Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"Train-gate" vs "NHS patient safety-gate"


There are two stories about political Jeremies doing the rounds, it's interesting to consider which is actually the most important, and which is being given the most media attention.

Jeremy Hunt

A leaked risk assessment document drawn up by the government's own civil servants revealed serious risks in the 7 Day NHS service that Jeremy Hunt has been pushing.

One of the highlighted risks is that there are simply not enough trained NHS staff to implement the 7 day programme. In the section entitled "workforce overload" the document admits that without sufficient consultants, GPs and other health professionals the full 7 day service simply cannot be delivered.

This revelation is a complete vindication of the Junior Doctors who have always stated patient safety as their number one reason for their strike actions. The Junior Doctors repeatedly argued that without significant additional investment in staff, the choice would be either a deterioration in NHS service coverage, or patient's lives being put at risk by tired and overworked doctors. This leaked risk assessment document proves them absolutely right.

A second subsidiary lie that the report reveals is the way the Tories endlessly harked on about their "Plan" for the 7 Days NHS as if it was an actual plan, rather than a just an empty vote-winning sound bite. The risk assessment document states that the objectives and scope of the project were not properly finalised meaning it was liable to scope creep, and that there was no robust, quality assured plans for the various NHS work streams meaning a likely inability to effectively deal with delays in the project's implementation.

The leaked document reveals that Jeremy Hunt and the Tories repeatedly mislead the public by hiding concerns about the risks to public safety, and again by pretending that they had a proper plan for a 7 days NHS rather than just a vague vote-grabbing sound bite that was always likely to turn into a complete shambles.

Jeremy Corbyn

After Jeremy Corbyn filmed a short clip about over-crowding on Britain's shambolic and massively over-priced private rail franchises onboard a Virgin train, the company responded by breaching the Data Protection Act* and their own privacy policy** by releasing CCTV footage of Jeremy Corbyn apparently walking past empty seats before he recording his piece.

It's absolutely obvious why Richard Branson would want to undermine Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn's policies of renationalising the rail network and ending the ongoing Tory NHS carve-up would clearly hurt Branson's Virgin Health and Virgin Rail business interests.

It's no surprise that the mainstream media and a load of Anyone But Corbyn coup-plotters jumped on the story instead of focusing their efforts on the much more serious case of Jeremy Hunt deliberately provoking a series of Junior Doctors' strikes and misleading the public over the safety risks inherent in his 7 Days NHS project.

I'm not going delve too deeply into the debate over whether there were available seats on the Virgin train or not. There are pictures Corbyn walking past loads of clearly reserved seats, a video clip of him walking through a clearly crowded train and there's public testimony that the train was over-crowded too, but then there's also the Data Protection Act breaching CCTV images of what appear to be unreserved seats on the train. To me the bigger issue actually appears to be that billionaire business tycoons like Richard Branson feel entitled to completely ignore Data Protection laws and use the CCTV data they collect on unsuspecting members of the public to launch political attacks against them, which is all a bit Orwellian for my liking.

The important issue isn't whether there were seats on a particular train. Everyone who has travelled by rail in recent years knows that rip-off prices, unreliable services and dangerous levels of overcrowding are real problems faced by millions of commuters a day.

All rail users have thought "how bloody much?" when buying train tickets (even pre-booked ones); we've all experienced severely delayed or cancelled trains (especially people who are reliant on the abysmal Southern franchise); we've all had to stand on trains that are so jam-packed that it's a filthy perverts' fantasy of inappropriate touching opportunities; and we've all wondered how many people in the severely over-crowded carriage we're travelling in would end up dead if there was some kind of accident.

The sad thing is that people (including an awful lot of Labour people) are so busy going potty over "Traingate" and poring over images and video clips to see if seats on one particular train on one particular day were reserved or not, that they're forgetting all about the fact that the other Jeremy was willing to put the lives of millions of NHS patients at risk, and that he repeatedly and deliberately mislead the public by hiding the safety concerns about his project, and by misusing statistics as propaganda in favour of his dangerous reforms.

I guess that trying to discredit Jeremy Corbyn's rail renationalisation policy is a much more important political agenda for a lot of people that the safety of NHS patients.


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* = "The disclosure of images and information should only take place when it is necessary for such a purpose or for law enforcement purposes". Trying to undermine the pro-nationalisation policy of a politician doesn't really seem to be a "law enforcement purpose" to me.

