Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The lame sexist pun isn't even the most ridiculous thing about the "Legs-it" article


The Daily Mail's decision to trivialise the meeting between Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May was hardly surprising stuff from an extreme-right hate comic with a long history of promoting fascism, bigotry, sexism and homophobia.

Other people have complained extensively about the sexist nature of the "Legs-it" headline but few have pointed out that the rest of the article is a load of absolute twaddle finished of with an astoundingly hypocritical conclusion.

The article was written by the obnoxious Sarah Vine (spouse of the Tory MP, school privatiser, leading anti-intellectual, historical revisionist and high profile Brexit campaigner Michael Gove) so it's no surprise that the article declared Theresa May the winner of the women's style competition, but some of the prose looked like the kind of stuff a creepy stalker would write about his victims rather than an article that has been given the front page lead in Britain's "newspaper of the year"!

Apparently Theresa May has "famously long extremities" and "elegant" fingers, while Nicola Sturgeon has "more shapely shanks" than Theresa May and "chocolate button eyes".

The only shocking thing about this kind of sexist Daily Mail analysis of female physical appearance is that the women under scrutiny were adult females for a change, rather than underage teenage girls.


The creepy obsession with the physical appearance of the two politicians who will have the most influence over the future direction of the UK was finished off with one of the most extraordinarily hypocritical warnings against Scottish independence you're ever likely to come across.

Apparently the wife of one of the most high profile Brexiters of all thinks Scottish independence is a bad idea because it would be "a wild, dangerous leap into the unknown, a glorious moment of rebellion which could all too easily lead to a lifetime of regrets"!

The fact that the wife of one of the most high-profile Brexiter politicians can draw such a conclusion in the leading article of the pro-Brexit Daily Mail just goes to show the absolute contempt that Daily Mail hacks must have for their readers.

Are Daily Mail readers really so intensely stupid that they're incapable of grasping the idea that "a wild, dangerous leap into the unknown, a glorious moment of rebellion which could all too easily lead to a lifetime of regrets" is actually a perfect description of Brexit, and that a referendum on Scottish independence would be a chance for the Scottish electorate to actually escape this wanton act of social and economic self-harm?


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"Taking back control" by handing our railways to the Chinese!


The wonderful golden dawn that the Leave campaign promised should be on the horizon, but in the week that the Tories finally get around to triggering Article 50 it looks distinctly like business as usual with the Tory Transport minister announcing his plan to hand yet another chunk of our rail network to a foreign state owned rail company.

Every time the Tories announce that they're handing another chunk of our rail network over to a foreign state owned company they do it with great fanfare, but no detail at all on how much UK taxpayers' cash is going to handed out in subsidies to these companies.

When the Tories announced that they were handing control of the East Anglia franchise to Dutch state railway in 2016 they made a great big song and dance about how wonderful it was going to be, and the story is no different now that they're announcing their intention to hand control of the South Western franchise to a consortium backed by the Hong Kong state rail system.

So in Tory Brexit Britain "taking back control" means handing the Chinese a load of subsidies to run a chunk of our rail network for seven years!

The rail privatisation farce continues


After suffering over two decades of the Tory rail privatisation agenda the UK has a shockingly expensive and overcrowded rail network from which private companies and foreign states extract £billions in profits.

The British rail network is an absolute shambles and the overwhelming majority of people support renationalisation. Unfortunately the Tories are in power and they're determined to keep their fractured, overcrowded rip-off privatisation farce going for as long as possible, even if the beneficiaries end up being the state rail systems of other countries.

In fact the Tories hate Britain so much that the UK is the only state that is prohibited from bidding for franchises to run chunks of the UK rail network!

Anyone who thinks this is all going to change after Britain leaves the EU is sadly deluded. 


Everything will still be up for sale to foreign interests in Tory Brexit Britain. The main difference will be that in Brexit Britain the new foreign owners of our infrastructure, businesses and services will be freed from all the pesky EU "red tape" like workers' rights, consumer protection laws, and environmental legislation, so they'll be freer to exploit, defraud and poison our environment in pursuit of profits to extract back to their own countries.  

