Choose lies. Choose three jobs. Choose no career. Choose a divorce. Choose a really, really, really fucking big television, Choose auto-telling machines, coffee salons, artisan beers and self-service checkouts. Choose private healthcare, institutional cancer and dental veneers. Choose variable-rate private rentals. Choose a starter flat. Choose your competitors. Choose leisure wear made by children. Choose a corner suite on a payday loan in a range of fucking highly-flammable fabrics from non-EU countries. Choose PAYE and wondering where the fuck your Council tax went and all those fucking trees. Choose sitting on that Lay-Zee-Boy watching mind-numbing spirit-crushing talent shows, stuffing fucking calorie-counted, emulsified diet food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in an over-priced nursing home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked-up ministers you voted for to replace your lazy fucking conscience. Choose no future. Choose lies . . . And why would I not do a thing like that? I chose to choose lies: I chose nothing else. And the reason? There is no reason. Who needs reason when “brexit means brexit”?
Poor cow, I almost feel sorry for Theresa May. So desperate was she to get the premiership that she grabbed the most poisoned chalice since the Poll Tax, and betrayed all her barely discernible principles in the process. We should coin a phrase for this kind of infantile hubris; instead of “selling out” we should refer to it as “Clegging Up”.
Brexit is the most bone-headed act of mutual self-destruction since the appeasement of Hitler. I understand there are very strong emotions on both sides, but it must be clear to anyone with a brain larger than a walnut that we’re already getting fucked and it’s only going to get worse, and no-one knows what to do about it.
Except just stop it, that is, seeing as Article 50 has not been triggered and the referendum is not legally binding and it should be debated by parliament and blah, blah, blah (just add any of the other stuff us liberal-elite, unpatriotic remoaners keep banging on about).
It’s perfectly clear that there is not one person in our entire government who is remotely qualified, experienced or capable of managing such an unimagined contingency. What’s more, our government and parliament is largely (not completely) comprised of uneducated imbeciles. Sounds like a cheap, ad-hominem insult, I know, but in which other profession could a middle-aged person, with any degree of professional confidence or ethical credibility, move from a senior job in finance to a similarly pivotal role in the health sector? Or education, or defence, or social welfare? Quite a common occurrence among ministers in British government.
The British parliamentary system not only celebrates delusional, aspirational folly but also handsomely rewards any amount of corruption, misconduct and incompetence.
We now have a Prime Minister who actually said “brexit means brexit.”
In public. To the press. No, really, and we think Trump is an idiot.
Imagine if I went to work and a client asked me what audio-visual (AV) tech I was going to provide to achieve the required results, and I said “AV is as AV does.” I would be dismissed on the spot, but the British parliamentary system requires no such competence, actual or perceived.
When I was of school age, we used to tease each other by pretending we knew an embarrassing secret about another child but refusing to say what it was. Another technique was to start telling some tale and then abruptly stop and say “never mind, you wouldn’t believe me”. Both childish ruses, of course, to pretend some superior knowledge or advantage, and founded on nothing.
Rather like the government’s refusal to give details about its brexit negotiations. Most of us left that sort of behaviour in the playground but Theresa May is so immured in her Thatcher-a-like folly, she can neither recognise nor accept her own impotence. In a move reminiscent of the so-called Darwin Awards, which awards trophies to those whose acts of stupidity remove them from the gene pool, a woman that could countenance the appointment of Boris Johnson to Foreign Secretary has already selected herself for political extinction.
I must admit, I had lost my mojo a bit over the weekend and failed to come up with a satisfactory Playbolam™ for the 18th, although I did have a few ideas, and failed to get it published on time. However, I was saved by the doorbell and the arrival, the following day, of a few carefully chosen bits and bobs direct from Playmobil themselves.
Under the section of their online shop listed as “Last chance to buy”, I couldn’t resist the price reduced pink unicorn at £1.75, although I was not sure what use I would have for it. But as soon as I unpacked it, I could see Spooky May riding it as a symbol of Brexit, accompanied by a few kippers.
Seems so obvious now.
My own inaction was partly inspired by the sheer tyranny of choice, with so many easy targets for anger, frustration and downright incredulity at the sprawling omnishambles that is the British parliamentary system.
I see no future for Britain whilst such incompetence is tolerated. All MPs should be dismissed and re-elected, but employed on proper contracts of employment and overseen by an independent standards body that has the power to remove them from office and, if need be, prosecute them.
Until genuine oversight is applied to those in public office whose decisions affects the lives of others, there is no future but fascism, and we are destined to be lead by the very least among us.
