Sunday, 26 March 2017

May's idiocy signalling and her doomed voyage.

Entrepreneurs may find a market in Theresa May dog chews.  Those who remember Spitting Image and their latex Thatcher have an inkling of the catharsis that this would provide both dogs and their owners - in a country being systematically pillaged by a frightened, inadequate leader and her shadowy controllers a diversion for canine pleasure might have both more credibility and integrity as a national figurehead than a shrill, divisive, third-rate charlatan.

Given the apparent Tory dominance in England, May's turpitude may seem to be a paradox.  Surely she is a colossus of the political landscape?  Surely her mandate and her writ extend to a breadth that would cause Nelson Mandela to gasp in admiration?  Surely she has tapped into the popular conscience and the depth of deficiency in the polity of the British Isles to an extent where opposition is futile and where those who doubt are the insane and the depraved, to be hounded out and ridiculed?

Last week, the ongoing global terrorist wave visited  England.  From the hand-wringing and sanctimonious piffle being spread around by a compliant media sector, you would consider this an outrage unparalleled.  This evil act was no more, or less, odious than others where innocent blood is spilled.  Less than a year ago, a right-wing terrorist killed an MP.  From the virtue signals from the echoing cretins who lap up May's false piety, the undertones of unacceptable fascism need to be drowned out by the false patriotism shrieks.  Innocents have been killed, there have been acts of heroism and self-sacrifice.  My abiding image of May is of her being spirited away from the centre of the action as if her worth is somehow more than those of the citizens she oppresses.

May's manipulative dominance of events extended further.   From the majority of broadcast media yesterday, the interested citizen could have been forgiven for not noting a massive pro-European event in London and its sister in Edinburgh.  The agenda was set instead by the defection of the defective Douglas Carswell (again) - and the reaction from pound-shop fascists Arron Banks and Nigel Farage.  While the splits in UKIP are amusing, and resemble the spewing maw into which their National Front and BNP ancestors descended, 100,000 people actively challenging and celebrating their right to dissent from an alleged consensus should be more than a footnote on the BBC website below self-promotion of some idiocy entitled "Carpool Karaoke".  I, and I suspect many others, will expect a typical fobbing-off to complaints raised thereupon.

The narrative of power that May seeks to present is illusory.  With the Conservative Party's cupidity, dishonesty and downright corruption fined by the Electoral Commission, scrutinised by multiple police forces and the Crown Prosecution Service, she is sitting on a dishonest majority, secured through subversion and criminality.  Other parties are not spotless, but this is the kind of stain that should, were more journalists and editors prepared to act in the public interest, be seen to be spreading its contagion.  She is a squatter, not a Prime Minister.

Not that this is recognisable in the context of the laudatory sycophancy of the BBC.  In half a decade, its news and current affairs has become unrecognisable.  The constant parade of UKIP,  the Tory lunatic fringe and the egotism and obvious bias of such scions as Andrew Marr, Andrew Neil, David Dimbleby and John Humphreys, coupled with the official spokesman status of the risible Laura Kuenssberg, is all symptomatic of a state broadcaster relieved of any aspiration to represent a public service rather than acting as a cross between Pravda and soma. The overwhelming tone of the BBC's coverage of events is irresponsible Panglossianism, pretending that there is no dissent, no alternative and that the huge risks to Ireland and Scotland are locals being uppity against their self-styled betters.

This week, May will reach the apex of her power.  She will set her idiotic legacy in motion - and then the combination of returning chickens and the Tory/fan interface will become very messy.  Juncker, Tusk, Verhofstadt and others have analysed her pride, hubris and ignorance to perfection.  The price of stupidity and blind arrogance will be fiscally and reputationally enormous - all presided over by someone who is unpleasant, selfish and incapable of the role to which her cupidity has led her.  She does not deserve respect or loyalty.  She is disturbed beyond belief, and her crimes will haunt her.  By then, her toxic legacy will have destroyed all her adherents and her professed, but mendacious, commitment to the Union and the people.  If this isn't treasonable, it is hard to define what would be.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Scotland's future: not defined by Brexit

Lazy journalism begets inept and unscrutinised politicians.  It also assists in manipulating the terms of debate to a simplistic set of stylised buzzwords, deployed in cliche-ridden soundbites.  Although the current sparring between Scotland's elected First Minister and the UK's usurped Prime Minister is highly entertaining, it obscures the challenges that nearly tipped Scotland into independence in 2014, and has the danger of shifting the terms of debate to where the Tories want them to be.

