Thursday, April 27, 2017

95 years on and virtually nothing has changed


If you use the mainstream media as your primary source of political information you are willingly allowing yourself to be misled.

A London School of Economics study found that just 11% of newspaper articles about Jeremy Corbyn bother to accurately represent a single one of his policies. In the extreme-right Daily Mail and Express the figure was 0%.

If you think the BBC is impartial you're deluding yourself. It was only earlier this year that an internal BBC investigation found that their politics editor Laura Kuenssberg fabricated a fake story about Jeremy Corbyn to launch a partisan political attack on him. She was allowed to keep her job, and she's still pushing so much pro-Tory bias that she recently warped the story of Theresa May hiding from the press into an "isn't Jeremy Corbyn shit" Tweet!

The UK print media is overwhelmingly dominated by right-wing propaganda rags, and even the supposed left-liberal media outlets (The Guardian, Mirror and Independent) that have much smaller circulations repeatedly fail to hold the Tory government to account for their shockingly woeful track record.and instead focus on dividing the opposition or lazily "churnalising" government press releases.

Just look at the appalling track record of the Tory government:
  • The Tories have created a social care funding crisis with their £4.6 billion worth of cuts. This means even more pressure on the NHS, more pressure on unpaid carers, and more vulnerable people dying.
  • The Tories just introduced the most extreme surveillance laws of any developed nation on earth that allow over 20,000 state employees to snoop on your private data, (including thousands of non-terrorism related workers employed by agencies like the Health and Safety Executive, The Gambling Commission and the Food Standards Agency).
  • In 2016 the Tories voted down an opposition amendment to their Housing Bill to ensure that all rented properties are "fit for human habitation". Just imagine the mentality of a party that believes that landlords shouldn't have an obligation to ensure they ensure their properties are habitable before they rent then to people to live in.

Despite all of this material to attack the Tories with and much more, the mainstream press continue cheerleading for them, and allowing the ridiculously backwards Tory "strong and stable leadership" mantra to go unchallenged.

Just think about it. Is it any wonder that the tax-dodging newspaper billionaires and the hacks who work for them are so biased in favour of the Tories given that Jeremy Corbyn is vowing to clamp down on tax-dodgers and make sure that the super-rich actually pay their way?

So never mind the newspaper billionaires, push out those who have brought your country to the verge of ruin.

Well, at least check out some of the Labour Party policies that the right-wing billionaire press barons don't want you thinking about before you decide how to vote.



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How the Tories used mass immigration to create a fake recovery


Two of the most commonly occurring arguments in the Tory tribalist arsenal are the cherry-picking of economic statistics to make it look like the Tories have done a good job of managing the economy, and the fearmongering about Labour and mass immigration.

In this article I'm going to show that not only are these arguments completely wrong-headed, but that they're also mutually exclusive.

The fake economic recovery


If the Tories have done such a wonderful job of recovering the economy how is it possible that UK workers have suffered the worst wage collapse anywhere in the developed world except crisis stricken Greece?

If the Tories have done such a fantabulous job of making the country richer, why are they still shutting down hospitals, gutting local government spending, laying off police and other emergency service workers, slashing the education budget, systematically impoverishing disabled people, and condemning yet another 250,000 children to poverty with their cuts to the child welfare budget and in-work benefits?

The answer of course is that the economy isn't actually growing in real terms at all, but that they've created a fake economic recovery by measuring their success by increases in GDP (a measure of total economic activity) whilst letting record numbers of immigrants into the country under Theresa May's watch at the Home Office.

Theresa May's immigration record

In 2010 Theresa May promised to reduce net migration to below 100,000, but what she actually managed to achieve as Home Secretary was the biggest migration inflow in history, with the annual rate peaking at over 300,000 several times.

In November 2015 immigration reached an all time record high of 336,000, meaning Theresa May was missing her arbitrary target by an astounding 236%! Amazingly the right-wing anti-immigration mob adore her because she regularly spouts a load of divisive anti-migrant rhetoric, and they clearly enjoy Theresa May's immigrant bashing so much they allow themselves to forget that she's actually let in more immigrants than any Labour Home Secretary ever did!