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Nigel Farage will quit the UK if his Brexit baby turns out to be a disaster


Nigel Farage has said that if Brexit turns out to be a disaster he'll "go and live abroad".

He made the comments when a caller to his LBC radio show asked him whether he would apologise to the British people if Brexit turns out to be a disaster. [more coverage]

Farage refused to admit that he would apologise to the British people, citing the lack of apology from Tony Blair and Alistair Campbell as some kind of warped justification. However Farage is clearly desperately grasping at straws if he's comparing his political legacy to the catastrophic invasion and occupation of Iraq, and citing Tony Blair's behaviour as some kind of valid moral precedent.


The most hypocritical thing about Farage admitting his desire to flee the UK if his Brexit baby turns out to be some kind of evil abomination is the fact that this rabid anti-immigrant zealot would be turning himself into a immigrant somewhere else in the world in order to escape the consequences of the thing he spent his entire political life campaigning for.

It's interesting to consider where Farage might end up fleeing too.

The most likely destination at the moment seems to be the United States, where he could work as Donald Trump's butler, but who knows how long the shambolic Trump Presidency will actually last before he faces impeachment, or is toppled by his own party?

It would be a grand irony if Farage ended up seeking refuge from Brexit in one of the 27 remaining EU states, but it's not difficult to imagine such a brazen display of hypocrisy, especially given the way he was perfectly happy to collect hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of EU salary and expenses in return for being one of the laziest MEPs in the entire European parliament.

Another potential option for Farage could be Scotland. If Brexit turns out to be the straw that broke the Union's back, Farage could seek refuge from the Brexit chaos in independent Scotland. This option is a bit less likely than the US or elsewhere in the EU though, because Farage is hardly "Mr Popular" in Scotland.


The main thing to consider about Farage's admission that he'd flee the UK if Brexit turns out to be a disaster is the fact that he's got the economic freedom to do it. Most of the people who will suffer the rising inflation, wage depreciation, job losses, service cuts and losses of human rights after Brexit will be those without the economic means to up sticks and flee the country for less catastrophically ruined pastures.

By admitting that he's willing to simply run away from the mess he's made, Farage has clearly demonstrated the problem with Brexiteer politicians: They've always known that they have the economic means to avoid the potentially awful consequences of what they've been demanding, which means that they've been gambling with other people's lives and livelihoods, not with their own.



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Monday, March 27, 2017

They're not gambling with their own livelihoods, they're gambling with other people's


Theresa May's threat-based EU negotiation tactics are a ridiculously dangerous game of brinkmanship. The Brexit minister David Davis has openly admitted that the Tory government did absolutely no research into how harmful a "no deal" situation would be to the UK economy before they decided to use the threat of it as their main "negotiating tactic".

In January 2017 Theresa May's clown costume speech was wildly celebrated by the hard-right pro-Brexit press, but it was clearly an absolute shambles of a speech. The idea of making a "do as we say or we'll blow up an economic bomb" threat the absolute centrepiece of your so-called "negotiation strategy" is ridiculous enough in its own right, but when you've not done any research into how big that bomb is, nor whether the UK will actually suffer the most damage from it, well, it's so reckless and inept it's beyond description.

The hard-right press may adore Theresa May's threat-based posturing but the UK manufacturing industry certainly don't. They understand that the consequences of a retaliatory nuclear Brexit will fall heavily on the UK manufacturing sector. A report from the EEF has savaged Theresa May's ridiculous rhetoric. The report states that Theresa May's endlessly repeated "no deal is better than a bad deal" mantra is "unacceptable" and highlights 10 ways in which the threatened "no deal" scenario would devastate the UK manufacturing industry.

The EEF's Chief Executive Terry Scuoler said that "The idea of being able to walk away empty-handed might be a negotiating tactic, but it would in reality deliver a risky and expensive blow".

The problem of course is that the Tories and the hard-right press have already conditioned millions of people into believing the bonkers rhetoric that "No deal is better than a bad deal", which means that any concession to the EU whatever will be inevitably be taken as evidence that the UK is getting a bad deal, and lead to furious calls for the Tories to walk away from the negotiations with nothing.