The racism and ignorance that much of the BBC's UK-wide coverage encourages is unsurprising - I managed a few minutes of an extremely peculiar Question Time before resorting to Laphroaig and the certainties of bed, where it was clear that the pensionable and bigoted Dimbleby was completely out of his depth.  Confirmation bias, maybe, but nevertheless indicative of a forthcoming dumbing down of any of the discourse that a mature constitutional democracy should aspire to.  The obvious rejoinder is that the UK is neither mature nor democratic, which defines the scale of the opportunities for discussion and debate.

It suits the BBC and the Tories, in their simplistic vilification of the SNP, to portray this as a combination of nationalism and sour grapes after the EU referendum.  Gladiatorial combat is much easier to present than a nuanced exposition as to why there is a significant, activist-based campaign in Scotland seeking to revive the debate about independence and the future of a broken Union.  Far easier to ignore this than engage.  Additionally, there is a risk that the anti-Brexit lobbies will adopt Scotland's cause as their own - using Scotland as an expositor of the failures of the United Kingdom for their own ends.

Whatever the future timings of any independence referendum, and the political context of relationships between a dictatorial, centralising state and an emerging, upstart representative democracy, the case will need to be considered on many levels, and with more dimensions than a simple binary choice would indicate.  The balance of probabilities, the risks and the opportunities are all to be defined - and only then will it be possible to make a final judgement on the correct choice.

This is not party-political, but a choice for citizens.  Sturgeon, as a much more astute operator than almost any other contemporary office holder, realises this.  It is not about promoting the SNP but about a vision of what Scotland is, what it might be and what are the blocking factors to achieving the right end point.  The 2014 campaign was fought mainly around the economy by the British establishment, and on a false set of promises Cameron and Brown delivered in the panic before the referendum itself.  The prospectus needs to be honed to be convincing.

For the nostalgic Unionists, disturbing the status quo is seen as unthinkable.  Despite the infliction of constitutional outrage through the Brexit process, apparently this level of turmoil is acceptable for the colonials whether or not they support it.  Irony and jaw-dropping are the natural response to the exhortations only to make decisions on the basis of evidence and not to be impulsive, which the Nanny of Downing Street parrots like a demented gargoyle whenever she is pressed on the subject.

A progressive engagement needs to be centred on the basis of engagement of both identity and economy - with no presuppositions that a 19th century model of the nation state remains viable.  Scotland is no smaller than many European states, which appear both to flourish culturally and economically.

There are social, political and logistical issues that need to be defined - although the Scottish Government's White Paper before the 2014 referendum remains a model of relative thoroughness compared to the UK maladministration's farrago of lies and busking that characterises its current approach.  A nation defined by geography and values does not have to be coterminous with historic borders, nor with the conception of sovereignty that is currently peddled by the rose-tinted Empire Loyalists.

The cultural disconnect is getting greater with each ham-fisted, leaden intervention by UK politicians and their lackeys.  The political disconnect is huge - with the Tories, Labour and Liberal Democrats in Scotland acting as echo-chambers for the reactionary cause.  In the case of the latter this is distinctly illiberal, caused by hubris that has not been punctured by near-annihilation and posturing alongside the Tories.  The pro-independence cause will be able to pick off people whose allegiance is not SNP, and pitched carefully it should create a broader coalition looking beyond the pre-referendum party fissures and to what a modern polity would look like.