I have received two emails from you recently and I am disappointed by both of them. Please don’t take this too personally because I still hope that I can have faith in you as my MP (Sheffield Heeley), although I am appalled by what is happening more broadly in the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).
In the first email dated 3rd July 2016 (attached below), about your statement of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn as leader, you say:
“we must have a leadership election, under the quickest possible timescale from which everyone must unite and abide by its result.”
We already did that.
Actually, you did but I didn’t. Because, despite being an associate member at the time, I was purged. I joined as a full member after Corbyn was elected leader (without my help), and I genuinely thought that it was the beginning of a return to proper democratic socialism. However, it seems that democracy and socialism are abundant in the membership but in short supply in the PLP.
I understand that there might be a concern that recently-joined members are joining to influence the result but without holding true to the values of the Labour Party. But charging newly-joined members an extra £25 is grotesquely cynical. I wonder how they are going to purge me this time. Maybe when this letter is published online, that will do the trick.
I know that us “Corbynistas” are often painted by the media as personality-cultists, but I had never even heard of Jeremy Corbyn until he was nominated in the leadership election, and the reason I supported him is that I discovered that there are still MPs in the Labour Party that embody the values that I have.
I was present on 31st March 2016 at the evening meeting where you and John Healey MP (Wentworth & Dearne) spoke at the Harland Café in Sheffield and I was appalled by how Healey finished his speech by imploring us “make sure you vote for us in 2020”. I’m afraid 2020 is going to be too late. MPs like him represent the permanent political class that could not care less if they achieve anything or not, whether or not they are being an effective opposition, as long as they keep their jobs. Even if he does not get re-elected, £74,962 per year (plus expenses) for the next four years is not too shabby when some of the people sleeping rough in Sheffield (or Wentworth and the Dearne) will not survive that long.
I have lived most of my life in this area, but have never seen such levels of homelessness and begging. Vulnerable and disenfrachised people need help now, not in 2020 or 2025, or whenever the Labour Party can manage to get elected again. In the meantime, the London-centric political games within the PLP achieve nothing for these people.
The Labour Party, in coalition with other left-leaning parties, should be pushing for a General Election now.
Your second email (attached below) of 14th July 2016 concerned the Chilcot Report.
I am concerned by the use of the phrase “learn lessons”. We heard that phrase used about the un-prosecuted paedophiles protected by Margaret Thatcher and other government ministers and civil servants. We also heard that phrase being used to excuse MPs for their extravagant expenses claims, rather than prosecuting them for fraud.
Sure, we need to learn lessons, but we have already had every opportunity to learn the lesson about getting involved in interventional foreign wars already. It’s almost as if John Pilger had never spoken about it, or Tony Benn, or Robin Cook, or Jeremy Corbyn.
When are these lessons going to be learned?
I hope your use of that phrase is not a veiled reference to you not supporting any motion in Parliament to condemn and possibly prosecute Tony Blair for his complicity with the United States in their pursuit of war for profit in Iraq. MPs and PMs have an exceptional responsibility due to the influence they exert over the citizens of their own country, as well as a million un-named men, women and children in Iraq, or the desperate refugees drowning in the Mediterranean Sea to escape US & UK-sponsored anarchy and war in Libya and Syria.
I do not advocate punitive measures for the sake of it, but Blair should be prosecuted, both as punishment and deterrent, for his callous disregard of the consequences of his actions, especially in the light of a protest of millions, and ignoring the now-vindicated counsel within his own party.
British politics is a circus of corruption, greed and incompetence, but these days there seems to be no responsibility taken by those who destroy lives and livelihoods.
I was delighted when you were elected MP for Sheffield Heeley, and that you seemed to support Jeremy Corbyn and traditional left-wring values, and hope you will continue to do so.
We face imminent, catastrophic and existential threats; climate change, the destruction of our ecosystem, unregulated property & financial speculation, and the proliferation of war. We currently have a government whose actions are actively contributing to all of them. The only hope we have is a coalition of the Left, but that requires solidarity within parties and unity between the parties, against the Conservatives. Whilst the PLP is squabbling amongst themselves, the Tories are stealing public property, turning our schools into profit centres for corporations and sending our fellow citizens to kill or be killed in foreign lands.
We can’t wait until 2020, we can’t wait another minute.
