Friday, 4 May 2018

SOS - Labour overboard

Set the bar low, and pretend to be surprised when you clear it.  A sensible political approach especially in a febrile and unsettled environment, especially given the inability of the commentators and media to contemplate anything more complicated than binary choice.  There is no satisfaction in surveying the hubris that suggested that, despite all the polling evidence, Labour would make a clean sweep in London and this would be a platform for the march towards a socialist dawn.

Instead, in the context where London is everything, Labour looks broken and emasculated.  Talking up the possibility of storming Tory citadels was unwise at best, suicidal at worst.  Failing to engage with the far more insidious, institutionalised racism and antisemitism in the Conservative bunker was foolish - and may well have been the deciding factor in entrenching the venal and corrupt Tory council in Barnet - but the real battle was for opposition to what is without doubt the worst and most incompetent government in modern British history.

The situation outside London is dire.  The Kipper vote has apparently reverted to its natural home amongst the far right hinterlands of the Tory party, undermining Labour's feeble mewling that it has to pander to the Leave hard-liners rather than its own natural supporters.  Pursuing this to the extent of denying opponents of both austerity and the self-inflicted agony of Brexit has not resulted in either a breakthrough outside the London bubble or the kind of protest vote that may have misled many of the more flat-earth Labour supporters into believing that "one more heave" would be sufficient to achieve victory.

That this victory would be Pyrrhic has not been lost on many - given the windy and incredible rhetoric around policy promises that cannot be delivered in an economy that unravels and fails as a consequence of a Brexit enabled and cheered through by a party leadership in de facto coalition with the Tories.  That it is impossible may be much harder for the Labour tribalisms to comprehend.

Commanding a Commons majority is not a matter of simple poll ratings, even in a corrupt and broken electoral system.  The geographical disaster facing Labour remains - the party cannot break through in Scotland, nor can it secure support sufficient to topple the Tories across much of England and Wales.  Modern politics is about pluralism and fluidity, not the kind of cap-doffing passivity that many of Labour's most hardened advocates assume is theirs by right.  

Electoral arrangements, however informal, can deliver - witness the supremely satisfying sight of watching Richmond's council change colour under the nose of Zac Goldsmith.  If the Liberal Democrats end up making larger gains than Labour it demonstrates that necessity and pragmatism are part of an armoury of opposition politics, as well as a clear rejection by many tactical voters of the catastrophic Janus-like equivocation of Labour on the key issues.

When and if this disgusting government falls, Labour cannot assume that it will step into the breach.  It was highly amusing to watch the rhetoric shift from Corbyn Year Zero to how strongly Labour had performed in the equivalent set of local elections in 2014, under the hateful rightwing stewardship of Ed Miliband.  Instead, much of Labour's venom remains focused on the Liberal Democrats - handy displacement activity for its own failings.

May has not done as well as she thinks out of the English elections - and Tory strategists will now be somewhat more concerned about the possibility of a Liberal revival given the recovery of ground in several areas of former strength.  This may be a more likely source of toppling the Tories if peak Labour has now been reached - after all Blair recognised this and the 1997 election turned into a triangulated landslide on the basis of a clear repugnance at the Tories.

More analysis will determine quite how far Labour has fallen short of its professed ambition - but its rhetoric makes it look like the largest loser of the night.  Tactical voting against Brexit parties may not have been sufficient to swing many results, but in a tight environment these are not voters to be ignored.  Hagiography and the cult of personality does not substitute for the active or passive support of those who do not stick their heads over the parapet of activism.

Opposing the Tories needs to be comprehensive and opportunist.  After these elections there is now the existential crisis of the Brexit fiasco to navigate - Labour will be judged by how much more damage can be inflicted on May and her farrago of inadequates.  Playing the long game is more than just inaction, it is about convincing a much wider spectrum that there is merit in compromising principles for the sake of electoral necessity.  Sadly the evidence is that Labour has not yet achieved either awareness or pragmatism.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

The Brexit wastelands - a conspiracy of silence

"Project Fear" was an effective trope.  Since the hard-right coup after the referendum, it has been used to mock those of us who recognise that, with a single manipulated plebiscite, the consequences will be dire.  Every time that news has emerged that is not pointing to imminent catastrophe it is deployed as a means of ridiculing the expert and the informed - neither of which are categories in which the current junta can be counted.

