Friday, November 7, 2014

Why do we keep voting for "more of the same"?

Since 2010 the working people of Britain have suffered the longest sustained real terms decline in wages since records began.

Since 2010 the number of families dependent on social security payments like housing benefits in order to keep their heads above water has grown exponentially.

Since the global financial sector insolvency crisis people who have spent lifetimes saving and investing in pensions have seen their investments eroded away as a consequence of policies like Quantitative Easing (designed to save the reckless bankers and selfish property speculators from the bankruptcies they so richly deserved).

In November 2014 just a tiny proportion of MPs bothered to turn up to a debate on the living wage (see picture), a clear illustration of the fact that the vast majority of the wealthy establishment class really don't give a damn that millions of working families are living in poverty and benefits dependency in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

So why do we keep voting for the same establishment class who created this mess in the first place by allowing speculative financial practices get so insanely out of hand, and then imposed ideological austerity on the public instead of jailing the people who crashed the economy and confiscating their ill-gotten gains? 

Why don't we vote for something different?

It's hardly an excuse that the mainstream media won't let us know of the alternatives anymore. There is a world of information out there on the internet, all we need do is bother to look for it.

The exponential growth of the Podemos movement in Spain to go from nothing in March 2014 to the second most popular political party in November 2014 shows us that real alternatives are possible, especially given that the Spanish media and political classes are just as biased and corrupt as our own, if not even more so.

Maybe it's just that us British are far more complacent and apathetic than the Spanish? I don't want to believe that this is the case (racial/ethnic/national stereotypes are bad OK?). Perhaps it's just that we haven't had it bad enough yet (youth unemployment in Spain is over 50%) that people are willing to throw their support behind a new party with very limited experience of running things, rather than continuing to support one of the establishment parties that have extensive experience of running things extremely badly?

Perhaps it's trite to reduce things to one of the most over-used Einstein quotes of all, but he was absolutely right when he said that the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".

If we don't vote for real change in 2015, we'll only have ourselves to blame when the privileged political establishment continue serving their own interests (and those of their wealthy backers) and more-or-less completely ignoring ours.

What you can do:
  • If you would like to find out more about the Living Wage campaign click here

 Another Angry Voice  is a not-for-profit page which generates absolutely no revenue from advertising and accepts no money from corporate or political interests. The only sources of income for  Another Angry Voice  are small donations from people who see some value in my work. If you appreciate my efforts and you could afford to make a donation, it would be massively appreciated.

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Reasons to vote alternative
Who is to blame for the economic crisis? 
Why bailing out RBS was a catastrophic mistake
Fish and Ivory - UKIP's appalling EU voting record
Why 73% of UKIP voters should actually vote Green
UKIP are not an alternative
The "unpatriotic left" fallacy 
What is ... wage repression?

How I became a successful political writer

In November 2014 I was invited to give a couple of presentations to organisations in London about how, as an individual, I've managed to build up a social media reach that dwarfs the reach of so many worthy activist causes that each employ dozens of people and call upon hundreds of volunteers.

I was perfectly happy to give away some hints and tips on how to achieve a large following of politically engaged people, because I have no interest whatever in hoarding my secrets to prevent others from achieving what I have. As far as I'm concerned, I want to be at the crest of a wave of new, alternative media. An inundation of independent citizen journalists and social activist organisations to erode away the edifices of the establishment friendly corporate media.

By advising people on how to use social media more effectively in order to spread alternative political messages I hope I can play a part in helping more and more people assert themselves as individuals and present distinct analyses to the recurring narratives pushed by the corporate press, the BBC and the Westminster establishment. The only way we can prevent these institutions from dictating the spectrum of political discourse is if those of us who think differently have the means to express ourselves and to be heard.

The first event went really well, especially considering it was my first effort at public speaking since I said my wedding vows over 10 years ago. It consisted of a speech, a questions and answers session and a short workshop on how spectacularly easy it is to create powerful infographics. I thought it went well, and the feedback seemed to be very positive.

As I was making preparations for my second event, it occurred to me that the process of becoming a successful writer began a long time before the day I decided to set up a political blog, eventually settling for the name Another Angry Voice simply because I couldn't be bothered wasting any more time trying to think of anything better!