Sheffield Heeley CLP – Member L1428585
Email from Louise Haigh – email@example.com – 3/7/16
I’m writing obviously in response to the events of the last 10 days. As I’m sure you can imagine, I’ve received many hundreds of emails about the current issues in the Labour Party on all sides of the debate, all of which i have taken time to consider very carefully. Over the last week I have resisted all media calls to comment on the deepening crisis; I have always refused to provide a running commentary on internal Labour matters as I believe our grievances should be discussed privately. I appreciate, however, that everyone is very anxious about the current state of affairs and keen to know my thoughts so I want to be completely honest with you about where I think we are now.
Last Friday at our monthly CLP we had a discussion around the EU referendum campaign and the impending motion of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn. Here, in our bit of Sheffield, local members ran a fantastic campaign on Europe but sadly the result was very disappointing. Nationally, I do not believe that Jeremy and his team were particularly committed to the campaign and on some occasions they actively obstructed it but I do not believe we can lay the blame for the vote with Jeremy. My experience in that campaign was of many people in areas such as Arbourthorne, Gleadless Valley and Jordanthorpe who felt alienated and disenfranchised from the political establishment and who voted to Leave. No one person could have turned the tide on that wave of resentment that has been growing in these communities, like so many similar communities around the country, over the last 15-plus years. However, I did make clear at that meeting that I had concerns around the competency of the current leadership and Jeremy’s wider team.
I strongly believe that the motion of no confidence was brought forward at the wrong time – when the country had just taken a huge and potentially catastrophic decision, when the Tories were in meltdown and when we had a very serious job to do as an opposition. However, over the weekend and on Monday the sacking and resignations of so many of the frontbench team left the situation untenable. Consequently, on Tuesday when I was asked ‘do you have confidence in the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn?’ I couldn’t honestly say that I did, as I could not see any way that this situation could continue.
This was an incredibly difficult decision as I have been totally supportive of Jeremy since his election, I voted with him against the Welfare Bill, I oppose the renewal of Trident and I know we need an end to austerity. I have served, and continue to serve, on his front bench and I have only ever been positive in the media and in public about him. Any concerns I’ve had have always been raised privately. Yet now I really believe that we cannot continue as we are. We are currently not able to fulfil the very basic, day-to-day operation as the Official Opposition in Parliament, which now more than ever is vital as we enter Brexit negotiations.
This has been an incredibly hard two weeks. I am so sorry that it has come to this. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the country faces its biggest challenge since World War Two. It is now our duty, first and foremost, to hold the Leave campaign to account and to offer a new radicalism to the British people. And I do not think we are currently capable of that. I completely respect the mandate Jeremy has from the membership, but in order to lead Labour in Westminster he has to have a parliamentary mandate too.
I think it’s right that colleagues currently in the Shadow Cabinet have called for a period of calm so that everyone can take a breath and look at where we are. If there is any way to find a solution, to bring unity and to get on with opposing the government, I will support that. If that doesn’t happen, then we must have a leadership election, under the quickest possible timescale from which everyone must unite and abide by its result.
I just want to reiterate how difficult and unpleasant this has all been. I take absolutely no joy in any of it; I feel desperately sorry that we have all let down those who supported Jeremy, but I am afraid we are now at an impasse and, with a General Election potentially looming, I believe we cannot continue as we currently are.
As ever, please do email or call if you want to raise any further thoughts or suggestions with me.
All the best,
Email from Louise Haigh – firstname.lastname@example.org – 14/7/16
Dear Richard —
Last week the Chilcot Report revealed the scale of the catastrophic mistake which was the Iraq War. For the families of service personnel killed and those injured and for millions of Iraqis the consequences of that war are something they will live with for the rest of their lives.
As a member of our local Party I wanted to write to you following the debate on the report which has just taken place in the House of Commons. For many of us the Iraq War was a bitter moment, one that defined our politics and one that needed answers. Today, in the House of Commons, was a moment for truth.
I was fifteen when we shamefully went to war in Iraq but I remember very clearly the powerlessness I and millions felt as the Prime Minister chose war in the teeth of fierce domestic and international opposition. Some thirteen years later, Chilcot has been very clear that the US were desperate to force regime change and that the UK Government promised in a private memo to follow them “whatever”.
The failure to properly challenge intelligence which was described as “flawed”, the failure to adequately scruitinise the case for war, the failure of the top intelligence committee to even entertain the idea Iraq didn’t have WMD, the failiure to exhaust all diplomatic avenues and the failiure in post-war planning stemmed from that determination to go to war.