The manufacturing sector provides some 2.7 million UK jobs and in the month to April 2016 the EU accounted for 52% of the value of manufactured goods exported from the UK. However the Tories and their cheerleaders in the hard-right press don't give a damn about stuff like this. As far as they're concerned these manufacturing jobs are totally disposable. They're just negotiating collateral. Just chips on the table in the enormous political gamble they're making.


If the Tories do launch a ruinous job-destroying nuclear Brexit, the hard-right press hacks will defend them to the hilt by seeking to transfer the blame onto everyone else. The EU are the most obvious target, but somehow blaming Jeremy Corbyn for the job losses would fit neatly with pre-existing press biases, and the pro-Brexit press blaming "remoaners" for the appalling consequences of what Brexiters actually voted for would hardly come as a surprise at all. As long as the people who are principally responsible for the disaster (the Tories and the tabloid hacks themselves) are insulated from blame.

It doesn't really matter to the hard-right if their ludicrous "no deal" threat eventually leads to the annihilation of tens or hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs. In their minds those kinds of jobs are just plebs' jobs after all, and they'll still have their parliamentary salaries/pensions and their well paid jobs as right-wing tabloid hacks whatever the outcome of Theresa May's recklessly incompetent threats. 


Even if a few Tory politicians end up losing their seats over the ensuing economic chaos, they'll still have their parliamentary pensions to fall back on, plus a load of corporate directorships, and maybe even jobs working as writers (or editors) for the hard-right propaganda rags.

These people are economically insulated from the devastating economic consequences of their threatened "no deal" scenario. They're not gambling with their own lives and livelihoods, they're gambling with other people's.

The really sad thing is that countless thousands of canteens, toilets and rest rooms in the industries most at threat from a Tory nuclear Brexit will be littered with copies of disgusting hard-right propaganda rags like the Mail, S*n and Express, and as a consequence many of the people whose livelihoods are most at threat from the threatened "no deal" scenario will actually have voted in favour of Brexit and in favour of letting the hard-right fringe of the Tory party use their jobs as bargaining chips in the vast gamble they're making with the entire future of the UK economy.



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Friday, March 24, 2017

An open letter to the people who used this woman's picture to spread hatred


Hi there,

You're one of the countless thousands of people who shared the slightly different picture of this poor woman (the carefully selected image where she didn't look quite so distressed) in order to whip up a storm of anti-Muslim hatred. This is an open letter to you explaining why you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.


Here's what the woman said about the incident and the way her image has been appropriated as extreme-right propaganda:

"Not only have I been devastated by witnessing the aftermath of a shocking and numbing terror attack, I've also had to deal with the shock of finding my picture plastered all over social media by those who could not look beyond my attire, who draw conclusions based on hate and xenophobia" [source]

It doesn't take a great deal of empathy to understand how devastating it must be to have been caught up in the aftermath of an appalling terrorist attack, and then to have had an out-of-context picture of you (taken as you called your family from the epicentre of a terrorist atrocity to tell them that you're OK) appropriated by extreme-right fanatics in order to whip up a storm of hatred.

The problem is though is that if you've adopted the divisive extreme-right hatemongering mentality, it's likely you're extremely lacking in basic human decency or empathy, which means you're likely incapable of feeling shame at the grotesque misrepresentation you've helped to perpetrate.


The poor woman who had her picture appropriated by the extreme-right wasn't the only one to be horrified. The photographer Jamie Lorriman also spoke out about the way his picture had been cruelly misappropriated by anti-Muslim hatemongers like the right-wing paedophile apologist Milo Yiannopoulos.

The grand irony of course is that by helping the extreme-right fanatics to whip up a storm of anti-Muslim hatred, you've actually been doing the terrorists work for them.

The extreme-right and the terrorists have far more in common with each other than they do with decent ordinary people. They both thrive in atmospheres of fear. They both incite division and hatred. They both crave for a violent clash of civilisations and work tirelessly to make their sick dreams come true.