** = "In certain circumstances we may need to disclose CCTV images for legal reasons. When this is done there is a requirement for the organisation that has received the images to adhere to the Data Protection Act"



Beware of the cry-bullies


The cry-bully debating strategy is a disgustingly cynical and manipulative bad faith debating tactic that is becoming increasingly common in UK political discourse. 

In this article I'm going to describe what cry-bully tactics are in the context of the lamentable decline in the standards of political debate, and then detail some of the worst offenders.


Bad Faith vs Good Faith debating tactics

The vilification of Jeremy Corbyn after the EU referendum debate for daring to treat the electorate like adults by presenting a considered fact-based case for remaining in the UK is evidence that in modern politics good faith debating tactics are considered "useless", "inept", "lacklustre", "half-hearted" and all of the other criticisms hurled at him.

What people 
apparently wanted from Corbyn was  more of the kind of manipulative absolutist propaganda that the rest of the political class were spewing. They didn't want him to treat the electorate like adults, they wanted him to treat us like a bunch of sub-juvenile halfwits who can be goaded into supporting one position or the other through fearmongering, false promises, threats, naive wishful thinking, flag-waving and a great big mound of outright lies.

Political debate has been so corrupted that people haven't just become normalised to bad faith debating tactics, bad faith is now so ubiquitous that people react with horror and derision when they notice someone like Jeremy Corbyn who actually uses good faith debating tactics.


Cry-bully tactics

There are all manner of bad faith debating tactics, but one the most disgusting of all is the cry-bully strategy. This deeply cynical and desperately hypocritical tactic entails goading people with a barrage of insults and smears, then reacting with synthetic outrage when someone eventually retorts in kind with insults of their own.

One of the things that makes cry-bully tactics so effective is that the people using them are usually professional writers or media trained politicians, which means they're adept at finding ways of structuring their insults to really wind people up without resorting to foul language or actual threats, while a certain percentage of the people they infuriate with their insults are bound to be nowhere near as well-educated and articulate, meaning they will retort by slinging abuse laden insults at them.

Cry-bullies are basically above-the-line trolls who deliberately wind up large cohorts of people in order to fish for insults in order to then shriek "look at the abuse I'm suffering"  to smear everyone within the cohort of people that they insulted first.


The cry-bullies

Alex Andreou

The ex-Guardian columnist Alex Andreou gave a masterclass in cry-bully tactics in his Acid Attack article against Jeremy Corbyn and anyone who supports him. The article was absolutely full of smears and insults aimed at riling up anyone who is sympathetic to Jeremy Corbyn, but the article was book-ended with complaints about how he's been bullied for expressing his anti-Corbyn views, and how it's all been so stressful that he had to take a "Twitter break" over it.

Funnily enough Andreou's "Twitter break" didn't stop him from turning up on the Another Angry Voice Facebook page to sling insulting generalisations at everyone who follows my work and to make defamatory claims that I'd falsely attributed quotes to him in my critique of his article (a claim he was far too much of a coward to retract and apologise for after I clearly disproved it).

Apparently it's absolutely fine for members of the punditariat class like Andreou to deliberately wind people up by insulting them and their ideas, to dismiss all criticisms of these utterly cynical tactics by labelling them "nothing but seething abuse" and to deliberately make defamatory accusations in desperate efforts to discredit their debating opponents, but anyone who gets angry with them and retorts in kind is held up as evidence that all Corbynistas are nasty aggressive bullies.

Michael Foster

Michael Foster is the millionaire Labour Party donor who tried to get Jeremy Corbyn barred from the Labour leadership election. After his effort to use the courts to oust Corbyn was thwarted he wrote an extraordinary diatribe for the Daily Mail  entitled "Why I despise Jeremy Corbyn and his Nazi stormtroopers".


In his article he called all Jeremy Corbyn supporters "bullies", "arrivistas", "a divisive, aggressive holier-than-thou cadre of hard-Left socialists", "bullies and arm-twisters", "economically illiterate people", "a mob", "second-rate minds", "the extreme left" and "Nazi stormtroopers" who are guilty of  "wave after wave of inappropriate, democratically damaging and wrongful actions".

After writing an insult laden diatribe like that he had the absolute gall to complain that Corbyn supporters are bullies based on pathetically weak stuff like lies about that notorious brick (you know, the one that wasn't actually thrown through Angela Eagle's constituency office window at all).


Andreou's article was a clear example of cry-bulling, but Foster's article went so much further it's actually quite extraordinary. Imagine the kind of gullible fool it would take to mindlessly accept that the guy slurring his political opponents as "Nazis" in the Daily Mail (of all places) is the innocent victim, while the hundreds of thousands of ordinary people on the other end of this appalling public smear (with no massive mainstream media platform of their own to sling insults, even if they wanted to) are the nasty bullies!