Whenever the next referendum occurs, choices will be made on the day, and with a strong emotional drive.  The absence of a legitimate UK narrative, and the fissures in Northern Ireland, will reinforce the emotions - but it is a key challenge to those forces, including the SNP, advocating and planning for an independent future to provide the rational underpinning.  Brexit is part of the democratic deficit and the end of the UK legitimacy.  For those of us who are leaning towards supporting independence this needs to be a symptom, not a cause.  It is the final insult in a cumulative process - it does not in itself define the right direction for the future of Scotland.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Madame May: Gravedigger of the Union

Trotsky called Stalin the "gravedigger of the revolution:.  The Maidenhead Ghoul's vile amalgam of Thatcherism, Hitlerism and Stalinism has been on full display, a vicious lashing-out at Scotland as another dog-whistle racism designed to appeal to her echoing troglodytes as the desperately flails in the cesspit of incompetence revealed by Davis and the ongoing criminal investigation into the Tory Party's corruption of the 2015 General Election.

Poundshop Maggie's attempts to slap down the upstart natives are doomed from the start.  She is not a legitimately-elected leader, and the government over which she presides was inflicted upon the formerly-United Kingdom through its constitutional inadequacies.  She constantly arrogates to her coterie the powers rightfully exercised by the judiciary and the legislature - haughtily defining her "will of the people" which has more to do with a post-death disposition of assets than any definable expression of the national interest.

The parade of malice, mendacity and incompetence that her alleged government has spewed this week makes the worst experiences of the Major and Blair years seem to be epitomes of competence and accountability.  Davis, in admitting that his overpaid and understaffed department does not understand or define the consequences of the likely dash over the cliff when the EU fails to agree to the fantasy of British entitlement, merely confirms his true purpose and his ignorance.  It is disgusting, but predictable.

It would be a fool who expects Philip Hammond to remain in office for much longer - probably supplanted by Boris or "Sir" Philip Green as exemplars of fiscal probity.  Whatever the rights and wrongs of his Budget proposals, the Imelda Marcos of Berkshire hung him out to dry when her paymasters and manipulators in the media got their teeth into him - preferring to side with the idiots and illiterates.  This is on top of the economic catastrophe that awaits, lurking even in the caution of the Monetary Policy Committee and its forecasts of inflationary depression.

Add to this the Electoral Commission's record, but pathetic, fine meted out to the Tories for their conduct of a repugnant campaign two years ago.  Even if there are only a relatively small number of their spavined, grasping backbenchers prosecuted there is a reasonable supposition that many more will be uncrossing their legs and changing their underwear.  This gives the impression of a party that gained power corruptly, and is in effect squatting having usurped the machinery of government illegitimately.

Against this background, being wrong-footed by a skilful politician like Nicola Sturgeon must have rankled.  May is inadequate and deluded, and this will have rankled even more as it comes from a part of the country which is so hostile to Tories that the rancid Ruth Davidson and the disgusting David Mundell are their primary orifices to spew the forelock-tugging acquiescence in a plutocratic nightmare.  May managed to emulate the still, lamentably, extant Michael Howard's response to Paxman in her cretinous mantra denying the legitimacy of any Scottish Parliament request for a referendum.

Leaving aside the grotesque hypocrisy of deploying all the same arguments against any new Scottish referendum that were used by the pro-EU side of last year's referendum, this is not smart politics.  Whether or not there is a referendum before the lunatics dismantle the economy and society across the country becomes moot.  It shifts the debate onto the legitimacy of the state and the operation of an oppressive and coercive regime - and makes May look like the authoritarian maven that she is.  This plays into the SNP's strengths, and will make many, like me, who are not natural SNP supporters, partisans to escape a colonial yoke.  I shall return in more detail to this imminently.

As the final acts of fascist folly enact themselves, May will be shrill, stupid and mendacious, as she has been throughout her coup.  Defenestrating her may come from many angles, but she has shown no ability to govern, to engage or to recognise political ambushes when they are lurking.  More are round the corner, and the arrogance of her position will ultimately unravel - the Union and the last vestiges of the Imperial delusion will fall away.  The revolution will come on the back of the Tory Stalinists being exposed and toppled.  It is to be hoped that it will not come on the back of a bloodbath.

Monday, 13 March 2017

How Brexit will devour its own - and why we should let it

Fat-headed Philip Hammond is just the first of the parade of fools to feel the force of vengeance.  It is very difficult to feel any sympathy for a man whose first Budget managed to unite all the fascist cheer-leaders in condemnation, as his changes to National Insurance contributions bit at a constituency which had previously been championed by the Tories.  The self-employed will be the first of many of the groups who will be disadvantaged as the consequences of the idiocy hit home.  The ramifications could be fascinating.