At the time I set it up, I obviously had no idea of how much time and effort I would end up putting into it, or that one day it would provide me the power to spread my political views into over 3 million Facebook news feeds per week! At that time I just had something I wanted to write, and I quickly cobbled together a blog to write it on. However, the process of becoming a political writer didn't actually begin there.

For me, the story is incomplete without an explanation of my previous efforts to become a political writer. I've decided against "naming and shaming" the three organisations in the following section, because I don't actually feel any ill will towards them over what happened at all, and I wouldn't want to give them any unnecessary bad publicity.


My first effort to become a political writer in 2004 manifested as an effort to seek out an alternative media website and attendance of one of their meetings, which took place in a pub around a number of small tables. For someone like me, even getting to the stage of going to a room full of strangers was a monumental effort. Gradually, as the evening progressed, people shifted around to talk to each other, so that at one point everyone around me was sitting with their backs to me. If that happened now, I'd simply relocate myself to the centre of the meeting, drawing attention to myself in the process. Back then I suffered quite serious social anxiety, so I just sat there on my own feeling ignored. At the end of the meeting I plucked up the courage to make one last effort to speak to someone, but they were not interested, so I went away feeling bitter and defeated and never went back. In the week prior to publication of this article over 100,000 people had engaged with (liked, commented or shared) my work on Facebook, whilst fewer than 100 people had engaged with the work of this particular organisation.

After that failure I gave up for several years, during which I slumped into several prolonged periods of depression. In 2007 I contacted another organisation who were campaigning on an issue I felt very strongly about, however my efforts to contribute to their campaign were also fruitless. Once again I gave up, feeling defeated and unwanted. In London I had the honour of meeting one of the leaders of this campaign. I told them how I'd tried to volunteer my services with their organisation, and they explained that (as I suspected) they were simply so busy and so short staffed at the time, there was no way they could arrange to meet everyone who emailed to volunteer their services. This didn't stop me feeling rejected at the time though, so once again I ended up setting aside my ambitions to write about political issues and spent the next few years slipping in and out of depression. 
This organisation continues to do incredibly good work in a field I am passionate about, and I will continue to promote their work.

My third effort to become a political writer manifested as a concerted effort to reach out to a mainstream news website in 2009-10 in order to submit an article about a specific political issue that was adversely affecting my family life at the time. Once again my efforts were rejected, and once again I gave up my ambitions to write about political issues.

Why am I telling you this?

The reason I'm explaining this is not about self-pity, nor about gloating that I'm now over 1,000x more successful on social media as the organisation that rejected me ten years ago. It is about consideration of the way rejection works. In my view this is useful for two purposes:

Firstly I want to help individuals understand how important it is that we do not let rejection destroy our confidence and our will to make a positive difference. This is particularly important for people like me who live with conditions such as 
social anxiety, depression, stress, and obsessiveness. We must never give up our ambitions in the face of rejection. The success of my Another Angry Voice project is a perfect illustration of the fact that information technology and social media now allow all manner of "outsiders" and neuro-atypical folk to reach out to huge audiences as individuals, without the need to work through the prism of collective organisations. If your efforts at political engagement have proven fruitless, there can be no harm whatever in trying, as I did, to set up your own political blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, Youtube channel, Buzzfeed profile, or whatever. 

It took me almost two years to pick up my first 1,000 followers, but now I've got so many that hundreds of people tend to start following things when I draw attention to them on my Facebook page. In order to help people with a quick blast of new followers I'll gladly consider giving people a helping had with shares and retweets if the content is really high quality and intersting, so don't be afraid to Tweet your work at me or spam posts on my Facebook wall if you think I might be interested in them. I'll gladly give people a bit of a head start with a few hundred new followers if I think their work is really good stuff.

The second issue my experiences of rejection raises is that it may be useful to those who work within activist organisations to consider improving their engagement strategies. After all, the painfully shy bloke sitting at the back not saying anything may actually have turned out to have been the greatest asset you ever had, but because nobody spoke to him, he went away feeling rejected and defeated and never came back. In my view, effective first engagement and retention should be absolutely critical issues to any activist organisation. If your organisation does not have a good first engagement strategy, perhaps you should consider taking the initiative to establish good practice, so that nobody who wants to join your organisation ends up giving up and walking away because they feel unwanted.