By sharing misleading extreme-right propaganda like the desperately misleading image of this poor woman, you've actually been doing the work of the terrorists for them by spreading even more hatred and division.

The sad thing is that most of you will be far too cowardly to admit this fact even to yourselves, let alone to the rest of us. In fact I suspect most of you will have been too cowardly to even dare read this letter, even though in many cases it will have been posted on your social media account by friends and family who were rightly horrified at your shockingly divisive behaviour.

I genuinely hope that you have the strength of character to admit to yourself that what you did was cruel and divisive, and that this experience helps you to learn to be more careful about what you share in future.

Regards


Tom (AAV)



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UKIP's economic spokesman says Single Market access is a "critical priority"!


Mark Reckless and Douglas Carswell were two of two of the most influential politicians in delivering Brexit. It was their defections to UKIP that spooked David Cameron into offering an EU referendum manifesto pledge in order to prevent even more Tory politicians and voters abandoning the party for UKIP.

Of course David Cameron's short-term EU referendum gamble failed. His gamble did deliver an unexpected Tory majority at the 2015 General Election, but within a little over a year Cameron was resigning in disgrace after throwing the entire economic future of the UK into uncertainty.

Cameron and his cabinet were so full of hubris that they didn't even bother to develop any kind of contingency plan for what to do if the public ignored his pitiful fearmongering and voted for Brexit, so after the Brexit vote the Tories spent the next seven months desperately trying to cobble together some kind of Brexit strategy whilst fobbing the public off with utterly inane drivel like "Brexit means Brexit".

When Theresa May finally got around to announcing her Brexit strategy in her woeful January 2017 clown costume speech it turned out that all they had come up with was the diplomatic equivalent of a toddler tantrum; "give us what we want or we'll blow up an economic bomb by quitting the EU without any kind of trade agreement"!

It's clear that with their diplomatic ineptitude the Tories are slow-marching the UK towards a catastrophic nuclear Brexit with no access to the Single Market, and Mark Reckless is terribly complicit in getting us into this precarious situation.

After losing his Westminster seat at the 2015 General Election Mark Reckless soon resurfaced as a UKIP representative in the Welsh Assembly, where he now heads up the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee. This committee has been looking at the potential impact of Brexit on agriculture, the environment and rural communities, and some of their findings are astounding given who their chairman is.

As chairman of the committee Reckless has stated that there is "access to the Single Market place, continuation of financial support and assurances over migrant labour are critical priorities"! [source]

Given that Reckless and his ilk played such a critical role in taking the UK to the brink of a catastrophic "no deal" Tory nuclear Brexit he has some gall to suddenly start crying that the Single Market and EU migrant labour from are actually critically important for Wales!

In a way it's indicative of what a farcical shambles Brexit is, that one of the leading proponents of quitting the EU is now crying about the damage that Theresa May and the three Brexiteers are about to inflict on Wales by quitting the EU.

If Reckless really cared so much about these critically important issues for Wales, how did he ever think it was appropriate to campaign for Brexit when he knew perfectly well that nobody, not least the Tory government, had an actual plan for how to handle it?


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You don't have to be pro-EU to be worried about the Tory Brexit shambles


Ever since David Cameron's ridiculously rushed EU referendum debate last year I've faced near constant accusations that because I have serious concerns about the social and economic damage of a shambolic Tory Brexit, that I must therefore be pro-EU.

The regularity of these kinds of accusations just go to show how absolutist "black vs white" political tribalism is incredibly popular these days.

An awful lot of people simply don't want political commentators with nuanced opinions. They want political commentators who either comfort them by reinforcing their own opinions, or political commentators who they can hate for contradicting their beliefs. 

Since I've been doing Another Angry Voice I've probably written more critical analysis of the EU than 99% of Brexit supporters, yet an awful lot of Brexiters hate me and crudely traduce my work as pro-EU because I'm unwilling to share their blind optimism about a Brexit administered by a bunch of brazen incompetents like Theresa May, the disgraced Liam Fox, Boris Johnson, and David Davis (a man who was recently described by an AAV reader as "a walking facepalm").