GDP per capita

It's absolutely obvious that the UK economy would be seen to be growing more quickly than other developed economies if their population is increasing at a much faster rate due to the huge migration influx that happened under Theresa May's watch at the Home Office.

The only sensible way to measure the UK's relative economic performance under these circumstances is to measure performance using GDP per capita (the total amount of economic activity divided by the actual population).

When we look at the GDP per capita figures, it's clear that the UK isn't recovering at all, in fact it's suffered a lost decade where the amount of economic activity per person has actually slumped after the figures are adjusted for inflation.

In 2007 the amount of economic activity per person in the UK was $49,950 in current US dollars, by 2015 it had slumped to $43,930 [source]. Since the vote for Brexit the pound has lost about 15% of its value against the dollar, meaning another slump in per capita GDP is on the cards once the 2016 figures have been calculated.

Tory sympathisers will obviously believe anything

The evidence is absolutely clear that the UK has been getting poorer under Tory misrule, but that it's been offset by the mass immigration that happened under Theresa May's watch at the Home Office. The only reason the economy looked like it was growing was that the population was growing so quickly due to Theresa May's wave of mass immigration.

It just goes to show how the forelock-tugging Tory tribalist is willing to believe anything their lords and masters tell them.

They ignore the wealth of evidence that the country is getting poorer (the shrinking wages, the incessant Tory cuts and the still ballooning national debt) in order to celebrate crude out-of-context GDP figures that only look reasonably good due to mass immigration.

Then they believe the right-wing press that Labour is responsible for mass immigration when it's actually their beloved Theresa May who let in more immigrants than anyone else, which is the only reason the crude GDP figures they're wildly celebrating over look any good at all.

Just imagine the level of blustering under-informed party political tribalism it would take to argue that the Tories' mass immigration-boosted GDP figures are a measure of Tory economic success, whilst simultaneously decrying Labour for supposedly being in favour of mass immigration!  


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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Ruth Davidson says you should vote against the Tories if you have a shred of human decency


When the Scottish parliament debated the despicable Tory rape clause the Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson advised the UK public to vote against the Tories if they find the rape clause abhorrent.

To get an idea of how abhorrent the Tory rape clause is, consider the fact that it even managed to unite the Scottish Labour Party and the SNP in opposition to it (getting Scottish Labour to agree with the SNP on anything is no mean feat). The Scottish Greens and the Lib-Dems also strongly opposed it.

During the debate the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said "no woman anywhere should have to prove she's been raped in order to get tax credits for their child. I can't believe in 2017 that I'm having to stand up in the Scottish Parliament and make that argument".

The Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale called the rape clause "an absolutely sickening state of affairs" and quoted from an email from a rape victim in her condemnation of the policy.

The Lib-Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton said that the policy of compelling women to provide evidence that they have been raped in order to obtain Tax Credits for their children "has no place in a civilised society".

The Green MSP Ross Greer said that "when you cut through the tank-riding, bagpipe-playing bravado, Ruth Davidson is just another cruel member of a cruel party".

The whole idea of limiting Tax Credits is abhorrent in itself, especially given the severe wage repression that UK workers have suffered since the Tories came to power in 2010. The majority families receiving tax credits these days are working families, not the unemployed.

The Tory welfare cuts that the abhorrent rape clause relates to will end up driving another 250,000 UK kids into poverty, and that's on top of the 400,000 extra kids growing up in poverty since 2010.


When the issue was voted on the only MSPs to vote against the motion to condemn the rape clause were the Tories. All of the other parties voted in favour. The motion to condemn the rape clause was passed by 91 votes to 31.

During her evasive defence of the rape clause policy (in which she evaded using the word rape) the Scottish Tory leader said that "if people across the UK do not support it, then there is an option on June the 8th to ask someone else to have a go".

In other words, if you find the rape clause abhorrent, you should vote against the Tories.

So take it from Ruth Davidson. If you have a shred of human decency, then make sure to vote against the Tories on June 8th no matter where you live.


 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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7 years of Tory misrule - sources


After the last seven years of Tory misrule you'd have to be utterly divorced from reality to believe a Tory when they try to claim that they ensure that the benefits of their governance are felt by everyone across all of society. Such a claim is so backwards it's ridiculous, but apparently an awful lot of people actually buy into such backwards Tory rhetoric, otherwise they'd be cratering in the polls for talking such Orwellian rubbish instead of actually leading.

