46% of the British people want to vote for a radical socialist, a republican, and a man of peace who actually threatens the Establishment, backed by a self-proclaimed Marxist. These are strange times, and we must welcome them with full force knowing that socialism has always been bound to win. Its day is soon nigh. Long gone are the days when Thatcher argued “there is no society”. In 30 years time we shall look back on Jeremy as a bit to the right of all our leaders since him, but nevertheless the man who brought socialism to the UK. These are glorious times. I’m not one to talk about glory, but they are truly days of great transformation, and possibly the beginning of the new age. The Establishment keeps power through austerity, keeping educational standards low so that it cannot be criticised. Only once a socialist government is elected can the educational standards actually be raised high enough for people to realise they must vote for the socialist alternative. It is of course paradoxical, and therefore relies heavily on a moment of change. Call it Mussolini’s ‘great man theory’ if you will, one man to drag the country and maybe the world kicking and screaming into the future. This theory is, of course, erroneous, because the change is inevitable. Socialism victory is inevitable. It is just difficult to attain, and it has just so happened that Corbyn may be the man to do it. No man is born great, but Corbyn will have greatness thrust upon him.
Ok so laptops are being banned on some flights in the UK, following the US’s plan. I’m brainstorming:
If such a policy could prevent a plane going down, I think all morally typical people would say that is a good policy. Sure, some 1000,000 might be slightly inconvenienced and say 10,000 business people are going to be moderately inconvenienced. But it saved 200 lives, right?
There are 3 reasons why this policy is a poor one:
1. If laptops can be hacked, why can’t phones, tablets, airports, or the aeroplanes themselves?
2. Such an attack is extremely unlikely to ever occur and simply plays into the narrative that the internet is bad and dangerous and needs to be controlled and Russians hacked the election and GIVE US YOUR FREEDOM
3. Bombs can be hidden in any device, not just laptops. Again, this just plays into the narrative of bombs bombs bombings immigrants Muslims BOMBS!
All of that said, if a legitimate threat can be proven in a transparent manner, and it is proven that such a policy would effectively mitigate the risk, such a policy might be justified. That is a long way off!!!
Not often three MPs from different major parties come together to oppose the government. Such is the situation with grammar schools… (Source)
Personally, I went to a grammar school and I know the toxic atmosphere they breed. This is my first reason for opposing Theresa May’s plans to expand the number of grammar schools in Britain. The second is their weakness in providing social mobility. The third is the damaging effect they have on comprehensive education. The fourth is the total unsuitableness of the policy for the times which lie ahead.
My school was a very good one academically. I believe it had the 4th best GCSE results in the country (of state schools) when I was doing my GCSEs. It also bred a “culture of one-upmanship” and bullying through its over-competitive atmosphere. (Source) Competition undoubtably has some role to play in education, however I still remember my GCSE results day, when I got my results (all As and A*s), and wanting to drown myself in alcohol because I felt I had not done well enough. The other boys were going to laugh at me. Sure enough, they did. It was survival of the fittest, and we all knew that you could not play fair – we had all cheated to get into this school. Which brings me on to the second point:
99% of grammar school students, perhaps more, got private tuition to pass the 11+ test. Hardly a beacon of social mobility. The richest kids are the ones who can afford private tuition, so the richest kids are the ones who get in. As times get tough, some private school-educated parents may not wish to have their children rub shoulders with students in a comprehensive, and yet may struggle to afford the price of private education. Spend a bit on tuition and have your kids go to grammar schools instead! Like private – only cheaper!
Thirdly, the best attaining schools attract the best teachers, understandably. Thus, grammar schools create a two-tiered education system, with better teachers teaching better students, and the attainment gap becomes higher than ever. The gap between clever and challenged grows, the gap between rich and poor grows, the A*s become easier to attain and the Cs become harder. No longer is legal aristocracy acceptable, so the Tories have created an economic aristocracy, and they are trying to supplement this with an academic aristocracy to boot.