Why I'm no longer bitter

At the time I experienced these rejections I had very low social confidence and I took them extremely badly, but in hindsight I retain none of the bitterness and negativity of the immediate aftermath. I've come to realise that these experiences were absolutely crucial steps towards the process of building myself a political platform where I have complete liberty to discuss whatever topic I like, and 
achieving the mind-bogglingly large audience I have today.

Had I had the social confidence to persist, and keep attending meetings at the alternative media organisation until I was accepted, it is certain that I would not have ended up where I am today. Had I badgered them until they let me write for them ten years ago, I would have learned to write within the paradigm of their organisation and gone forward on a completely different path in life.

It was only because I experienced such rejections that I eventually decided to do it all by myself, belligerently ignoring the norms and conventions of political writing style, graphic design, website layout, social media strategy and moderation policy, and developing my distinctive independent semi-anonymous status as a writer.

In my view the fact that I've ignored so many of the conventions I would have learned had I been accepted by any of these organisations, is actually one of the key factors that has driven the exponential growth of my audience, so I hold no grudges whatever. We are defined by our experiences in life, and without these experiences of rejection I wouldn't be who I am today.


Whether you have experienced rejection from campaigning organisations or not, I would advise anyone with strong political views to try to write them down and publicise them on social media.

Whether we do this through the prism of an established campaigning organisation, or as an individual blogger, it is really important that we at least try to spread awareness of the issues that are important to us.

The more of us who take the time to express our own political views, the bigger the alternative media tide will become, and the harder it will be for the mainstream media and the Westminster establishment to continue their near complete domination of the political debate.

 Another Angry Voice  is a not-for-profit page which generates absolutely no revenue from advertising and accepts no money from corporate or political interests. The only sources of income for  Another Angry Voice  are small donations from people who see some value in my work. If you appreciate my efforts and you could afford to make a donation, it would be massively appreciated.

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The AAV political stance

Why I want you to question everything, even me
Reasons to vote alternative

Why you should sign petitions
How Tory immigration rules discriminate against British children
What is the point of the Labour Party?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Who is Nigel Farage's new Polish mate?

We all had a good laugh when it was reported that UKIP's so-called European Freedom and Direct Democracy group had collapsed after the withdrawal of the Latvian MEP Iveta Grigule, who quit the group within six months of joining it, meaning that they had representation from fewer than the seven EU nations necessary to form an official group and claim £millions in subsidies from the EU.

I'm pretty sure anyone but the most hardcore of UKIP tribalists must have thought "good job too ... what on earth is an anti-EU party doing gobbling up subsidies from the organisation they supposedly oppose anyway?"

Unfortunately Farage was quick to find a makeweight MEP from elsewhere to fill out his group again in order to requalify them to continue riding the EU funding gravy train. The MEP he found was The Polish MEP Robert Iwaszkiewicz, who comes from a political party so fanatically right-wing that even the French Front National wanted absolutely nothing to do with them!

In this article I'm going to take a closer look at the ragtag bunches of parties that Nigel Farage builds around UKIP in order to gobble up EU subsidies, and then go on to look at UKIP's new Polish friend and the party that he represents.

The European Freedom and Democracy group (2009-2014)

If you know anything much at all about European politics, it is blindingly obvious that EFDD (and the predecessor group EFD) are just haphazard groups of parties, with virtually nothing in common apart from the fact that without being part of such groups, UKIP would be short of the multinational alliance necessary in order to claim £millions in party subsidies from the EU.

The fact that UKIP's 2009-2014 group was pretty much a random jumble of parties can be seen by looking at the schitzophrenic voting record of the EFD group. One vote that is of particular interest to me is the May 2013 vote on whether the EU should proceed with negotiating the TTIP Corporate Power Grab, which is a proposed "trade deal" designed to completely over-write the democratic and judicial systems of signature states with pro-corporate legiaslation.

Given their habit of harping on endlessly about British sovereignty, one would have expected UKIP and their EFD group to vote against TTIP, however a look at the voting record reveals that only one UKIP MEP even bothered to vote, and he voted in favour of it, along with the majority of the EFD group. In fact the ex-Tory Roger Helmer joined 17 other EFD MEPs in voting in favour of TTIP, whilst only two MEPs in the whole group rebelled and voted against it.