Sadly a lot of people are that gullible, otherwise cry-bully tactics wouldn't work and would be widely held up to ridicule in the mainstream press, instead of the job being left to independent bloggers like me.


Tom Blenkinsop



The Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland has been having a spectacular Twitter meltdown which includes repeatedly yelling "entryist" at people (including lifelong Labour voters), calling for a Stalinist style purge of left-wingers from the Labour Party and blocking thousands of accounts (including me, Harry Leslie Smith, Tom Pride, Owen Jones, The Morning Star and huge numbers of people who have never even interacted with him!).

Blenkinsop is clearly using cry-bully tactics. The vitriol on his Twitter feed is extraordinarily provocative and it's no wonder it's made a number of people absolutely furious. 


The only messages Blenkinsop ever draws attention to by replying to them are the tiny minority that include insults or abusive words and phrases. He has received hundreds of politely worded messages questioning his behaviour, but he just instantly blocks them all. Just check out the #BlockedbyBlenkinsop and #Blenkinblocked Twitter hashtags to see how many people he's been blocking.

It's bad enough that coup-supporting political pundits and a major Labour party donor have been using cry-bully tactics, but it's absolutely outrageous to see an actual Labour MP deliberately riling Labour Party members and voters with a torrent of insults and smears, then cherry-picking only the tiny minority of abusive replies in order to cry about the abuse he's suffering.


Right-wing cry-bullies

The three examples above are all Anyone But Corbyn coup-supporters, which certainly makes it look like there's a concerted effort to use cry-bully tactics to undermine Jeremy Corbyn, but there are plenty of other non-Labour cry-bullies out there too.

One of the most glaring examples of cry-bully tactics happened when a notorious right-wing attention-seeking troll woman (who I have sworn never to name on this blog) read out a selection of mean Tweets that people have sent her. This woman has insulted pretty much everyone on the face of the planet with her attention-seeking right-wing diatribes, so crying about the abuse people send back to her is an absolutely blatant display of cry-bully hypocrisy.


David Torrance

The cry-bully strategy is increasingly common in wider-UK politics thanks to the Anyone But Corbyn coup-plotters, but the people of Scotland are much more familiar with it because the Scottish columnist David Torrance is an absolute master of slinging insults at huge cohorts of people then crying for sympathy when a minority of the people who argue back use insulting words and phrases.

Torrance's use of cry-bully tactics was brilliantly skewered by Stuart Campbell in an article entitled "The Formula". This section relies heavily on the points raised in that article. I strongly advise you to read it for yourself, it really is one of the most devastating take-downs I've seen in years.

Torrance loves to insult people. In one article he referred to all Scottish nationalists, Leave voters and Corbyn supporters as "utterly vacuous". Not just some of them, but all of them. Every single one of them.

The maths is a bit complicated because there is some overlap between the three groups, but it's clear that Torrance has called something like three quarters of the entire Scottish population "utterly vacuous".

Insulting as many people as possible is a very good strategy for provoking angry insult laden diatribes in response so that you can cry about all the abuse that horrible "cyber-nats""Bexiters" and "Corbynistas" are slinging at you, and imply that it's representative of all of the people you insulted, rather than just the tiny minority who swallowed the bait.

After years of using his public platform to sling abuse at all kinds of people, retweeting severe misogynistic abuse, gratuitously comparing people to Donald Trump, and taking people's words completely out of context to score lame political points, Torrance decided to flounce off Twitter and then write an article for the (Rupert Murdoch owned) Times about the trauma of being supposedly bullied off Twitter.



Stuart Campbell explains that when using Torrance style cry-bully tactics it’s important to "emphasise that it’s never your fault for being wrong or deliberately provocative, of course. None of the subjects of your attacks, whether they be powerful politicians or powerless members of the public are ever permitted legitimate anger in reaction to your provocation. They must simply endure it forever in meek silence, even when they’ve been obliged to pay for it through a legally-enforced licence fee. They must ON NO ACCOUNT call you a 'disgruntled walnut' or 'angry Weetabix', for example. The vacuous, dishonest, stupid, bullying cultist cyber-scum".