Millions who marched in the build-up to war, and our very own Robin Cook who made an historic speech, saw then what we know now. A passage from the speech given by Robin Cook on the 18th March 2003 was telling: “What has come to trouble me most over past weeks is the suspicion that if the hanging chads in Florida had gone the other way and Al Gore had been elected, we would not now be about to commit British troops.”
What is vital now though is that we learn lessons that are still relevant from this conflict.
That military timetables should not consume the diplomatic avenue, the Cabinet should be properly consulted and the way in which facts and knowledge on the one hand and opinion, judgement and belief on the other are presented should never be allowed to become blurred as the case for war is made.
Above all else what this Inquiry has confirmed is that those voices not backed by the powerful or vested interests have once again been vindicated. While government was taking us to war on “flawed intelligence and assessment” which was not properly challenged, while the media were not adequately scrutinising the case and indeed demonised those who argued against war, millions of people were saying that this was wrong. History has proven that they were right. That is the vital lesson of Chilcot and let’s never forget it.
It seems I am not as much of a tinfoil-hat-wearing space-cadet as you might think. I genuinely did not think the UK would vote to leave the EU. I thought it was all just a waste-of-time sop from the Conservatives, pretending to give a tiny fuck about what British people want.
What’s more, although I was expecting another financial crash, I didn’t think #Brexit was going to cause Sterling to shit a kidney. Also, I didn’t expect a spike in race-hate crime, or the cynically opportunist Labour leadership attempted coup.
But what I have been whinging on about for years is the bias in the mainstream media (so beloved of us lizard-spotters), the promotion of anti-immigration propaganda and the demonisation of Muslims.
Here is a three-part tweet from Channel 4 News’ Krishnan Guru-Murthy on July 1st, expressing his disdain for people wearing safety pins as a sign of solidarity with immigrants in the UK:
Re pin wearing : 1. Most people are not violent, abusive racists so u don’t need to tell me you are normal – I assume that already
— Krishnan Guru-Murthy (@krishgm) July 1, 2016
2. I don’t want my kids to be conditioned to fear those who don’t wear a symbol saying they are ok
— Krishnan Guru-Murthy (@krishgm) July 1, 2016
3. There are a host of better ways to fight and prevent discrimination and abuse
— Krishnan Guru-Murthy (@krishgm) July 1, 2016
A bit late for the disingenuous turd to be saying that now after he, along with Cathy Newman, Jon Snow and the rest of the Channel 4 News presentation and editorial team have been happy to spread daily propaganda about immigration, Syrian “migrants” and radicalised Muslims for years.
But it’s not just Channel 4 News, these days BBC News is nothing more than a wing of the Conservative Party press office and both channels have given a platform for the inflammatory lies of UKIP’s Nigel Farage on an almost daily basis.
Why is that? Why would a supposedly unbiased news channel give disproportionate coverage to one very minor, single-issue party?
And why is Rona Fairhead the chair of the BBC “Trust”? (Try googling her if you don’t know who she is).
But the most important question remains: why would the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom not take one of the few opportunities available to him to be remembered as a statesman?
When the referendum is not legally binding, when both sides of the referendum campaigns have been revealed to have misled the public, when the majority is so small, when more than four million people have signed a petition calling for a second referendum, and when the result has directly led to a five-fold increase in race-hate crimes, why not halt the process, consult with the public, parliament and the EU, and provide for a second referendum?
Whatever speculation you might like to entertain about what went down in Downing Street, I couldn’t possibly comment. But I will be very interested to find out with which corporations David Cameron gets non-executive directorships when he leaves parliament.
In October 2014, I worked as the event technician at an afternoon conference at a hotel in Sheffield. With hindsight, I wish I had paid more attention, but one of the speakers said something that really sticks in my mind; a man from Kier (one of the PFI construction and infrastructure contractors to Sheffield City Council) said, during his presentation, “It’s no secret that the US military want to move all their European operations to the UK, and we want a piece of that action.”
I’m paraphrasing because I didn’t make an audio recording and I didn’t write a transcript at the time, but it’s come back to haunt me in the light of our recently passed referendum on EU membership. I didn’t sign a non-disclosure agreement, nor was I asked not to repeat anything I heard at that meeting and, apparently, it’s no secret.
He didn’t go into detail, and I cannot recall well enough to know if he meant actual military bases, or the stationing of aircraft, or simply administration. Or maybe he meant the so-called “black sites”. Outside of the EU, and without that tiresome Human Rights business, the UK would be a very convenient strategic location.