It's quite extraordinary that UKIP are now pretending to be opposed to TTIP, even though Roger Helmer, and the majority of their political group voted in favour of it last time it came before the European Parliament, and their economics spokesperson William "Dartmouth" Legge continues speaking out in favour of it.
The European Freedom and Direct Democracy group (2014-)

The composition of UKIP's group has changed dramatically since the 2014 European Elections. Out went the Italian neo-fascists Legia Nord and in came Beppe Grillo's populist Five Star Movement protest party in their place. The neo-fascist True Finns party also departed, as did the Calvinist Dutch political party SGP and the radical right-wing Greek Popular Orthodox Rally. In fact the only survivors other than UKIP from the previous incarnation are the two MEPs from the Lithuanian Order and Justice party. To reflect this change the group name was altered to include the word "Direct".

Within UKIP's reconstituted European gang, only one other party provides more than two MEPs, and that is Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement (MS5) which provides 17, to UKIP's 24, the other five contribute only seven MEPs between them.

The Five Star Movement and UKIP make extremely odd bedfellows. The only similarities seem to be that they are both Eurosceptic parties, and that they both have a charismatic populist as their leaders.

There are large policy differences between the two parties, not least the MS5 support for gay marriage and gay equality, their commitment to digital democracy and their environmentalist policy platform. A bunch of gay equality enthusiasts and environmentalists look like extremely odd bedfellows to a party riddled with climate change deniers and gay equality opposers.

Perhaps the strongest indicator that MS5 are extremely odd companions for UKIP is that they initially tried to join the left-wing (and strongly anti-TTIP) Green - European Freedom Alliance containing the Green Party, Plaid Cymru and the SNP, but they were rejected.

After being rejected by the Greens MS5 tried to join the ALDE group which contains the one remaining Lib-Dem MEP, but they were rejected by them too.

Only after being rejected by the long-established Green and Liberal Democrat parliamentary groups did MS5 settle for joining Nigel Farage's ragtag bunch.

Another really confusing aspect to MS5's participation in UKIP's EFDD group is their commitment to preventing politics from becoming a way to make money and a career choice, which manifests through their rejection of publicly allocated funds to their party. What a party with such a commitment to not scamming expenses and making a career out of politics is doing propping up a European group which pretty much only exists to ensure that UKIP receive £millions in subsidies from the EU is anybodies guess.

Who is Nigel Farage's new Polish mate?

The new addition to UKIP's disparate bunch of Euro oddballs is the Polish MEP 
Robert Iwaszkiewicz who has been given special dispensation from his KNP party to join the UKIP group. 
KNP is an extreme-right group led by Janusz Korwin-Mikke, who is one of the most "outspoken" MEPs in Europe, who has a habit of doing things like denying the holocaust, saying that women shouldn't be allowed to vote and referring to black Americans as "niggers".

Here are some quotes from the leader of the Polish party that has saved UKIP's lucrative European subsidies by lending them one of his MEPs.

"Women are dumber than men and should not be allowed to vote"
"Evolution has ensured that women are not too intelligent"
"The general public should not see the disabled on television" (an objection to the 2012 Summer Paralympics)
"Democracy is the stupidest form of government ever conceived"
"Gays are a gang of louts imported from abroad"
"We must destroy the minimum wage and we must destroy the power of trade unions" (from this speech in which he refered to black Americans as "niggers")
As for the man himself, UKIP's new ally Robert Iwaszkiewicz has praised Adolf Hitler for his tax policies and defended domestic violence. Here are a couple of quotes:
"If taxes were lower in Hitler's time, and now they're higher, what's wrong with wanting to say so?"
"[wife beating can] help bring many wives back down to earth"

It's absolutely clear that UKIP is now reliant upon a man from a very distasteful extreme-right bunch of Holocaust deniers in order to keep their taxpayer funded subsidies rolling in.

Ukipper reactions

It's no surprise at all that the overwhelming reaction of Ukippers to all of this has been to jump straight into self-pitying conspiracy theory mode, because that was precisely the mentality of their leader Nigel Farage when the Latvian MEP Iveta Grigule left the EFDD group.