Campbell concludes his article about Torrance's cry-bully formula with a couple of useful observations:

"The political landscape is shifting faster than anyone can keep up with, and those who see themselves as gatekeepers, interpreting events for the benefit of the poor dumb plebs live in terror of being rendered obsolete by change and by ridicule. Any voices ranged against them must be tainted and discredited, painted as a vicious lynchmob of thugs and bullies ... so expect this routine to be played out many more times over the coming months and years (not just against Scottish independence, but also Jeremy Corbyn and anything else perceived as a threat to the existing order). Because the one thing that can never be allowed to happen is normal people being allowed to speak and think for themselves".



Dealing with cry-bullies

The conclusion is simple. Cry-bullies are appallingly manipulative people. Beware of giving them what they want by retorting to their abuse with insults of your own, because if you do, you're giving them precisely what they're fishing for. You're handing them exactly the ammunition they're looking for to attack you, your ideas, and anyone they care to identify you with.

It's often best to just ignore cry-bullies, but if you do feel compelled to respond to a journalist or politician who has taken to slinging insults in the hope of goading people into insulting them back, it's vital to stay calm.

An "I can see what you're doing" response is one of the best approaches. You could calmly identify the insults and smears they've used, then explain that you know that they're just using such insults in order to provoke inarticulate people into slinging insults back at them so that they can then start crying about the terrible "abuse" they're suffering.

Once they've been rumbled like this. other people can become aware of their cynical and manipulative cry-bully tactics, and any abuse that does get thrown back at them elsewhere in the comments can be seen in its proper context.


 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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Monday, August 22, 2016

Has nobody told Heather Wheeler that the British Empire is finished?


Instead of just enjoying the fact that the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic team managed to finish second in the Olympic medals table, the Tory MP Heather Wheeler took it upon herself to mock up a medal table for the British Empire in order to have an utterly pathetic dig at the EU. 

It shouldn't really be necessary to explain why this was an incredibly tasteless move, but it's not so long since a YouGov opinion poll found that 44% of British people are actually proud of our history of colonialism, so I suppose it's necessary. 

According to YouGov's findings, for every one person who recognises that our history of stealing other people's land, pillaging their resources and subjugating their people is not actually something to be incredibly proud of, there are two people who think that colonialism was a jolly good show!

If we forget about the land theft, the pillaging of resources and the political subjugation of millions of people and just look at a few episodes of famine, slavery and mass genocide, I think that's enough to get the picture that the Empire wasn't just a bunch of jolly japes.

It's certain that modern day Olympic heroes like Usain Bolt (Jamaica), Wayde van Niekerk (South Africa), Michael Phelps (USA), Penny Oleksiak (Canada) and the Fiji Rugby sevens team hold no animosity towards modern UK citizens over the appalling British history of colonialism, but they'd most likely react furiously if you told them that they didn't win their medals for their own countries, but actually for the British Empire.

Interestingly the Tory MP was using Britain's colonial legacy to have a dig at the EU. It's a spectacularly ill-conceived argument to say "look at how well all these countries we once invaded and occupied have done in comparison to your modern political union of democratic states".

Still, I guess a load of desperately ignorant Biffer and Kipper types will adore this harking back to the days of empire when the British could invade other lands with complete impunity, pillaged resources and murdered anyone who got in their way. I guess appealing to the savagely right-wing sentiments of people like that was the point of posting such an image.

I just can't figure out why Heather Wheeler couldn't just be happy with the spectacular over-achievement of UK & NI athletes in the medals table without bringing Britain's appalling history of colonialism into it to have an utterly pathetic dig at the EU.


 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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Tom Blenkinsop's vitriolic Twitter tantrum


The Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Tom Blenkinsop has been having a quite extraordinary cry-bully tantrum on Twitter.

Months of anti-Corbyn drivel

 

Ever since the inept Anyone But Corbyn coup was launched Tom Blenkinsop's Twitter feed has been absolute abomination, with dozens and dozens of tweets attacking the Labour Party leadership and party members, and barely anything criticising the Tories, but over the weekend before ballot papers for the Labour leadership election were sent out he went into complete-meltdown mode.

Here's an example of Blenkinsop's anti-Corbyn drivel before his complete meltdown: "Corbyn is more wooden than a wooden spoon sitting in the wooden draw of a wooden kitchen...in the woods". The guy obviously thinks he's got some kind of searing rapier wit, but before his meltdown it was just cringeworthy babbling like that, retweeting hatchet-job articles from the likes of hard-right blogger and Murdoch stooge Guido Fawkes and repeatedly calling for Stalinist style purges of the Labour Party.

Something snapped

Over the weekend before the ballot papers were sent out something clearly snapped in Blenkinsop. He went from cringeworthy anti-Corbyn chuntering and calling for a Stalinist style purge of the Labour Party to rid it of all Corbyn supporters to repeatedly yelling "entryist" and "idiot" at anyone who dared question his ridiculous behaviour.