Perhaps the strongest reason why May’s grammar school policy is a non-starter, is the current climate. Automation and digitisation are creating huge strains for the workforce, and the dystopian vision of the robots taking over seems to not be far from realisation. (AI Takeover) Even Stephen Hawking thinks so: (Source). In such times, it is more important than ever to ensure that all citizens have sufficient skills to survive. Education, more than ever, must be about the many, not the few. It is only now that the more pragmatic Tories are realising this fact.
Theresa May feels like she can do anything, but her education policy is a far-cry from Corbyn’s National Education Service, and it may yet prove costly for her future election hopes.
Read it and weep. Within two words of the article you find “hard-left”, the most ambiguous and disingenuous of phrases. At least “loony-left” is clearly derogatory. “Hard-left” is also derogatory but tries to pose as a legitimate phrase, an actual political position.
Accusations of entryism upset me greatly. Entryism is a communist tactic akin to accelerationism and generally an anti-democratic position. The vast, vast majority of Momentum members are DEMOCRATS! They are not ‘entryists’. They want Corbyn to win, and there is nothing sinister about that.
This is a horrendously biased article, even for the Guardian.
In Orwell’s terrifying 1948 novel, 1984, he depicts a world where truth and perception are closely controlled by the government. When I saw a headline in the Guardian today (“UK government hires M&C Saatchi to fight far-right threat”) I was reminded of the cautionary tale. (Guardian article)
The government was clearly trying to influence perception and news, especially online, but this is nothing new. Propaganda has always existed, to a certain extent. It could easily be argued that the government’s actions are both in public interest, as well as just: the growth in the ‘alt-right’ and neo-Nazism has been fueled by huge amounts of fake news online, especially perpetuated by Russian propaganda sites such as Sputnik, as well as Russian bot accounts on Twitter. As a Socialist, I have been confronted with the dilemma of whether I too should be pro-Russian and against the neo-liberal structures that dictate our way of life and cripple our people and politics. The death of Alexander Litvinenko, however, is hard to forget. (Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko)
Furthermore, the fake news created potentially with complicity by Putin’s government is truly frightening. Putin is no socialist. We shouldn’t forget that. He is an evil man using fake news to trick the entire world. But isn’t this just a conspiracy theory? The plot also thickens when you realise that Donald Trump has appropriated the ‘fake news’ label to use against any media which opposes him, when in fact, fake news was highly influential in his own election.
There are two sections on Wikipedia which I will link to, although I would be unsurprised if they are taken down by pro-Putin forces soon, so I have also copied them here:
2016 election cycle
Fraudulent stories during the 2016 U.S. presidential election popularized on Facebook included a viral post that Pope Francis had endorsed Donald Trump, and another that actor Denzel Washington “backs Trump in the most epic way possible”. Donald Trump’s son and campaign surrogate Eric Trump, top national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, and then-campaign managers Kellyanne Conway and Corey Lewandowski shared fake news stories during the campaign. Alternet reported that Trump himself had been the source of some of the related misinformation over the years.
After the 2016 election, Republican politicians and conservative media began to appropriate the term “fake news” by using it to describe not made-up news, but rather genuine news they saw “as hostile to their agenda”, according to the New York Times, which cited Breitbart News, Rush Limbaugh and supporters of Donald Trump as dismissing mainstream news reports as “fake news”.
Scary stuff. But it gets worse. Unlike in 1984 where the indoctrination is done by the central government, the 2016 election was heavily influenced by trolls and hackers. These may have been apolitical: just computer geeks with nothing better to do. Or they could have been funded by Russia. Who knows? There were many reasons Trump won the election: he ran to the left of Clinton. Maybe he deserved to win. But we need to stay vigilant for this stuff. Here’s another frightening extract from Wikipedia:
Internet trolls shift focus to Trump
Adrian Chen observed a pattern in December 2015 where pro-Russian accounts became supportive of 2016 U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump. Andrew Weisburd and Foreign Policy Research Institute fellow and senior fellow at the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University, Clint Watts, wrote for The Daily Beast in August 2016 that Russian propaganda fabricated articles were popularized by social media. Weisburd and Watts documented how disinformation spread from Russia Today and Sputnik News, “the two biggest Russian state-controlled media organizations publishing in English”, to pro-Russian accounts on Twitter. Citing research by Chen, Weisburd and Watts compared Russian tactics during the 2016 U.S. election to Soviet Union Cold War strategies. They referenced the 1992 United States Information Agency report to Congress, which warned about Russian propaganda called active measures. They concluded social media made active measures easier. Institute of International Relations Prague senior fellow and scholar on Russian intelligence, Mark Galeotti, agreed the Kremlin operations were a form of active measures. The most strident Internet promoters of Trump were not U.S. citizens but paid Russian propagandists. The Guardian estimated their number to be in the “low thousands” in November 2016.
