but 2012 wasn’t that long ago, and his comments were made in defence of Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare cuts, as if sterilisation of the unemployed is somehow a natural extension of Tory party welfare policy.
We all know that if Labour (or any other political party) had appointed someone with such vile views to an official position, the Tories, the right-wing dominated print media, and the Guido Fawkes smear-mongering operation would be in all out attack mode over it. But because this guy is a Tory, they’re churning out excuses, and pretending that the Tory mask hasn’t slipped.
Theresa May has decided that someone who has so recently expressed such vile elitist views is an appropriate person to try to engage young people with right-wing politics.
But the truth is obvious for everyone to see. Not only did the Tory party welcome Bradley with open arms and promote him to an official position within the party, and either they did no due diligence on his background at any state, or they did do due diligence and concluded that sterilise the poor blog posts are well aligned with the Tory party ethos.
The Tory mask has well and truly slipped, and Theresa May’s decision to let Bradley keep his job could well backfire. Perhaps he has more extreme pro-eugenics views lurking around in his past, and even if not, any youth Bradley tries to get hooked on right-wing politics can be easily warded off with warnings “don’t listen to him, he’s the sterilise the poor guy”.
The collapse of the construction and outsourcing giant Carillion is a textbook example of the Tory privatisation ideology in action.
We now have 43,000 workers worrying over their jobs; hundreds of public services at risk (including hospitals, schools, prisons & other public infrastructure); a government in chaos because they carried on handing out £billions in contracts to this stricken company even after three profit warnings; and a pension fund with a £600 million black hole in it (which will be bailed out by the taxpayer).
Meanwhile executives at the company stand accused of rewriting their bonus rules in 2016 (when the company was already in huge trouble) so that they could keep all their bonuses, even in the case of corporate collapse.
A bunch of private profiteers has walked away with stacks of cash, leaving the public to pick up the bill for sorting out the chaos they’ve created.
However, the problem is that the Tories are pro-privatisation extremists. There’s no way they’d bring the services back in house to protect jobs and public services. Their fanatical hard-right ideology prevents them from doing that, so they’ll scrabble around trying to get other private sector profiteers to take over Carillion’s contracts, and likely pay extortionate inflated prices, because other private sector companies know that the Tories need them to take over the contracts more than they actually need the contracts themselves.
The corporate executives got rich. The shareholders were handed dividends every year as the company drained vast sums out of employees’ pension schemes. And now the scam has collapsed, the Tories are going to ensure that the taxpayer covers the cost by bailing out the pension fund, and by re-tendering all the contracts at inflated prices.
From a taxpayers’ perspective, or from the perspective of good governance, the Carillion collapse is an absolutely scandalous failure.
However from a Tory party perspective it’s actually another success story, because it’s yet another example of the private sector soaking up all the profits at the taxpayers’ expanse, then dumping the debts onto the taxpayer when the hollowed-out husk of the company collapses into liquidation.