Instead of contemplating the idea that she might have left because EFDD is an incoherent group made up of totalitarians, libertarians, anti-gay, pro-gay, environmentalists, climate change deniers, extreme right-wingers and wannabe-greens, to Farage and his followers it was clearly the result of some grand conspiracy orchestrated by Martin Schultz and a cabal of evil Euro-federalists.

The Ukipper reaction to the revelation that their new Polish friend comes from a disgusting and misogynistic extreme-right party is similar. You only have to read any article exposing KNP for what they are, to see a bunch of Ukippers complaining that the quotes have been "taken out of context"; that they were "only jokes"; that they were "deliberately mistranslated"; and that it's all some big conspiracy against the brave UKIP freedom fighters.

This tendency to jump straight into conspiracy theory mode derives from the tribalist hero narratives of the UKIP campaign. It's impossible for the tribalist Ukipper to see that UKIP has ever done anything wrong, because they are by definition the heroes of the story, meaning the narrative would be rendered incoherent if the problems they encounter are of their own making, rather than the result of the meddling of some arch-villain (in this case Martin Schultz, but in other cases the Lib-Lab-Cons, the media, the gays, the environmentalists, the PC brigade ...).


It's absolutely no surprise to anyone who follows European politics that Nigel Farage has once again hopped into bed with terrible nutters from the extreme-right fringe in order to keep UKIP's ticket to ride the EU gravy train of party funding. In the last European Parliament he cavorted with Italian neo-fascists who openly declared that the mass murderer Anders Brevik had "excellent ideas" that were "in defence of Western civilisation", and already in the new parliament he's been forced to defend the outrageous history of his Swedish Democrat allies, which grew out of the Nordic Nazi Party.

The fact that UKIP are up to their old tricks of hanging about with the dregs of the extreme-right fringe in order to secure more taxpayer funding for their party is not at all surprising. What is much more interesting is the fact that the Italian progressives MS5 continue to prop this group up. What on earth are a bunch of pro-equality, environmentalist, digital democracy enthusiast, wannabe Greens doing propping up this increasingly vile extreme-right coalition?

Perhaps someone who speaks Italian could ask the leader of MS5 Beppe Grillo what he thinks he is achieving by associating himself and his party with right-wing opportunists like Nigel Farage, and extreme-right fanatics like 
Robert Iwaszkiewicz and the Sweden Democrats?

 Another Angry Voice  is a not-for-profit page which generates absolutely no revenue from advertising and accepts no money from corporate or political interests. The only sources of income for  Another Angry Voice  are small donations from people who see some value in my work. If you appreciate my efforts and you could afford to make a donation, it would be massively appreciated.

Flattr this

Fish and Ivory - UKIP's appalling EU voting record
12 Tory-UKIP defectors
Floods, humanitarian aid and the far-right fringe

12 things you should know about the 2014 European elections
How the TTIP corporate power grab is the biggest threat to UK sovereignty
Who is to blame for the economic crisis?
Why 73% of UKIP supporters should actually vote Green
They're not "tuition fees, they're a tax on aspiration

Paul Nuttall's disappearing NHS comments
Margaret Thatcher's toxic neoliberal legacies

Friday, October 17, 2014

Why I'm sick of UKIP stealing my infographics

I'm no kind of copyright fanatic, so I rarely take exception to people borrowing and reusing my infographics, after all - I made them in order for them to be shared.

What I do mind is people taking my infographics and using them to promote political parties and ideologies that I'm strongly opposed to. A classic example of this was the way the right-wing extremist and compulsive liar Joshua Bonehill took to stealing my infographics and reposting them on his Facebook page, shortly after he had sent me a private message in which he threatened to get my Facebook page shut down. Ironically page was shut down by Facebook shortly afterwards for spreading Islamophobia, race hate and outright lies.

My views on UKIP

Anyone who is remotely familiar with my work should know that I'm not a fan of UKIP. I've done my best to raise awareness of the fact that UKIP is 
a pro-corporate right-wing Trojan Horse party designed to hoover up the votes of the dissatisfied (just like the Tea Party in the USA).

I've explained that they're 90% bankrolled by ex-Tory donors, that they're led by a former Tory party activist from an establishment family, and that the party is riddled with failed, disgraced and defected Tory politicians.

I've also tried to raise awareness of the fact that UKIP don't give a damn about the real threat to UK sovereigny; the TTIP Corporate Power Grab, which is designed to completely over-write our democratic and legal systems, in order to allow multinational corporations to sue our government in secretive transnational tribunals and to import cheap labour from abroad.