Weisburd and Watts collaborated with colleague J. M. Berger and published a follow-up to their Daily Beast article in online magazine War on the Rocks, titled: “Trolling for Trump: How Russia is Trying to Destroy Our Democracy”.They researched 7,000 pro-Trump accounts over a two-and-a-half year period. Their research detailed trolling techniques to denigrate critics of Russian activities in Syria, and proliferate lies about Clinton’s health. Watts said the propaganda targeted the alt-right, the right wing, and fascist groups. After each presidential debate, thousands of Twitter bots used hashtag #Trumpwon to change perceptions.
In November 2016 the Foreign Policy Research Institute[a] stated Russian propaganda exacerbated criticism of Clinton and support for Trump. The strategy involved social media, paid Internet trolls, botnets, and websites in order to denigrate Clinton. Watts stated Russia’s goal was to damage trust in the U.S. government. Conclusions by Watts and colleagues Andrew Weisburd and J.M. Berger were confirmed by research from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University and by the RAND Corporation.
Here’s a video from Noam Chomsky on a similar topic: Chomsky on propaganda
So no, the Pope did not endorse Trump as it said in this article (Pope endorses Trump). Stay woke kids, check who you are reading and what their agenda is. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Don’t believe anything you read on Twitter!!
And use fact-checking websites like this one: Did the Pope endorse Trump?
We live in scary times, and I don’t know where they are going.
I will now simulate an average response that might follow the assertion that, “property is theft”.
In the UK, Jeremy Corbyn has proposed a system whereby within a private company, the wage of the lowest-paid employee is tied to no less than the wage of the highest-paid employee. I didn’t like this idea at first, because the idea of a “maximum wage” seems to kill incentive. But a “maximum ratio” doesn’t kill incentive at all, the rich can still get richer, it just means that the poor cannot get left behind.
I am a feminist.
Perhaps my headline seems incongruous. Perhaps it triggered you. “Good”, or so Milo Yiannopoulos would say. When Yiannopoulos created a Twitter poll asking the question, “Would you rather your child had feminism or cancer?”, predictably, a majority voted for cancer (55% of the approximately 21,000 threw their lot in with cancer).
I don’t suppose Milo truly believes that an egalitarian ideology is truly worse than a body-destroying disease, but he claims he was just trying to “get people thinking”. In fact, I see his point; feminism can spread insidiously and shut down opposition by automation. It’s the same charge levelled at socialism under McCarthy and at global warming experts by global warming non-experts. Fine.
Perhaps there is some irony that Milo fails to spot; that his own ideology pedalled by Trump and Breitbart news is far more insidious. Far more dangerous. Few people in much of the world can understand how Trump won the election. When Hitler won the 1932 election, it would cause History student for decades to scratch their heads and wonder how it could happen. Teachers would point to the financial crisis, economic turmoil and poverty suffered by the German people. But the KPD only came third in the 1932 election. If the KPD had won that election, perhaps the goals of the 1919 Spartacists would have been realised in peaceful fashion. But the Kommunists did not win. The Deutche Arbeiterpartei won. And the rest is history.