Calling for a purge of left-wing Labour Party members is bad enough, but repeatedly yelling "entryist" at anyone who dared question his attitude (including someone who clearly identified as a lifelong Labour voter) is sickening.

Stalinism


Blenkinsop followed up his bizarre calls for a Stalinist style Labour Party purge with an even more explicit call for a purge of anyone who booed Sadiq Khan's divisive attack on Jeremy Corbyn (just a few weeks after Khan had vowed to stay neutral in the Labour leadership election).

The most ridiculous thing of all is that after repeatedly calling for an ideological purge of the Labour Party, he then had the absolute gall to retweet someone who was chuntering on about Jeremy Corbyn supporters being a bunch of Stalinists.





One of the interesting things that arises from Blenkinsop's repeated calls for an anti-democratic purge of the Labour Party is that he clearly won't have a leg to stand on if Corbyn defeats the coup-plotters then decides to do the sensible thing and allow democratic re-selection of appallingly divisive and self-serving Labour MPs.

Blenkinsop wouldn't have a leg to stand on if the Labour Party allowed his local constituency Labour members to hold a democratic ballot to deselect him as their MP when he's openly and repeatedly called for an anti-democratic purge of the Labour Party.

It would obviously take a very brazen individual to object to democratic re-selection of MPs after calling for an anti-democratic purge of Labour Party left-wingers, but judging by the constant stream of divisiveness and abuse that passes for his Twitter feed, it's beyond doubt that Blenkinsop is capable of such brazenness.

Owen Jones is not an idiot

The fact that Blenkinsop calls Owen Jones an "idiot" is indicative of the guy's mentality. He's using a public platform to hurl abuse and insults at members of his own party, he writes dozens of anti-Corbyn tweets for every one he writes criticising the Tory government, and he's repeatedly called for a Stalinist style purge of the Labour Party, then his response to someone criticising his attitude is to call them an "idiot".

Personal abuse is pretty the lowest possible level of debate, and Blenkinsop's Twitter tantrum is a perfect illustration of the fact that he's a political gutter-dweller.

If you want some proof that Owen Jones isn't an idiot you could read his 9 questions for Corbyn supporters article and my response to it to see how the Labour leadership debate could have been conducted if it wasn't for people like Tom Blenkinsop who would clearly rather ruin the Labour Party completely than allow Jeremy Corbyn any chance of success.

Cry-bully tactics


Blenkinsop is clearly utilising the cry-bully tactic. The objective of which is to repeatedly insult and abuse people to the point that they respond in kind with abuse and insults of their own, then cry about the terrible abuse you're suffering. We've seen it already from the ex-Guardian hack Alex Andreou in his Acid Attack article on Jeremy Corbyn and anyone who supports him, and now we've got a classic example of an actual Labour MP using the same dirty underhand tactics.

This guy is supposed to be an intellectual!

One of the strangest things about Blenkinsop is that he's apparently got a degree in PPE and a Masters in Continental Philosophy from Warwick university, but on Twitter he comes across as having the debating skills of a petulant child having a tantrum.

Perhaps the philosophy department at Warwick University taught him that the ideal way to structure an argument is to repeatedly hurl insults at your opponents and then accuse them of things that you yourself are arguing for?

Blenkinsop is clearly acting as a very poor advert for the post graduate philosophy department Warwick University. If  an abuse-hurling intellectual lightwieght like Tom Blenkinsop is the calibre of person they churn out, then what value do their qualifications actually hold?

Blenkinsop's echo chamber


I first became aware of Blenkinsop's Twitter tantrum when someone posted a screenshot of one of his comments on the Another Angry Voice Facebook page, but when I went to check out whether such a ludicrously divisive comment could be real I discovered that he's blocked me, which is odd because I've never had any interaction with him on Twitter whatever.

It subsequently turns out that Blenkinsop has blocked pretty much every left-wing Twitter account out there, including Harry Leslie Smith, anyone who disagrees with him, a load of other people who haven't ever even interacted with him and even his own constituents!

There are only two reasons to use the Twitter block button. One is to stop people hurling abuse at you and the other is to create a closed ideology echo chamber where all views that contradict your own are silenced. Given that an awful lot of people who are blocked by Tom Blenkinsop have never even interacted with him, it's absolutely obvious what he's been doing.

I'm definitely going to consider the fact that I've been blocked by Tom Blenkinsop despite never having interacted with him as a badge of honour.