From a purely theoretical perspective the evening-up of NICs for the self-employed is correct.  It is one of the distortions that has encouraged legal tax avoidance by companies and destroyed the social cohesion provided by the welfare state.  Where employers used to have obligations for holidays, pensions and the kind of benevolence that the new right has spent thirty years dismantling, the effect of self-employment and the reduction in personal tax liability has caused many "outsourced" or casual workers to become self-employed. Reducing the short-term financial gain may stiffen resistance to the moral evasion that has resulted in many being complicit in their own marginalisation.

The problem with such an analysis is that it is theoretical rather than visceral.  The Tories, and their allies in the media, have created the delusion that whatever the costs and fall-out of Brexit are, they will fall on the mythical "someone else".  That this is a manifestly lunatic position has not stopped the full wrath of the tabloids from descending on Hammond.  He is rich, arrogant and sufficiently deluded to ride this one out, but he is merely the first of many Tory scalps that will be claimed as the hard right and the Nazi fringe attempt to shift the blame.

Osborne's failed austerity, which brought untold misery born of economic ignorance, is now allied to a prodigious attempt to stave off the consequences of May's folly and malice.  Her misanthropic stupidity has been used by the Tory extremists as a stalking-horse to extend the worst and most divisive excrescences of Thatcherism, and as a means of imposing a quasi-fascist "will of the people" where such a formulation is manifestly bogus.  Hammond must be banking on the entire edifice unravelling, as given the incompetence and complicity of Labour, it is unlikely that the Tories will be leaving UK office any time soon.

NICs are the tip of the iceberg.  The Tories, in Opposition, used to criticise Brown for stealth taxation.  This will come back to haunt them.  There will be raids on pensions, savings and increases in direct and indirect taxation, alongside further reductions in spending.  This will be against a background of economic insanity - rising inflation, unemployment and potentially rising interest rates in both nominal and real terms as the sheer weakness of the UK economy becomes clear.  As the toxic anti-social impact of the Brexit process unravels, this is a cocktail of despair.

For those of us who have believed that the tragedy should not be a possibility, and should at the least be mitigated, there is the potential for militant Schadenfreude.  A temptation to be avoided, I think, given that the hysterical reaction of the cornered rat has been demonstrated by the response to Hammond.  Instead it is time to provide solidarity and mutual support for those who are standing for sanity, and allow the lunatics to believe their control over the asylum is more than a temporary blip.

When the process unravels, the irrational response will be to blame those of us who could see the internal contradictions and fallacies, and warned of them.  The next few months are likely to be uncomfortable for all of us in this position, but this is now a war of attrition.  The Cabinet is populated by traitors and idiots, abetted by the Corbynist tendency.  There is a media that is feral in its ignorance.  This is not the time to campaign on the basis of a final victory but to build up attrition - it is time to work alongside friends in Europe and construct a platform that will sustain the successor states as the UK unravels.

We should also enjoy the spectacle, as the contradictions and mendacity bite back.  Pointing this out is necessary - but as we have discovered the monobrows cannot accept the simple relationships of cause and effect.  Rather than this, protecting ourselves and bracing for the reaction to betrayal and persistent mendacity becomes essential.  The endgame may not be Britain formally leaving the EU, it will be the destruction of the apparatus that has allowed a coup, and that has subverted the constitution.  The traitors may not find their heads displayed at Temple Bar, but their reputation will be sullied.  Having been treated as irritants and wreckers by May and her cabal, turning the tables may not result in humanitarian charity.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Opting out from the British dance of death

The irrational triumphs.  Recusing yourself from expressing extended opinions is an attractive option when the idiots and the trolls have the upper hand.  The last month has been a protracted exercise in the insane and the deluded, but the new landscape is becoming clearer.  Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn coalesce in a bizarre, jelly-like treachery, bringing the day of the collapse of British politics and the United Kingdom construct closer to its dawning.