Are there similarities between the rise of Trump and the rise of Hitler? It cannot be denied. Both won power democratically (fair enough, in this regard!). Both derailed the lugenpresse or “lying press” and “fake news”. Both targeted a minority, one Jews, one Muslims. Perhaps one facet of his support Trump may struggle to control is the rampant antisemitism in some of his supporter groups, as this conflicts with the highly ‘Breitbartised’ administration which he runs. The majority of Breitbart journalists in fact identify as Jewish, as does Yiannopoulos himself, albeit as a Roman Catholic Jew. TabletMag described Milo as “simultaneously vacuous and sinister, equal parts nihilist and narcissist”, and this description is so apt. His free-speech rhetoric has won him many admirers, and his Twitter handle (now deleted) @Nero suggests is an allusion to his predisposition for destruction. In America, as in Britain. People grow sick and tired of the lies and the spin and the ineffectiveness of mainstream politics. The right look to racial nationalists and the left look to radical socialists. It seems that the only way to defeat Trummp and his ilk is to similarly move to the left. In Austria, the two governing parties were wiped out in the first round of the presidential election in 2016, leaving a two-way vote between Norbert Hofer, a neo-nazi in all but name, and Alexander van der Bellen. Der Bellen won. Just.
In the US, Bernie Sanders should have won the Democratic primaries, but the corrupt and complacent Democrat establishment symbolised by Clinton and Debbie Wasserman Schultz ground him down through internal party conspiracy. When this was leaked by Wikileaks, it signalled a huge boost for Trump. Hell, I even considered the possibility that I’d vote for Trump. Because Trump isn’t that bad. It’s the ideology of his inner circle that are truly terrifying.
Trump won the election mostly because of the disillusioned middle class who had grown tired of socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor and middle classes. Trump ran to the left of Clinton (at least in rhetoric) in many issues, most importantly healthcare. Make no mistake, Bernie Sanders would have obliterated Trump in the electoral college. Whether Trump’s healthcare policy will improve on the right-wing and corporatist (fascist economic system practised by Mussolini) Obamacare remains to be seen.
So sure, this argument makes Trump’s victory seem benign. But there are darker forces at work. A key element in Trump’s victory was the effect of social media ‘memes’. These were hugely pedalled on forums such as Reddit, 4chan, 8chan, and of course, Twitter. It is important to mention that the founder of 8chan was Fredrick Brennan, a writer for The Daily Stormer, an openly neo-Nazi news page. These websites provided the water birth for the alt-right, a new, mainstream form of Nazism with a mix of supporters including hardline conservatives such as Yiannopoulos, as well as some disillusioned leftists and politically-indifferent ‘internet-trolls’, ‘memesters’, and young computer-enthusiasts. Sadly, this also includes gamers who were involved in the Gamergate controversy. In the Gamergate controversy, immoral activity was uncovered from both the video-game press and the video-game development industry. However, the issue became conflated with the involvement of Yiannopoulos, claiming to fight for free-speech, but instead creating an army of misogynist warriors who conducting some pretty damn shameful acts which can be found online. One may have sympathies with the gamers involved, who were perhaps scapegoated and hit with claims that gaming causes sexism and other clearly unsubstantiated nonsense, but so many of the people who took that side were unfortunately horrible humans who deserve no respect and only the deepest shame.
The Gamergate controversy shows better than any other case study, how insidious and dangerous the alt-right movement is. They invoke people’s passions in arguments where they are clearly correct, and once a victim is hooked, they are drawn into deeper and more radical racist, traditionalist, statist and reactionary ideas. Yiannopoulos claims to be a “free speech fundamentalist” and against powerful government, but in truth , his ideology is closer aligned to having a single powerful leader and rigid structures in place that coerce women into motherhood and men into labour with no individuality or non-conformity allowed. These arbitrary structures and rules (yes, I am talking about the patriarchy. Sorry to trigger you) should be rejected by any decent leftist, radical, rationalist, or right-wing libertarian. They have no basis in theory, and merely in preventing change in the world, and usually, the empowerment of minorities and women.