Worse than Britain First

The extreme-right hate group Britain First operate a similar kind of closed ideology echo chamber to Tom Blenkinsop, but with one crucial difference. They wait for people to actually leave dissenting comments before they hit the block button, they don't just go around randomly blocking anyone who might challenge their precious closed ideology.

It's incredibly sad that there's a Labour MP out there with an even more censorious attitude than the fascist britain First hatemongers.

Bringing the Labour Party into disrepute

Labour Party politicians like Sadiq Khan and Kezia Dugdale have every right to back whichever candidate they prefer (even though their stated reasons are laughable), but what the likes of Tom Blenkinsop and Ian Austin are doing with their divisive Twitter hate campaigns is completely unacceptable.

Any other party would have launched disciplinary proceedings against such divisive and vitriolic abuse aimed at fellow party politicians and members. Could you imagine Theresa May standing for a Tory MP who has taken it upon themselves to wage a one-man Twitter war against her, her cabinet and a significant percentage of the party membership? Of course she wouldn't.

Once the leadership election is over, I'd be amazed if muck-hurling Labour MPs like Tom Blenkinsop aren't at least put up for re-selection by their constituents, which seems to be a fair guess at why he's having such a tantrum. He can see that his toys are going to be confiscated because of his bad behaviour, and he's having a screaming tantrum about it.

Sadly for Tom, he doesn't even seem to realise that resorting to screaming tantrums rarely ever result in sensible adults changing their minds.


 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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If anyone is an expert in "unelectability" and "preeching to the converted" it's Kezia Dugdale


The leader of the Scottish Labour Party Kezia Dugdale is the latest Labour politician to churn out an anti-Corbyn diatribe for the mainstream press in the hope of swinging the Labour leadership contest in favour of the Blairite backed Anyone But Corbyn candidate.

Yet again the crux of her argument is repetition of the endlessly recycled "unelectable" trope. If anyone in Britain has the right to call themselves an expert in unelectability then it's Kezia Dugdale who managed the incredible feat of reducing Labour to Scotland's 3rd political party in the May 2016 Scottish Parliament elections, significantly behind the widely detested Tories.

Anyone might have thought that the 2015 General Election result might have been the nadir for Scottish Labour. Losing 40 of their 41 seats was the worst political capitulation in the history of British politics, but Scottish Labour apparently exist in such a bubble of delusion that they chose Kezia Dugdale to replace the departing Jim Murphy.

After the wipe-out in 2015 anyone would have thought that the Labour leadership would do everything in their power to try to undo the damage and re-engage an electorate they've alienated, but Kezia just stuck with the woeful "SNP bad" playbook, and in so doing strongly re-affirmed people's belief that abandoning Labour was absolutely the right thing to do.

The result of this belligerence is that Labour got walloped again at the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections, where the Labour vote was reduced to a tiny hard-core of Labour Party loyalists.

Another of the bizarre things about Kezia Dugdale's attack on Jeremy Corbyn is the way she accuses him of "preaching to the converted", which is another thing she is clearly an expert in, having been a key player in the process of reducing the once powerful and seemingly unassailable Scottish Labour Party to a tiny rump of party loyalists who are now significantly outnumbered by Scottish Tories!

It's bad enough that Kezia Dugdale has clung onto her job as Scottish Labour leader after leading them into another feeble electoral capitulation, but to then go around lecturing other people on "electability" and "preaching to the converted" displays an extraordinary lack of self-awareness.

If the Scottish Labour Party are determined to allow Kezia Dugdale to continue steering the party towards electoral irrelevance, that's their prerogative, but they really should try to stop her from doing her unwitting self-parody act, because it's excruciatingly embarrassing to witness someone so hopelessly out of touch that they don't even realise that the criticisms they're slinging at other people apply a thousand times more strongly to themself.


 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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Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Blame Corbyn for Brexit narrative is pitiful drivel


The endlessly rehashed Anyone But Corbyn propaganda narrative that Corbyn is responsible for Brexit has to be one of the most ridiculous political tropes ever devised. In this article I'm going to outline 12 reasons that the "Blame Corbyn for Brexit" narrative is intensely stupid balderdash that only the truly gullible could ever accept at face value.

The pre-planned coup plot


The first and most obvious problem with the "Blame Corbyn" narrative that it's Jeremy Corbyn's fault that the UK electorate voted for Brexit is the incontrovertible evidence that the Anyone But Corbyn coup was being planned weeks before the referendum result was even known. The hubristic coup-plotters were so sure that their putsch was going to succeed that they decided to brief the Daily Telegraph about how they were going to force Corbyn to resign with a co-ordinated 24 hour Blitz of resignations after the referendum.