Not that this can be discerned from the BBC's biased and incompetent coverage of news and current affairs.  Their correspondents are overpaid poodles, their presenters corrupt purveyors of their own personal agendas - the Daily Heil on air and subsidised through a poll tax.  It has been a constant theme that every group feels marginalised by the state broadcaster, but there is no attempt now at impartiality or analysis - let alone covering the continuing and increasing dissent and discontent that may well foment civil uprising.  Any organisation that can justify the parasitic egocentrism and financial rapacity of Andrew Neil, John Humphrys, Andrew Marr and Nick Robinson, let alone the ridiculous parroting of Laura Kuenssberg is ripe for destructive scrutiny (and that's even before I get started on the Dimbleby).

What we are watching is a slow and sustained descent from the economic recovery that has been more or less coterminous with UK membership of the EU into a state of paralysis, stagflation and the destruction of the productive base of the economy.  GDP growth has now stuttered to a halt, investment and jobs are flowing out of the UK, and there is a crisis on a scale that is obvious to anyone who walks around but which appears to be invisible to the self-styled interpreters of the world.

Shops are closing, rents are falling, property prices are (to the delight of some) looking on the brink of a precipice, zero hours contracts and economic uncertainty are marginalising millions, and yet the focus is still on how to enable national suicide.  All the adaptation and support that the EU has given us is being removed - with the delusional that trade deals we negotiate with third parties will be better than the trade deals with the same third parties that we have now.  A peddling of snake oil and a blatant lie - the incompetent fund managers and entitled fascists like Jacob Rees-Mogg and Liam Fox will be laughing all the way to their offshore accounts.

May's evil administration has been bone-headed, amoral and incompetent.  The defenestration of Amber Rudd was inevitable from the moment that her failure to cover up May's own direct fascism and inhumanity towards the Windrush generation, among other groups that the Tories wish to stigmatise to appease Paul Dacre, but it does nothing to convince the undecided that there is any other motto in the Conservative Party than "don't get caught".

We now have government by the European Research Group, a Tory astroturf sect that makes Momentum look like the Mothers' Union.  What Rees-Mogg dribbles out of his Hitlerlan orifice seems to dictate government policy.  Mogg, a prime example of the boorish and entitled, forgets he voted against any effort to reform the House of Lords while threatening its members for defying his Nazi fantasies.  The idea that a revising chamber might be there to take into account the national interest rather than a selfish mutant's view of his own gain seems to be completely beyond Mogg and his scrofulous cronies.

In this situation, the official Opposition in the Commons seems locked into a de facto coalition - which makes the Corbynite attack on the Liberal Democrats both hollow and risible, as at least Clegg managed to secure a few morsels from supporting Cameron in office.  Their entitlement mirrors the hard right's, and they continue to perpetuate the myth that somehow, despite the destruction of the economy and the infeasibility of their aspirations to power, a Labour Brexit would work.  Hardly surprising that, faced with an amoral clusterfuck of a government, they are not achieving the unifying purge that Blair managed against a much less venal and incompetent administration after 1994.

Today's English local elections will be fascinating but frustrating.  In the absence of an opposition, we have to wait for the Tories to implode.  Mogg and Javid may see themselves as messianic figures with a sense of destiny, which at least demonstrates an independence of mind, but they are more likely to be the victims of a collapsed system where the normal rules of decency are suspended.  Their achievement is to make this seem almost desirable.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Another fortnight in a failed state

Neither of the two hegemonic parties in the UK has leadership or direction worth the name.  A government that, routinely, orders its pathetic lobby-fodder backbenchers to abstain whenever the Commons debates issues that it might be defeated over, matched with an official Opposition that seems totally paralysed in its duty to harry and overturn an administration corrupt, criminal and incompetent in all its manifestations.  This is not what a functioning country delivers.

In the last fortnight, the Tories have presided over one of the most shameful, inhumane spectacles in British political history.  The Windrush scandal, ably dissected by David Lammy and Yvette Cooper, should have claimed both the scalp of the current Home Secretary and the holder of the office when such grotesqueries were not merely suspected but revealed.  Corbyn was right that Rudd should resign - but we have not seen a resignation of substance over incompetence since Lord Carrington in 1982.  The Tories behave as though it is their right to squat in office - the Cabinet as though they have no accountability to Parliament or the electorate.  This is a system too sick to be sustained, let alone supported.