Despite the Ukipper tactic of pointing to the anti-TTIP comments from one single UKIP representative (Louise Bours) at the September 2014 UKIP conference to pretend that the UKIP leadership are anti-TTIP, the UKIP voting record on the issue is crystal clear. Last time the issue of TTIP came before the European Parliament, only one UKIP MEP even bothered to vote in the debate, that was their economics spokesperson Roger Helmer who voted in favour of it! If that's not enough of a demonstration that they're in favour of attacks on UK sovereignty (as long as the beneficiaries are multinational corporations), then perhaps this excruciating speech from William Legge might be enough to convince?

Regular readers of my work will also be familiar with the fact that a constant stream of UKIP supporters show up on my page to insult me and call me a "fascist" for daring to use facts and evidence to criticise their party. I've had to deal with so many of these cognitively incontinent ranters that I've even compiled this article outlining many of their most common "debating tactics".

UKIP pinching my work

I've lost count of the number of times I've spotted UKIP pinching my infographics and posting them on Twitter in order to drum up publicity for their "Thatcherism on Steroids" party.

When I spot them doing it I usually send them a message asking if they're aware that in May 2014 a UKIP politician issued legal threats against me because I dared to criticise UKIP. Ironically, the thing I was criticising UKIP for at the time was the decision by another UKIP politician to call the police in to intimidate a guy who fact checked an anti-UKIP poster! It's bad enough that they have such contempt for free speech, but to go on to steal the work of those they have tried to censor; that's just outrageous.

In October 2014 I was informed that a UKIP "shop" in Boscombe, Dorset has used one my infographics in their window display. It's bad enough that they recycle my infographics as social media propaganda for their party, but actually printing my infographics off and using them as window display posters for a Thatcherite political party is clearly completely out of order.
Few Ukippers seem capable of understanding the irony of UKIP using the work of a guy who is considered such a threat to their party that legal threats were issued against him in an effort to silence him. Had they succeeded in shutting my page down, where would they get their posters for their window displays?

Nicking the work of a guy who wrote this article about Margaret Thatcher's toxic socio-economic legacies, to promote a party that openly describe themselves as "keeping the flame of Thatcherism alive" just goes to show what a bunch of lazy political opportunists UKIP are.


If you're not a member of an extreme-right hate group, or a Thatcherite Trojan Horse party, please feel free to reuse my pictures (on line or by printing them off). The only time I object is when people pinch them in order to promote political ideologies that I despise.

 Another Angry Voice  is a not-for-profit page which generates absolutely no revenue from advertising and accepts no money from corporate or political interests. The only sources of income for  Another Angry Voice  are small donations from people who see some value in my work. If you appreciate my efforts and you could afford to make a donation, it would be massively appreciated.

Flattr this

Fish and Ivory - UKIP's appalling EU voting record
12 Tory-UKIP defectors
Floods, humanitarian aid and the far-right fringe

12 things you should know about the 2014 European elections
How the TTIP corporate power grab is the biggest threat to UK sovereignty
Who is to blame for the economic crisis?
Why 73% of UKIP supporters should actually vote Green
They're not "tuition fees, they're a tax on aspiration
Paul Nuttall's disappearing NHS comments
Margaret Thatcher's toxic neoliberal legacies

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The public want to hear what the Green Party have to say

After the BBC and the corporate broadcasters (ITV, Sky and Channel 4) colluded to exclude the Green Party from the pre-election leaders' debates I wrote an article detailing 12 reasons why the Green Party should be included. In this article I'm going to discuss another reason they should be included; the fact that the public want to hear what they've got to say.

After the decision was made to invite the four pro-austerity parties to the debates, and exclude the anti-austerity Green Party (and other anti-austerity parties like the SNP, Plaid Cymru and Respect) YouGov conducted a poll on whether the Green party should be invited.

A strong majority of those who answered the question decisively said that the Green Party should be included in the debates. If the "don't knows" are excluded from the results, the public voted 60-40 in favour of Green Party representation in the debate.