The incontrovertible evidence that the coup-plot was being planned long before the result of the EU referendum was even known makes it absolutely clear that even if Remain had won, the coup-plotters would have launched their anti-Corbyn revolt anyway at some point. The fact that Remain lost was just a convenient excuse for a coup-plot that was always going to happen.


Angela "integrity" Eagle's endorsement

Another indicator that Brexit is just a convenient excuse for an anti-Corbyn putsch that was always going to happen sooner or later is the incredible change of tune from Angela Eagle.

She went from praising Jeremy Corbyn's tireless commitment to the Remain campaign on June 13th to bitterly slagging him off for his "half-hearted ambivalence" when the coup-plot was launched just two weeks later..

Either Angela Eagle was lying on June 13th, or she was lying on June 27th. There's no way that both statements can be accepted at face value. So even if you want to believe her second statement, you've got to realise that you're choosing to accept the testimony of a blatantly dishonest witness.

What about David Cameron?

If any one person is to blame for Brexit it's clearly David Cameron. He decided to gamble the entire future of the UK in order to gain a little bit of party political advantage at the 2015 General Election, then lost it after 58% of Tory voters decided to ignore him and vote for Brexit.

Cameron's fearmongering rhetoric returned 58% of Tory voters for Leave, while Corbyn's approach delivered 63% of Labour voters for Remain. Just imagine the levels of foolish anti-Corbyn tunnel vision the coup-plotters must have been suffering to turn this ideal opportunity to slam David Cameron and the Tories into a parade of Labour MPs overwriting that narrative by yacking on about how Jeremy Corbyn is to blame!


What about Theresa May?

One of the most bizarre things is the easy ride that Theresa May has been given for her self-serving non-campaign during the referendum debate. If any high profile politician was actually guilty of conducting a lacklustre and half-hearted Remain campaign it was Theresa May, not Jeremy Corbyn. Yet somehow Corbyn has been hammered by the mainstream press while Theresa May's non-campaign was actually widely praised as "a restrained approach to campaigning" and for demonstrating her leadership ambitions!


What about the Labour Leave shills for the Tory party?

One of the biggest problems faced by Jeremy Corbyn in convincing Labour voters to support the Remain campaign was the existence of a Tory Trojan Horse operation within the Labour ranks called Labour Leave. This campaign to completely undermine the official Labour party stance on Brexit was bankrolled by a bunch of Tories, with every single registered donation coming from Tory donors or the right-wing Vote Leave mob.

Sadiq Khan actually tried to blame Jeremy Corbyn for the fact that a significant percentage Labour voters were confused about the official party stance when he knows perfectly well that a bunch of Labour Party MPs were guilty of using masses of Tory cash to deliberately undermine the party leadership.

Anyone directing their anger at Jeremy Corbyn rather than the Labour Leave shills is clearly playing synthetic outrage mind games.


What about Gisela Stuart and the lying Vote Leave mob?

It's incredible that the Anyone But Corbyn camp have repeatedly expressed outrage about Corbyn's efforts during the EU referendum debate, but haven't found a word of criticism for their fellow Labour Party politicians like Gisela Stuart, who spent the campaign riding around on that bloody £350 million for the NHS Vote Leave bus with her mates Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and the UKIP MP Douglas Carswell! In fact Stewart was actually the one who came up with the £350 million for the NHS lie in the first place.

That the Anyone But Corbyn camp have repeatedly expressed outrage about Corbyn's performance, but they've got no criticism whatever for someone who deliberately went around trying converting Labour voters to vote for Brexit is an illustration of the fact that Brexit-blaming tactics are just an excuse to stick the knife into Corbyn.


What about Will Straw?

Will Straw was the leader of the catastrophically uninspiring official Remain campaign. After weeks of the Westminster establishment lambasting Jeremy Corbyn for Brexit, they suddenly changed tune when David Cameron decided to hand Will Straw a CBE, with no high-profile Labour figures coming out to criticise the award.

Isn't it extraordinary that Corbyn gets singled out for all of the abuse over Brexit while one of the main culprits for the failure of the official Remain campaign gets handed a bloody CBE within weeks of its failure?


63% is actually quite good

If you put the 63% of Labour voters who voted Remain into perspective by comparing it with other parties, it turns out that it was only 1% short of the SNP who achieved 64% in favour of Remain.