Against this background we have had bread and circuses in the form of another addition to the House of Windsor,  Vaguely interesting in that the child's impact on the order of feudal succession has some peripheral effect on other members of the monarchic soap opera, but entirely tedious in the context of the gushing froth pushed by the media.  "Healthy woman has child" is hardly worthy of blanket coverage, especially when the government is depriving the rights of citizens and telling lies about its knowledge of the targets set for deportation.   Inviting Trump for an official visit just about summed up the week - "no one likes us, we don't care" appears to be the mission statement of Theresa May and her coterie of inadequates.

Against this background you would have expected Labour to be forensic in its opposition, both in the Commons and in the country.  Instead there is the defensiveness over self-defined anti-semitism.  In this context, I am amazed that Labour have not sought to remind the Tories of the tendency of many of its members to dress up in Nazi uniforms and be pictured therein - or indeed to do a Rees-Mogg and dress up in Nazi ideology - and then for this all to be written off as "youthful exuberance" (other lies are available).  They would probably claim royal privilege, as the next parasitic wedding will be graced by a member of the family pictured as a role model to Young Conservatives everywhere.

This is not to deny that all parties need to examine their views and practices.  The anti-semitism issue is important, but it is a strawman to claim that Labour has a unique problem (the Tories, after all, have some particularly vile specimens in their attic).  Instead it is being used as a means of conflating prejudice and racism with many across the political spectrum who do not feel that crying anti-semitism is a sufficient deflection technique when anyone dares to question or criticise the actions of the Israeli state.  This is legitimate - prejudice against any group is not.

From the BBC's coverage, you would have been convinced that everything is proceeding perfectly towards a post-European sunlit uplands.  On every point of substance in the Tories' EU Withdrawal Bill, the House of Lords has done its duty and found it wanting in both content and constitutional propriety.  This has resulted in the Somerset Mosley calling for its abolition, as a revising chamber is antithetical to his view that failed fund managers with private fortunes are the best expression of the will of the people.  

The irony that this scummy anachronism is now finding his petard hoist by an equally unjustifiable chamber should not be lost - and in the meantime we should be delighted that there is still an effort to scrutinise the actions of Ministers.  The Commons has abdicated this responsibility.  The Lords is not what a democrat would want, but then the Commons fails miserably in both its representative function and in its capability to debate, challenge and govern.

The forthcoming English local elections will be interesting, both at the macro level and in terms of voting patterns in each authority - snap judgements will probably not be easy.  Labour should be massively ahead at the moment, an incompetent government struggling in all the basic competencies of administration parallels the perception of the Major years.  The Tories are presiding over economic stagnation, soon to become a full-blown recession, while eroding the last vestiges of civilisation.  Criticised for their own policies, for example over the rail franchising process, they should be reeling in ignominy.

As has been observed many times before, much of the policy platform emanating from Labour is entirely sensible and in the mainstream European Social Democratic tradition.  If Labour do not perform reasonably well in the elections, this will be a function of their inability to fuse this to a clear opposition to the direction of the government's European fiasco.  At that stage, a gamble on a shift towards outright opposition to the current disaster might be the only chance of rescuing both their party and their country - playing the patriot card would be a subtle shift but one that would resonate across the groups currently either sceptical, or, like me, totally alienated by Labour's sophistry and impotence on the defining issues.

Summer is just around the corner.  This should be the time of year when optimism abounds (even for cricket-watchers).  Instead, we watch mesmerised as the venal, cretinous and corrupt ally themselves with the feeble and the fence-sitters.  The people of the British nations deserve better - and at some stage the current fiction of the feudal state may be toppled from below unless there is a dramatic acceptance by the political leaderships of their failings and responsibility.  Not being the former Tory MP for Eastleigh, one is not advised to hold one's breath.

Monday, 16 April 2018

War as a distraction - the treachery of the Tories

Whenever the progeny of priests start virtue-signalling, it is obvious that they are perpetrating actions beyond the moral pale.  Anyone who has absorbed the teachings of Christianity (or at least the mainstream versions) would think twice about using their daughter-of-the-manse status as a defence against accusations of waging illegal war, let alone betraying the interests of the people over whom her party exercises usurped power.  The most amazing feature of Theresa May is the way in which she has assumed the mantle of a fourth-rate Enoch Powell, while sweeping all challenge and debate under the general heading of "treachery".