At Prime Minister's Questions Theresa May actually tried to claim that she's going to deliver economic benefits across all levels of society in precisely the way that the Tories haven't been doing since 2010.

I decided to create an infographic to counter this ridiculously backwards propaganda with some actual facts. This is the article to go with the infographic listing the sources in case anyone is in any doubt about the fact that the Tories have been ruling for the benefit of the super-rich minority at the expense of everyone else for the last 7 years.

1. Longest sustained decline in workers' wages on record


Sources: Evening Standard, Guardian, Financial Times

2. Wages still 10% below 2007 levels in real terms
Sources: Independent, BBC, The Times (paywall)


3. Most unaffordable house prices in history

Sources: Financial Times, Office for National Statistics

4. 400,000 more children growing up in poverty

Sources: Mirror, Child Poverty Action Group


5. 1 million+ reliant on food bank handouts

Source: Independent (The Trussell Trust supplied food packages to 554,000 different people, and they're only one of the food bank organisations accounting for less than half the total, meaning packages have been likely distributed to more than a million different individuals, before you even get to estimating how many children were fed on food bank handouts)

6. Systematic impoverishment of disabled people

Sources: Multiple sources collated in this AAV article.

7. Super-rich minority literally doubled their wealth

Sources: Guardian, Telegraph


Conclusion

In order to accept Theresa May's claim that she will rule for the benefit of all, you'd have to completely disregard the last 7 years of Tory rule. You'd have to literally deny reality in order to imagine that there's any reason whatever to believe her completely backwards rhetoric.

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The searing hypocrisy of the right-wing "Corbyn talked to the IRA" brigade


One of the most commonly occurring personal attack points that right-wingers use against Jeremy Corbyn is that he openly talked to the IRA in the 1980s and '90s.

The problem with this right-wing narrative (like with so many other right-wing narratives) is that it's totally undermined by facts and reality.

These people know that Corbyn talked to the IRA because he did it openly, but at the very same time Corbyn was openly talking to the IRA the political establishment were conducting secret backdoor deals with them.
It's astoundingly hypocritical for right-wingers to slam Corbyn for having openly talked to the IRA when the political establishment they're defending were doing the same thing in but in secret for decades. But then hypocrisy (which stems from fact-aversion and immunity to cognitive dissonance) is an extremely common trait amongst right-wingers, and especially extreme right-wingers isn't it?


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How Chuka Umunna actually helped deliver what he's warning against


The Labour Party MP Chuka Umunna has written an article for the Independent warning that Theresa May's snap election is just a power-grab designed to give her "the freedom to go back on all the promises made by her and by the Leave campaigners with little meaningful challenge in Parliament".

He also warned that a thumping majority would allow Theresa May to deliver the wet dream of the fanatical hard-right wing of the Tory Party; a "no deal" Brexit that "would mean us defaulting onto WTO trading terms, leading to high tariffs on all our imports and exports; a job-destroying, price-raising nightmare scenario that would leave working people worse off".

He's right of course. Theresa May has admitted it herself that this election is a power grab to ensure she gets to dictate the future of the UK without any kind of proper democratic scrutiny, and I've been warning of the dangers of a "no deal" strop away from the Brexit negotiating table ever since Theresa May made the threat of it the centrepiece of her so-called "negotiating strategy".

He's also right to warn of the danger of a "no deal" flounce away from the negotiating table that would leave millions of ordinary Brits worse off, while the wealthy elites insulate themselves from the economic consequences.


The glaring problem though is that Chuka and his ilk could have been holding the Tories to account over their Brexit shambles like this from the very beginning, but instead they used the Brexit vote to launch their own self-serving pre-planned (and hopelessly failed) coup plot against their own democratically elected party leader.
  • Instead of every Labour MP repeatedly pointing out that Theresa May's "Brexit means Brexit" rhetoric was a meaningless platitude to mask the fact that the Tories had no coherent negotiating strategy whatever ...
Chuka and the other coup-plotter Labour MPs threw away the best opportunity to rubbish the Tories in decades in order to launch a pre-planned attack their own party leader, dividing the opposition at the very moment the nation needed a unified opposition more than ever.