Getting that close to the SNP is actually an incredible achievement for two reasons. Firstly, unlike Corbyn, the SNP leadership didn't have to deal with a Tory Trojan Horse campaign within their own party undermining the official party stance*. Secondly SNP voters had a huge incentive to vote Remain because a Remain Vote in Scotland and a Leave vote in England was clearly going to enhance the case for a second Scottish independence referendum.

To get that close to the SNP leve of support for Remain was actually quite an impressive feat, yet the Anyone But Corbyn camp are trying to convince you that it was a disaster.


Honesty

Jeremy Corbyn was one of the only high-profile politicians who didn't engage in the hysterical project fear and false-promises as the majority of politicians on either side of the debate. In many people's judgement it's actually to his credit that he decided to treat the electorate like adults rather than a bunch of sub-juvenile halfwits who can be goaded into supporting one side or another through threats, fearmongering, false-promises and outright lies.

During the Campaign Corbyn was rated as by far the most trustworthy Labour politician on plus 17% with his closest Labour party challenger being Alan Johnson on minus 10%!

When people complain that Corbyn's fact and evidence based arguments in favour of Remain were not "Passionate" enough, essentially what they're saying is that they prefer the fearmongering nonsense, misleading rhetoric, false-promises, conspiracy theory nonsense, threats and outright lies spouted by the likes of David Cameron and Boris Johnson, and that in modern politics the truth is a shit debating tactic.

Platform-sharing


One of the most ridiculous Corbyn criticisms of all is that he refused to share a platform with David Cameron.

It's as if these people learned absolutely nothing from the complete annihilation of their once impenetrable Labour Party Scottish heartlands in 2015 when they lost 40 of their 41 seats after sharing a platform with the Tories during the independence debate, and then trying to force a prescription of toxic austerity-lite down the necks of Scottish voters and allowing the SNP to steal the centre-left anti-austerity ground from under their damned feet.


Contempt for the electorate

The idea that the electorate decided to vote for Brexit simply because Corbyn didn't campaign correctly is deeply patronising to people who did vote for Brexit. I'm guessing that there are quite a lot of Brexit voters out there who realised that Corbyn was making a decent respectful case in favour of Remain, but decided to vote Leave for their own reasons.

Corbyn's decision to address both sides of the argument during the campaign instead of running an absolutist fear-based propaganda campaign could have been an enormous asset to the Labour Party in the post-Brexit bridge-building process, but instead the Labour Party establishment have decided to insult all Brexit voters by refusing to consider the actual reasons they voted the way they did, and using it as nothing more than an excuse to whack Jeremy Corbyn.
Damaging the Labour Party

Form a Labour Party perspective probably the worst thing about this decision to attach a load of Brexit-blame to Corbyn, rather than focusing their anger on people who actually deserve it (David Cameron, the lying Vote Leave mob, the Labour Leave shills, Will Straw, Theresa May) is the damage it's done to the Labour Party.

Instead of speaking with a unified voice in condemnation of David Cameron's failed EU gamble and the myriad lies spouted by the Tory Vote Leave mob, the Labour coup-plotters have completely over-written the public narrative that Tory infighting was the cause of Brexit with one that Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are to blame for it!

In order to score political points against their own party leader they've completely squandered the best attack point they've had in decades to hurt the Tory party with. It's as if these people care more about deposing Jeremy Corbyn than they do about actually opposing the Tories.

 
Conclusion


Nobody is claiming that Jeremy Corbyn is faultless. His first eleven months as labour party leader have been a very steep learning curve for a guy who never seriously envisioned himself as a political leader. He's made mistakes (he's clearly in need of organisational help, he really needs to focus on making his political points more concisely, and he needs to begin using the huge Labour Party membership more effectively) but his stance during the EU referendum debate stood out as being a refreshingly honest beacon in a filthy tide of fearmongering, threats, fantasy land promises, conspiracy theories and outright lies.

Anyone still spouting "Blame Corbyn for Brexit" naratives despite all of the available evidence that it's idiocy deserves to be ridiculed, but these days public folk narratives quickly get set in stone, so thanks to the Labour coup-plotters, millions of people will now always associate Brexit with Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, no matter how often that narrative is exposed as a load of idiotic drivel. 


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* = If anyone within the SNP had taken Tory cash in order to bankroll a campaign against the official SNP position it's beyond doubt that they would be facing disciplinary procedures. The fact that the Labour Leave people who decided to use Tory cash to undermine the Labour leadership are not facing disciplinary procedures is quite extraordinary.