The Middle East has been the graveyard of political action for decades - problems that are difficult have become intractable because of the meddling of outside powers, and the lack of willingness to speak truth about the multiplication of evil.  Criticise, however mildly, the conduct of the Israeli regime, and, as Jeremy Corbyn has exemplified, there are howls of anti-semitism.  The same applies on the other side of the religious divide.  For May to claim some kind of moral mandate, cushioned as she is by wealth obtained by means at best dubious and at worst on the fringes of legality, is crushingly evil.

Nobody with an ounce of humanity would condone or support the Assad regime in Syria, whose outrages against its own population are becoming axiomatic.  However, to respond to the dog-whistle of Trump's lunatic governance-by-Twitter, without reference either  to the UK's constitutional conventions or to the international frameworks of the UN and the EU, represents a further descent into the illegitimate.  May has demonstrated throughout the EU negotiations that where she is likely to face defeat in the face of scrutiny and challenge, she would rather avoid the fight through a far-right coup.

Just because she is the prisoner of the hard-right of the Tory party does not make the current situation acceptable.  The irony is that had she waited she might have had a legitimate Parliamentary vote.  Instead she has demonstrated yet again that the current government does not act for the people or for the preservation of the national interest.  There has only been one assassination of a Prime Minister in English political history.  When the deranged and the messianic become empowered, as Blair demonstrated, the odds on a second decrease.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Distraction tactics for the Ides of May

The vultures circle, the fair-weather friends are looking anxiously at the door.  Theresa May, from the tone of hagiographic infatuation that the BBC now regurgitates (emulating other parts of the gutter press), is enjoying a period of strength and stability that would have been the envy of Gladstone, Lloyd George, Attlee, Thatcher and Blair, all multiplied into the messianic figure of an inadequate, rich career politician sustained by ill-gotten and exploitative gains.

Conservative Party reality is, as ever, much more cynical and murderous.  The inmates of that fractious charnel house are now fighting over the scraps of secular decline and the fratricidal motivations that come from having no common cause other than survival.  Whatever Jeremy Corbyn is, and isn't, it is highly convenient and therefore suspicious that the cries of anti-semitism (a useful catch-all when other attacks are failing) have coincided with the local election campaign, in which there are a number of obvious tips of the Tory iceberg that just might be swayed by a concerted monstering by the Daily Heil and other purveyors of odiferous propaganda.

Leaving aside the moral dubiety of a paper which has never disowned its support for Mosley, Mussolini and Hitler leading the howling moronic pack, it would be instructive to determine the extent of racism and anti-semitism within the Tories.  Not one Labour MP was jailed for supporting the fascist cause in the 1930s, or indeed the Communists, but there was at least one Tory who enjoyed a privileged life during the Second World War banged up and worrying about what might happen in the showers.

Were Labour to be sensible at this point, they would be suggesting that the Tories should put their own house in order as well, and even a multi-partisan approach across politics.  The Moggs of this world, with their affected disdain for democracy, the constitution as well as people who do not fit their worldview (mercifully this means that they only have concern for themselves as most of the rest of us are on a higher moral plane) are ripe for calling out and humiliating.  Corbyn, as ever, sees everything through the prism of the Labour Party - he is much more comfortable in internal faction-fighting than taking the battle to the real enemy.

This is a gift for May, alongside Corbyn's cack-handed handling of the Russian poisonings.  My view remains that there is much more to emerge about links between the various strands of the right-wing coup (Russia, Trump, the Leave campaigns and the Tories) that should be dominating the front pages.  With a poodle media and an opposition engaged in internal soul-searching, the stage is set for a short-term Tory rearguard action.  When this is complete, the right will be ruthless in trying to impose its own coup within the Tories - the tactics of entrism and the far left have been studied in some detail by the hard right / UKIP infiltrators.

May is not going to be in office much longer - her power has never been there, conditional upon the consent of her puppet-masters.  The current political mess is principally to create a diversion while the coup continues.  The time may well be coming where there is no alternative but to cross the boundary between argument and active resistance and denial of legitimacy of a usurping cabal of crooks and idiots - enabled by the inability of the main channels of communication to extend analysis and challenge into a void of their own creation.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Join the dots - Downing Street to the Kremlin.