If Theresa May gets the whopping great majority that she needs in order to launch the socially and economically ruinous "no deal" cliff edge Brexit that Umunna is rightly warning about, the Labour coup-plotters must admit that the distraction of the ridiculously ill-timed and ultimately failed Anyone But Corbyn coup was one of the main reasons such a disastrous scenario ever became such a strong possibility.

If Chuka and his coup-plotter mates had concentrated on holding Theresa May to account from the moment she was appointed to power, instead of focusing most of their efforts on an internal Labour Party squabble, there's no way she could have put herself in such a strong position to deliver the ruinous "no deal" nuclear Brexit that the fanatical hard-right wing of the Tory party have wanted all along.

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The Kuenssberg thought experiment


Theresa May is running scared of a head-to-head TV debate with Jeremy Corbyn and she's running scared of an unscripted TV debate with the other party leaders too.

Not only is our "strong and stable" Prime Minister terrified of being held to account by her political opponents, she's also petrified of the general public too. She launched her opportunistic self-serving election campaign in front of a hand-picked audience of Tory loyalists (Corbyn launched his in the streets) and at another micro-managed Tory publicity event the staff at the factory she visited were banned from talking to the press.

The BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg is notorious for her anti-Corbyn bias, in fact she's so bad that a BBC investigation concluded that she fabricated a fake anti-Corbyn story in order attack him, but somehow she was allowed to keep her job at the taxpayer funded BBC.

Amazingly when Theresa May went into hiding on April 24th Kuenssberg responded to the story on Twitter by turning Theresa May's cowardice into an attack on Jeremy Corbyn, proclaiming that hiding from the press and the public was some kind of political masterstroke from the Tories because it was allowing Labour to "stew in their own juice".

Let's just try a little thought experiment. Let's imagine that the story was the other way around.

Let's imagine it was Jeremy Corbyn running scared of TV debates with his political rivals. Let's imagine Corbyn launched his election campaign in a political "safe space" surrounded by party loyalists bussed in from over 50 miles away with local members of the public excluded and the press banned from asking questions. Let's imagine that Jeremy Corbyn visited a factory and leaned on the owners to ban their employees from speaking to the press about their opinions on his speech. Let's imagine it was Jeremy Corbyn who had gone into hiding for a whole day during an election campaign.

  • Who thinks that Laura Kuenssberg wouldn't be furiously condemning him for refusing to debate his political opponents?
  • Who thinks Kuenssberg wouldn't be slamming him for hiding in political "safe spaces" and running scared of encounters with actual members of the public?
  • Who thinks Kuenssberg wouldn't be screaming blue murder about him barring the press from several of his campaign events, and banning them from asking questions at several others?
  • Who honestly believes that Kuenssberg would try to spin Corbyn hiding for a whole day into a "isn't Theresa May shit" Tweet?

So then who is daft enough to believe that the BBC can continue to claim to be an impartial public service broadcaster when they employ such a blatantly biased political editor?

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ruth Davidson's bare faced hypocrisy


Ever since Theresa May announced her opportunistic self-serving snap election Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson is at the forefront of the Tory election campaign north of the border.

On Monday April 24th she decided to do a photo shoot with a mobility vehicle charity that helps people with mobility issues explore the Trossachs National Park. She then Tweeted pictures from the photo shoot commenting on how great it is to help people with mobility issues.

The problem with this of course is that the Conservative government in Westminster that Ruth Davidson is trying to bolster has been on a mission to strip as many mobility vehicles off disabled people as possible.

So far Ruth's Tory chums in Westminster have snatched away at least 51,000 mobility vehicles, and the rate of confiscations has risen to an astounding 900 vehicles per week.
One example that Davidson should surely be familiar with was a case in Scotland where the Tory administered DWP confiscated a disabled person's mobility vehicle to save £6,000 per year, only to then award the victim a whopping £65,000 in order to pay for taxis to and from work for the next three years!