A closer look at these results reveals something very interesting indeed. The majority of self-declared supporters of the Labour Party (57%) and the Lib Dems (66%) voted that the Green leader Natalie Bennett should not be excluded from the debate, whilst a clear majority of self declared supporters of the Tory party (54%) voted that she should be excluded. UKIP supporters also voted slightly in favour of her exclusion (45% to 41%).

The reason that this is so interesting is that the Green Party are much more likely to appeal to the more left-wing demographics of the Labour Party and the Lib-Dems, meaning that the supporters of these parties actually voted against the self-interest of their own parties to favour the inclusion of a candidate who might well end up taking a lot of votes from their parties.

The idea that the Greens are more appealing to Labour and Lib Dem voters isn't idle speculation either. The polling data shows that 33% of self-declared Lib Dem supporters are considering a switch to the Green Party, and 22% of Labour supporters are also toying with the idea of voting Green. These results contrast sharply with the two even more right-wing pro-austerity parties. Only 6% of Tory supporters and 5% of UKIP supporters are considering the idea of voting Green.

The fact that Lib Dem and Labour supporters are much more open to the idea of voting Green is not surprising. Several of the Green Party manifesto commitments should appeal strongly to traditional supporters of these two parties. Renationalisation of the energy companies and railways, Universal Basic Income and wealth taxes should appeal to traditional Labour supporters, and free university education, defence of citizens' rights and electoral reform should appeal to Liberal Democrat voters.

What is surprising is the fact that the majority of Tory and UKIP supporters are so opposed to the idea of inclusion of a party that could split the Labour vote. It's kind of understandable from a UKIP perspective because they'd clearly rather be cast by the mainstream press as "the only alternative" rather than competing with the Greens to offer the best critique of the establishment parties, and the best set of alternative policies.

The much stronger opposition from the Tory party faithful is a lot harder to fathom. It's as if they're so strongly opposed to the idea of allowing an unashamedly left-wing party to have a voice in the debate, that they'd sacrifice their own parties self-interest.
The desire of the Tory majority to make sure genuine left-wing voices are locked out of the debate altogether makes quite safe to conclude that the majority of Tory voters do not agree with the maxim that is so often used to describe the views of Voltaire. The majority of Tory supporters would not sympathise with "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it". In fact their version would be more like "I disapprove of what you say, so I will strive to ensure that nobody else gets to hear it".

The motivation behind this strong Tory opposition seems to stem from old fashioned moral authoritarianism, which is the idea that you as an individual get to determine what is correct for everyone else. Therefore in the Tory mind "I don't like their policies so I don't want to hear them" morphs into "I don't like their policies, therefore nobody should be allowed to hear them".

This moral authoritarian attitude 
amongst the Tory faithful that dissenting voices are best kept quiet is mirrored by the policy proposals of their party. It's just a couple of weeks since Theresa May announced her draconian new plans to revoke the right to freedom of speech from people who have committed no criminal offence whatever. If the majority of the Tory party feel the need to snuff out dissenting voices, it's no wonder the Tory leadership feel that they can get away with attacking the freedom of speech of law abiding people simply because they say disagreeable, but not unlawful things.

Conclusion - What we can do?

It is clear that the public want to hear what the Green party have to say. If supporters of the Tory party are stripped out of the equation (because of the strong opposition to the principles of free speech displayed by their party leaders and their supporters alike) then the consensus is even more clear.

The BBC and the mainstream media seem quite determined to make the leaders' debates closed ideology echo chambers featuring only pro-austrity parties, however there are a few things we can do to fight back against this deliberate effort to limit the spectrum of political debate.

  • We can make sure to share social media content from the Green Party, the Scottish Greens and other parties like the SNP and Plaid Cymru, in order to try to counterbalance the bias of the mainstream media, and ensure that as many people as possible are informed about the policies of the non-traditional parties the mainstream media are clearly intent on denying coverage to.
  • Joining the Green Party is another option. There are well over a million Green Party voters out there, so if just a small proportion of them joined the party in order to help them fight back against the hostility of the mainstream media, the Green Party would soon overtake the Liberal Democrats in terms of party membership. The additional bonus in joining the Green Party is that you could try to influence their policies, which is possible because, despite the Lib-Dem lies to the contrary, the Green Party have by far the most democratic structure, where all members have the right to vote on party policy. Here's the link to join the Green Party of England and Wales, and here's the link to join the Scottish Green Party.

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