May has demonstrated both cynicism and unfitness to lead.  The manipulative mendacity of her "will of the people" mantra, repeated with the cretinous certainty of a toddler forming its first words, plays to a gallery of cynical puppet-masters, who see her as an easy Sooty.  The Dacres of this world are queuing up to get their hands dirty, her willingness to subvert democracy and even the constitution of the country of which she has claimed to take back control should result in impeachment and criminal liability.  Nobody is arguing that she should not enact the result of an advisory referendum, merely that the role and responsibilities of government are to provide leadership and not to hide behind a mob whose intentions are impossible to discern.

Whatever Jeremy Corbyn's motivations, it is hard to dissent from Nick Cohen's comparison in today's Observer.  In describing him as a "wombat-thigh ignoramus", this is fine invective, but it fails to capture the sheer insulated arrogance that he is bringing to the role.  

The passage of the Brexit bill is instructive - Labour surrendered any corporate responsibility to challenge and oppose.  Yet when the Lords amend the bill for simple humanitarian decency, Corbyn's apparatus tweets that this is some kind of triumph of leadership.  It will be fascinating to see what unravels next; had Labour's leadership stood up for the amendments to the legislation in the Commons it might have emboldened Tory rebels to force the pace.  With a surrendered, fellow-traveller leading the official Opposition it took both those parties and members with conscience and independence to make a token protest, and the unelected placepeople to raise the stakes.

Over the last two weekends both May and Corbyn have displayed their true colours in their strutting parasitism and xenophobic treatment of Scotland.  In both cases, the message has been that uppity subjects must submit to the numeric if not moral superiority of England.  Both leaders have, on the surface, been rattled by the success of the SNP and the potential for further independence campaigning.  In fact, their advisers are probably secretly delighted for diverging reasons.

The hollowness of the Tory and Labour adoption of the "devo max" pledge, given to stem the momentum in 2014 towards full independence, is clear.  May, her repulsive Scottish Secretary and her mini-me Scottish Tory leader, are making their contempt felt.  Corbyn, bizarrely abetted by the formerly-reasonable Sadiq Khan, was basically doing her dirty work by insisting that Scotland had to accept the "decision of the people".

Perhaps this is less surprising when the calculations of the party hacks are taken into account.  For May, the SNP phalanx that sits in the Commons is an obstacle - knowing that the toxicity of the Tory brand will not allow this to translate into any significant representation for her corrupt minions.  Scotland outside her remit would, thanks to a gerrymandered and inadequate electoral system, more or less guarantee far-right rule in perpetuity.  Every time she bleats about the "sacred Union" it needs to be seen through the prism of narrow Tory electoral advantage - they have no form of ever putting people before party.

For Corbyn, the issues are the same, but worse. Labour seems likely to be thrashed in the local government elections this year, for reasons not connected with Brexit primarily but with the revulsion at the Scottish Labour sense of entitlement and incompetence in government.  Why bother?  If you have no desire, and no strategy, to win a General Election, then you can maintain ideologically-pure soundbites while at the same time blocking the path to a genuinely radical politics.

Whatever happens in Northern Ireland with respect to government, tectonic plates are shifting in politics.  The decline in the Unionist majority has many causes, but it is part of a process that could lead to a much less tribal politics and potentially a bespoke solution (another part of the former UK that saw European engagement as an opportunity and a necessity rather than a threat).  The model here is of a different political outcome that does not accept the inevitability of a bipartisan carve-up.

Labour now face a future bleaker than the 1980s.  Marginalised in Scotland to the point of near-extinction, and with support fracturing, it is an incredible abdication of responsibility.  There is now an imperative both for self-preservation and the kind of collaborative politics that are required to remove an authoritarian, quasi-fascist traitor from power.  In this existential crisis, neither the status quo nor a monolithic future are feasible - but the ineptitude and abdication of Labour's leadership renders extra-party action requisite.  It won't save them in Scotland, nor does it deserve to.

Paradoxically, though, this is a time filled with potential.  For individuals and parties to take advantage the ground of pluralism, internationalism and social cohesion is not being contested fiercely.  For Liberals, Greens, civic nationalists and others, there is a chance to opt out from this collective suicide and start focusing on the corrupt, the venal and the incompetent rats who currently dominate both sides of the dinosaur polity.