It beggars belief that a politician whose party is pursuing suck a malicious (and economically incoherent) policy towards disabled people would sit in a mobility vehicle and proclaim that helping people with mobility issues is a good thing, but any Scottish person will tell you that Ruth Davidson regularly beggars belief.

What the hell is she playing at?


Either Ruth Davidson was completely unaware that the Conservative government has been waging such an outrageous ideological war on disabled people's mobility and welfare, meaning she sat in a mobility vehicle because she was grotesquely ignorant of her own party's policies and didn't see a problem ... or she was fully aware of the Tory policy of snatching mobility vehicles from disabled people and she sat in a mobility vehicle anyway because she's so damned arrogant that she thinks she can get away with anything.

She's either shockingly ignorant and inept, or she thinks politics is just a big joke where you can confiscate mobility vehicles from tens of thousands of disabled people, then sit in a mobility vehicle for a photo shoot and talk about how great it is to help people with mobility issues.

Scottish Conservatives

The Scottish Tories have been rising in the polls through their total obsession with the SNP and the idea of a second independence referendum.

In fact they're so obsessed with the subject they've blatantly been trying to turn Theresa May's opportunistic snap election into an unofficial referendum on Scottish independence.

They're dressing themselves up as the party of unionism but only the most delusional of Scots would ever vote for them after the way they've treated Scotland. From using Scotland as a testing ground for their hated Poll Tax to relegating Scottish MPs to a secondary status where they can't vote on English laws, while preserving the right of English MPs to vote on Scottish laws (every single amendment to the Tory government's Scotland Bill made by a Scottish MP was stripped out again by English Tory MPs).

If you're Scottish and you vote Tory what the hell are you playing at?

Not only have this party treated your country with absolute contempt, they're also the main bloody reason that Scottish independence is such a popular idea. If the Tories in Westminster hadn't misruled Scotland so badly in the first place, you unionists wouldn't be feeling compelled to rally around and support the Scottish Tories, because the SNP and the concept of an independent Scotland wouldn't be anywhere near as popular.

If you vote Tory in Scotland because they're trying to turn Theresa May's opportunistic self-serving snap election into an unofficial referendum on Scottish independence, you're a self-defeating idiot.

More Tories in Westminster means more shockingly malicious Tory policies like the confiscation of mobility vehicles, ideological austerity, disability welfare cuts, rising child poverty, sanctions and the hated rape clause.

More repulsive Tory policies like that imposed on Scotland against their will, and the more popular the Scottish independence cause will continue to become.

The Tories are wrapping themselves in the Union flag and presenting themselves as the solution to "the problem", when in reality they're probably the most significant cause of "the problem" of all!

You'd have to have such a blinkered obsession with unionism to fail to see this, you really would.


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Should rented accommodation be "fit for human habitation"?


In January 2016 the Labour Party tried to add an amendment to the Tory Housing and Development Bill in order to ensure that all rented properties are "fit for human habitation" but Tory MPs (1/3 of whom are landlords) voted the amendment down.

It doesn't seem like too much to ask to specify that if you're going to rent out a house for people to live in, that house should be in a fit state to be lived in, but apparently that's too damned much for the Tory party and their financial backers.

It beggars belief that anyone would try to argue the case that there shouldn't be a rule to prevent unscrupulous slumlords renting out properties that are unfit for people to live in, but that's precisely what the Tory government and their tribalist followers did at the time they shot the Labour Party amendment down.

If you live in rented accommodation you'd have to be completely crackers to vote for a party that voted down a move to ensure that unscrupulous landlords have no right to exploit the housing shortage by renting appalling places to tenants with nowhere else to turn.

Another factor to consider is that since 2010 the Tories have overseen the lowest level of new house building since the 1920s and at a time of soaring demand too (net migration when Theresa May was Home Secretary soared to its highest levels ever). Unsurprisingly this combination of factors helped inflate the housing bubble and push the possibility of home ownership beyond the means of huge numbers of people.

You would have thought that the least the government could do under such circumstances would be to protect the rights of people who are trapped in the private rental market because house prices have soared to their most unaffordable levels ever under their watch, but no.

The Tories are on the side of the worst kind of exploitative buy-to-let slumlords, not yours.

If you live in rented accommodation you'd clearly have to be out of your mind to vote Tory.


 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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