My position on Brexit has been consistent since well before the referendum. The EU undeniably has a lot of faults (like all major institutions do), but quitting and giving the hard-right fringe of the Tory party the opportunity to redesign the UK according to their completely bonkers ideology was always going to be a classic case of "out of the frying pan, into the fire", especially for the poorer regions that benefit so much from EU Structural Adjustment Funds.

Unfortunately it doesn't matter how many times a person tries to explain that you don't have to be rabidly pro-EU to have concerns about the absolute shambles the Tories are making of Brexit, the baying Brexiter enforced optimism mob will always try to shout them down as "traitor", "sore loser", "whinger", "pro-EU""remoaner" ...

This kind of tribalistic abuse is an inevitable consequence when politics gets dumbed down to such an extent that so many people these days willingly buy into "black vs white" political absolutism.

All I can say is don't allow yourself to be intimidated. My guess is that a significant proportion of the abusive Brexiter enforced optimism mob are intent on shouting down anyone with concerns about the unfolding Tory Brexit shambles because they're terribly afraid that the people raising concerns are actually right. They're afraid that that their wildly optimistic Brexit fantasy is gradually developing into a chaotic Tory nightmare.

They're desperate to shout down anyone who questions the abilities of the Tory Brexiteers not because they're confident that Brexit is going to be a marvellous success, but because they're terribly afraid of admitting to themselves that the whole thing is developing into an absolute bloody shambles.


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How do you feel about your taxes being used like this?


The degrading, dehumanising and discriminatory Tory Work Capacity Assessment regime for disabled people costs far more money to administer than it will ever be able to save in reduced benefits payments.


The astoundingly counterproductive* Tory sanctions regime against unemployed people costs way more to administer than it will ever save in reduced benefits payments.

This means that the Tories are actually using your taxes to subsidise their ideologically driven abuse of the poorest and most vulnerable in society. There's really no other explanation. The Tory party has gone on and on for years about the importance of austerity and saving money, but here they are wasting huge sums of taxpayers' money to subsidise their malicious punishment regimes for the poor and the disabled.

The response of any decent human being who is capable of basic empathy should be to object.

The response of anyone who cares about how their taxes are actually spent should be to object.

However the response of any selfish "I'm alright Jack" Tory will almost certainly be to make excuses, weave bizarre justification narratives for this wasteful spending, or simply to outright deny the reality of what's going on. 

If you do want to object you can do a few things:
  • You could share this article on social media so other people can learn the truth about the sickening way the Tories are wasting our tax money on such appalling schemes.
  • You could follow disability campaign pages like DPAC and Black Triangle to get a better idea of the appalling way in which disabled people are treated in the UK.
  • Perhaps more importantly you should consider writing to your local MP to ask them whether they approve of our taxes being spent like this, and if they don't, what they are doing to oppose malicious Tory schemes like sanctions and the WCA regime.

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* = The evidence is clear that forcing people into absolute destitution actually makes it less likely they will find work.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The ugly divisive fiction of the extreme-right opportunists


The terrorist who attacked Westminster has now been confirmed as British-born, yet before his origins were revealed the extreme-right were absolutely desperate to use the attack to fuel their divisive anti-immigration, and to misleadingly portray London as a weak, scared and divided city.

The UKIP and Leave.EU bankroller Arron Banks was one of the first to use the attack as an excuse to promote his fanatical and divisive anti-immigration rhetoric. Long before the (British) origins of the attacker were known, Banks started blabbering on about immigration and borders, Retweeting extreme-right comments, and slinging abuse at people who dared contradict his divisive rhetoric.

Nigel Farage was another extreme-right politician to see the carnage as a golden opportunity to spread divisive anti-immigrant nonsense. Instead of waiting for information about who the attacker was, he charged onto Fox News to opportunistically weave the Westminster attack into his personal anti-immigration narrative.

It's not just anti-immigrant sentiments that extreme-right used this attack to promote. They also wanted to instil fear. The woman who will not be named on this blog also scuttled off to Fox News to tell the Americans that in London "people are cowed, people are afraid, people are not united".