To describe Theresa May as governing in the national interest would be ridiculous, unless said interest is of the Russian kleptocracy.  As the edifice of interference in electoral process and the purchasing of influence with Tory politicians becomes more and more exposed, the shakiness of any of her claims to leadership is apparent.  Wittingly or not, she is Putin's stooge and a much more useful ally than ever Jeremy Corbyn could be.  The instincts of the Tories coincide with those of authoritarian oligarchs and we are watching this play out.

This may seem, in the light of the diplomatic "row", to be counter-intuitive.  Yet when it is apparent that the Foreign Secretary's prowess at tennis (the Buster Mottram of the current generation) is sufficient to persuade a member of the Putin coterie to part with £160,000 to be knocked-up by the blond ape, and that the Russians are so confident to splash the cash that £30,000 provides you with the opportunity to have dinner with the risible and venal Gavin Williamson, whilst there are significant flows in donations into the Tory coffers, there is more than just the stench of suspicion but a rotting corpse presided over by an amoral leader.

While my views on Jeremy Corbyn's supine and disingenuous policy on the most fundamental economic and social challenge remain scrofulous, he has been subjected to the full glare of Tory diversionary tactics.  The fascist smear-sheets of the Heil and the Scum, ventriloquists' dummies for the self-interest and mendacity of Rupert Murdoch and Paul Dacre, ripped into him for raising reasonable questions about the conduct of the investigation into a terrorist assault on British soil - for those of us with long memories it is the same treatment meted out to Robin Cook and Charles Kennedy the last time a messianic delusionist sought to take us into conflict.

This time, I suspect that the quarrel is not genuine.  May knows that her grip on power is in the gift of the DUP, the Tory right and a media whose depths of evil have not been seen since Goebbels allowed Max Amann to take over the press in Germany during the 1930s.  She also knows that there is every possibility that the next few months will result in disaster in the English local elections, the Brexit reality will hit home and her sixty-plus right wing morons under the Oswald Mosley-lite leadership of Jacob Rees-Mogg will extract their pound of flesh even as the country turns against the Tories.  Add to this the decay of the Tory party machine, and its reliance on shadowy offshore backers like Lord Ashcroft, and you can see the advantage to a politician in shadow-boxing.

Shapes are shifting, although if you pay attention solely to the right-wing press, including the rapidly-imploding BBC, it is always somewhere else.  The Facebook and Cambridge Analytica revelations, tenaciously pursued by the Guardian and the New York Times may not have run its course - the trail will lead to the bot-farms and the bank-rolling of both Brexit and Trump.  If I were Arron Banks or Nigel Farage the proximate cause of sitting uncomfortably may be shifting from piles to incontinence in the light of the forthcoming nemesis.

May has done nothing to quell reasonable doubt that the Tories are not shielding offshore interests - and the rhetoric of patriotism has gone down several notches.  A reasonable person could conclude that there is something to hide, and more will emerge from the stinking recesses of the right.  Pass the popcorn.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

The unbearable triteness of Corbyn

Surveying the chaos and downright incompetence that the Tories are perpetrating, it is on occasion difficult to remember that the function of the opposition is to challenge and where possible frustrate the actions of imbeciles and traitors.  In the period since I last attempted to articulate anything beyond open-mouthed disbelief, disdain and contempt for the farrago of lies, ineptitude and self-seeking hypocrisy that the disgraceful Theresa May and her cronies are spewing out on a regular basis, there has been enough material to hang them from every political gibbet on offer.

Instead, the leadership of the alleged official opposition party is desperately trying both to enable the Tories to commit national suicide and to escape the blame for it.  The former is despicable, the latter is a tactic that those of us with long memories will recollect as being identified with the less intelligent strands of the hard left over the decades.  Unsurprisingly, given the nature of the current Labour leadership, its instincts are rooted in the pseudo-internationalism that relies upon besmirching the European project in the context of the Cold War and the Anglo-Soviet Friendship Society - astroturf before the term was invented for the rats of the Taxpayer's (sic) Alliance.

Corbyn and McDonnell are entirely consistent in their denigration of the European dimension of politics.  Their approach was forged in the 1970s and 1980s, where the catastrophism of Tony Benn's Alternative Economic Strategy coincided with the sense of national crisis and particularism that the right-wing media are continuing to peddle today to justify their proprietors' aims to reduce their tax bill and impose fealty.  The hard left were useful idiots to this construction then, and they are definitely playing along with this now for reasons unfathomable.