I have heard no mention of this since, on any media channel, and it might not be what it seems, but I can’t help being reminded of the so-called “special relationship” between the UK and US, so beloved of Reagan and Thatcher, as well as Churchill and Roosevelt. A special relationship between two countries sounds like a good thing, but what it eventually revealed itself to be was the use of RAF Greenham Common as a base for US nuclear bombers, and and our own nuclear power industry supplying the US with plutonium for the warheads.
Make no mistake, when I refer to “Americans” in this context, I do not mean the people of US nationality, I mean the establishment of the USA. That is the CIA, the NSA, the military-industrial complex, the National Rifle Association (NRA), the privatised prisons, the medical insurance companies, big pharma, fast-food corporations and the blood-sucking financial speculators of Wall Street. The government-corporate complex in the UK is corrupt to the core, but almost a paragon of virtue compared with the United States.
Over the last 30 years, Britain has been actively diminished by the greedy obsessions of Margaret Thatcher’s denial of society and the promotion of consumption and selfishness, and my motives are a lot more complex than just wanting to grab a piece of that action without considering its consequences.
I voted Remain (warts and all) because every time I go to a European country I am delighted by the experience, although often ashamed of my own association of being English / British. Because we have a reputation, hard-won, of being drunken, thuggish and ignorant. I aspire to be more European, not less, but there is a much more frightening spectre at this particular bonfire of the cultural vanities: the United States.
Without the protection of the European bloc, I worry that the paid-for shills in the UK Conservative party have already made a pact with the devil, and I do not want the UK to be the jumping off point for the US’ military coups, “extraordinary renditions” or democracy-bringing in Europe or anywhere else.
I voted remain for two reasons: becasue I want to be more like Europe (warts and all) and because I do not want to live in the fifty-first state of the USA.
I wish I’d saved yesterday’s blog title for today, but never mind, there’s plenty of dirt to go around. It’s a shame George Orwell and Adolf Hitler did such a good job documenting the subtleties of expert propaganda, it’s almost too easy these days.
Here are the timings for the Channel 4 News 7pm bulletin on Wednesday.
19.00 – 19.02 Various intros.
19.02 – 19.11 Manchester child abuse scandal.
19.11 – 19.14 John Lowe shotgun murders.
19.14 – 19.16 Latvian cargo plane intercepted by fighter jet.
19.16 – 19.21 The Emir of Qatar meets the Queen and David Cameron in London.
19.21 – 1924 Tesco investigated for alleged false accounting.
19.24 – 19.25 NIBs about landslide in Sri Lanka, Ebola and Rio Ferdinand.
19.25 – 19.37 Substantial feature on economic migrants from Bulgaria to Germany.
1937 – 19.40 Antares rocket failure.
19.40 – 19.45 Interview with director Christopher Nolan about new film “Interstellar”.
19.45 – 19.46 “Adverts”.
19.46 – 19.51 Feature about Grime music.
19.51 – 19.56 Feature & interview with musician & writer Kate Tempest.
No mention at all of radicalised Muslims or UKIP on Wednesday, but plenty of xenophobia and some subtle anti-EU propaganda.
I’m including the first feature about child abuse in my total of time dedicated to xenophobia because of a rather prominent mention of sexual abuse happening “above kebab shops, above pizza parlours” and how they are “still driving around in their taxis”, and we all know which particular stereotype that is reinforcing. However, the most startling comment in this bulletin was when John Snow asked Nazid Afzah from the Manchester Crime Prosecution Service, ”what is it about these Northern cities?”
Well, John, I can only guess that Theresa May MP (currently Home Secretary) did not give “these Northern cities” as much of a head start to misplace their incriminating dossiers.
The Emir of Qatar comes to London to negotiate buying weapons. The same Gulf state that is suspected of ending up in the hands of ISIL, but no mention of the newly de-classified documents revealing how the CIA (with the help of the British government) engineered the Iranian coup of 1953 which eventually led to the Islamic revolution of 1979. It’s pretty common knowledge and seems like a no-brainer to link all this up with the proliferation of war in the Middle-East and the dirty tricks on behalf of the US and UK.
However, the most subtly invidious feature was about the Bulgarian youths, apparently economic migrants, being trafficked to Germany, promised work but (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) used as rent boys. The feature ended with a translated quotation about how with Bulgaria now being in the EU, their lives will be like that for years. It was just a veiled indictment of free movement in the EU.
The rest of it was fluff apart from the ad break which featured one advert for a confrontational documentary entitled “Make Leicester British”. Bless.
So, for Wednesday 29th October 2014, I count 22 minutes (approximately) out of 56 dedicated to demonising immigrants and the EU.