The woman who will not be named was obviously lying through her teeth because the vast majority of Londoners are not cowed into submission, they're getting on with their lives and refusing to let the terrorists win. 

London survived the Blitz; London survived loads of IRA attacks in the 70s, 80s, and 90s; London survived the appalling 7/7 bombings; and London will survive this.


The extreme-right want to portray London as a weak city that is quivering with fear because it helps to sell their fanatical  fearmongering agenda to the lucrative American audience, but the reality is totally different.

The real stories are the remarkable displays of bravery in the immediate aftermath of the attack, and the stoic solidarity of Londoners on the day after it.

The extreme-right elements who misleadingly portray London as weak, scared and divided are shameful opportunists who know that their ugly divisive fiction is more marketable to the right-wing news channels in the US than the reality; the stoicism and resilience of London.

The extreme-right don't care about waiting for the facts before they start spouting off.

The extreme-right don't care about the reality that most Londoners are determined to get on with their lives rather than wallowing in fear or self-pity.

The extreme-right are absolutely desperate to use anything they can to spread their agenda of fear and division.

The grand irony of course is that by behaving like this they're doing the work of the Islamist fanatics. The Islamist terrorists want to make us live in abject fear of their attacks. The Islamist terrorists want to create divisions and even more anti-Muslim prejudice in the West.

The extreme-right love to see themselves as defenders of our culture, but by deliberately spreading fear, hatred, and division they're actually reacting in precisely the way the Islamist fanatics want them to.

In fact the extreme-right and the Islamist fanatics both share the same vision. They both crave a violent and destructive clash of civilisations. They're the opposite sides of the same disgusting coin. The Islamist fanatic in ISIS occupied Syria who joyously celebrates the attack on London is no different to the extreme-right fanatic in Britain who is full of glee because they see the attack as another wonderful opportunity to spread their divisive and dishonest hate-fuelled rhetoric.


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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Jeremy Corbyn just totally cornered Theresa May about Tory lies, so she attacked his family life


Remember last year when Andrea Leadsom was vying with Theresa May for the Tory party leadership and the Theresa May camp whipped up a massive storm of synthetic outrage over Leadom's comments about how being a mother made her a good candidate to be Tory leader and Prime Minister?



Remember how Theresa May supporters within the Tory party and the right-wing press interpreted Leadsom's comments as an attack on Theresa May for being childless, and then hounded Leadsom into withdrawing from the Tory leadership contest?

I'm no Leadsom sympathiser whatever, but the way she was pressured into resigning from the Tory leadership race so that Theresa May could be appointed Prime Minister without even facing a ballot of Tory party members was about as cynical a display of contempt for democracy as is possible to imagine.

Fast forward to March 2017 and the outpourings of outrage from Tory party members and the right-wing press are nowhere to be seen over Theresa May's disgusting personal attack against Jeremy Corbyn's family life.

Theresa May resorted to an outrageously misleading below-the-belt personal attack after Corbyn totally cornered her on the fact that the massive education funding cuts her government are enacting are in breech of the Tory manifesto commitment to protect school funding. 



Theresa May's evasive response to being cornered like this was to totally evade admitting that the 2015 Tory manifesto pledge was a lie by attacking Corbyn's family life.

May attacked Corbyn for the fact his son was sent to an exclusive grammar school, but this personal attack was an extraordinarily low blow given that it was Corbyn's principled insistence that his son should go to the local state school that led to the breakdown of his marriage, and that it was his ex-wife, not Corbyn, who insisted on the grammar school education for their son.

Isn't it funny how Tory MPs and the right-wing press can whip up a massive storm of synthetic outrage over Andrea Leadsom's comments that were read as an implicit criticism of Theresa May's family life ... but when Theresa May explicitly attacks Jeremy Corbyn's family life in a grotesquely misleading manner, the silence from Tory politicians and the right-wing media is absolutely deafening.

It's almost as if they're all a massive bunch of hypocrites isn't it?


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