Hostility to Europe is hard-wired.  Labour's official position was aligned with Enoch Powell in the 1970s, and it was only the actions of the alleged traitors such as Roy Jenkins that allowed Heath to pass the European Communities Act in the first place.  Tony Benn and Michael Foot, both justifiably celebrated as intellectual and political mavericks, campaigned alongside Powell and others to withdraw from the EEC in the decisive referendum of 1975.  It might have been more honest for Corbyn to align himself with the Leave side in the unresolved plebiscite of 2016.  But Corbyn is no Foot, nor a Benn, however much his hagiographic cultists wish to portray him.

Again, the history of Labour during the period of its long decline was one of anti-European xenophobia.  The 1983 manifesto was unambiguously opposed to the EU, and it was only during the period where Kinnock shifted the party to within a hair's-breadth of electoral success that a more measured approach was adopted - a still-justifiable recognition that flawed institutions are best reformed from the inside, rather than by shouting abuse and pretending superiority.  This played out well for Blair as the Tories tore themselves to shreds after the Lisbon Treaty, while Corbyn voted, more often than not, aligned with the hard right.  A Hoey avant la lettre.

One of the characteristics of the hard left is its inability to engage with ambiguity.  The casuistry that Corbyn has permitted Labour to sink into has been redolent of the worst kind of theological discourse, without even a veneer of moral underpinning.  Over the last two months a discourse over the meaning of the customs union, with or without a definite article, has been the sole focus of Labour's official opposition to the suicidal tendencies of May, Johnson, Fox and Davis.  The vacuity of "jobs-first Brexit" remains unchallenged, although when many of my fellow dissidents dare to express our distaste for the moronic mantra we are howled down as not being true believers in the death cult.

Not that this worries his cheerleaders, who seem wedded to the idea that somehow one more heave will bring in the millennium.  While the UK"s national parody of democratic representation ensures a continuation of the media conspiracy of binary choice, the reality is that it will not remain the case, and that the fissile nature of political support does not guarantee an unfettered mandate for any party - especially one that has indicated that the tactical supporters it craves, especially those for whom the abandonment of the extreme Brexit idiocy is the principal determinant of support, should be ignored and belittled.  That is the approach that Militant and others used to test the commitment of their recruits - voters have other choices and will make them.

Recent pronouncements from the Labour leadership have been even less reassuring.  Playing the racist card is yet another throwback to the Powellite position.  The economically-illiterate bleating about the labour market seems to exist in doublethink, alongside the claims that the EU blocks nationalisation - despite the RMT and other hard-of-thinking cheerleaders constantly complaining that nationalised European utilities are able to enter the UK market.  At worst, it suggests that Powell's cynical support of Harold Wilson in the February 1974 election has made a subconscious impact on the hard left.  At best they are sticking to their wooing of the UKIP vote, which has now returned to its natural home in the Tory party, finding the racism and fascism of Rees-Mogg much more to its taste.

Were Corbyn genuine, he would be attempting to lead.  Instead, he ignores the elephant in the room that would render all his properly-identified policies that differentiate Labour from the Tories to become irrelevant.  Domestically, they are infinitely better than the oppressive, authoritarian garbage emitted by the current incompetent usurpers, bound as they are to the DUP, a party of neanderthals who would make Donald Trump blush.  If Labour wanted to win, they would not be spending their time virtue-signalling but engaging with the reality of what would need to be set out as the consequences of an electoral victory.  Meanwhile, the SNP has already started a redistributive taxation reform!

There would be no shame in Labour now adopting an approach that acknowledged the 2016 plebiscite without committing to its implementation without reference back either to Parliament or the electorate.  When John Major is more radical than Corbyn, alarm bells should be ringing.  If there is a strategy from within the Labour party apparatus, it appears to be to hope that the electorate blames May for the catastrophe while keeping a safe distance.  It won't wash, because there is much more than they can and could do to address the issues and inform people as to the consequences.  This plays right into the hands of the 62 Tory flat-earthers who hold May hostage - a smart opposition would exploit this.  As it stands, hand-wringing and Socialist Organiser throwbacks have captured and paralysed a party that should be standing on the threshold of power - and instead may well slip backwards when the mask of throwback idiocy slips.