So how do we beat them? Well, as I have already mentioned, Bernie should have been chosen as the Democratic nominee and would have won the election. This would have improved America manifestly, but would perhaps not have made a lasting difference. A more radical form of socialism is needed, perhaps one represented by Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, only more angry. Let’s use Trump’s words, in all their pussy-grabbing glory and throw them back in his miserable fascist face. Let’s accuse him of statism, because he is going to abuse power more than any president in history. Socialists should not be afraid of labelling their opponents ‘statists’. After all, economic assets in the modern world are artificial – created by capitalism. I’m not saying property is theft, but think about it: in a hunter-gatherer-society, the richest man is the best hunter, so usually the strongest, perhaps the most intelligent, perhaps and mix of the two. Fine. Perhaps a really smart caveman will sell his game and become ‘rich’. But the richest man will never be more than 5 or 6 times richer than the poorest. In our world, 8 people own as much wealth as the bottom 50%. People are literally billions of times richer than others. This is not right and this is not legitimate. Essentially, the government should control economic issues, but not social issues. Perhaps, like Yiannopoulos, I am a ‘cultural libertarian’ – and I say that as a feminist and as a social justice warrior.
Indeed, perhaps the problem with the left nowadays is that it is no longer liberal. Paradoxically, it is also too liberal. It needs to be far more radical, but also need to reject the infringements of the freedom of speech that are rare! but real and epitomised by issues like ‘playground policing’. So yes, say that gender is a social construct. Objectively, yes it is, at least to a large extent. Talk of “toxic masculinity” is often decried by Yiannopoulos, but that is good. It scares him. Keep talking about it – and prove its truth. Toxic masculinity is not sexist, simply because gender is (mostly) a social construct. MEN ARE NOT TOXIC. Milo Yiannopoulos will never understand this simple distinction.
Milo likes to offend and be controversial. Fair enough. He claims this principle is originally a leftist principle. He is, to an extent, right. True leftism is about rejecting those corrupt structures that form our society. To destroy them is not ‘conservatism’, ironically, and therein lies the fatal flaw with this ‘ideology’. Perhaps Yiannopoulos would be better served as a controversial leftist, calling for the destruction of capitalism and the current America. After all, leftism was spurred by the Enlightenment, which created the radical and critical thinking that challenged ideas such as feudalism, the monarchy, and even religion. The most illogical idea, however, is nationalism, or patriotism. There is no reason to be proud of your country; you were born into it by chance and could have been born into any country. America has done awful things in the past, and there is no reason to be an American patriot, but that is not my point. My point is that you should feel no connection to your country at all – positive or negative. It’s illogical. Patriotism is racism because it is inevitably the idea that people of your nation are better than others in some arbitrary way. So yes, Yiannopoulos should be a leftist, but I would not personally welcome him. I think he is a racist and a fascist, and Donald Trump’s campaign of repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat until the horrendous ideas become dull and insensitive has led to his presidency, will lead to the creation of a single-party state, and perhaps will lead to a modern Holocaust. The international community would not let such a thing happen unchallenged, at least not to the extent that it happened in the 1940s. But something very similar is coming.
To conclude, yes, perhaps feminism is cancer. But can every belief system be. Feminism is well-intentioned and rarely becomes illiberal, although perhaps 3rd-wave feminism is becoming less liberal. The point is, alt-rightism as symbolised by Milo Yiannopoulos, Donald Trump, and Steve Bannon is likewise cancer. Only this cancer is not benign. It is not safe. It is dangerous. It is malignant and must be cut out.
Good news for anyone who thinks there should be a difference between the Labour and Conservative Parties!!
Angela Eagle pulls out of Labour leadership contest.
It’s true, the formidable Eagle swooped and shortly retreated thanks to Owen Smith’s challenge to Corbyn. But who exactly is this Owen Smith? and should Corbynites back him?
Owen Smith, MP for Pontypridd, voted for the renewal of Trident nuclear weapons – in itself an indication that he doesn’t understand the lack of utility of these incredibly expensive warheads, that is, apart from maintaining our ‘special relationship’ (a strange euphemism for our being the submissive sex slave of the American Empire) with the United States of Freedom, Liberty, The American Dream, Police Brutality, Institutional Racism, Hillary Clinton, Fox News and Christian Extremism (America).
However, he used to be a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and has stated that he supports multilateral nuclear disarmament. This is undoubtedly and good thing and would be a vast improvement on our current Prime Minister’s emotional blackmailing of MPs into supporting Trident, as well as most of our government which voted overwhelmingly in favour of Trident.
Smith is sure to try to pose as Corbyn’s heir – a left wing choice with better leadership skills than Corbyn. This means that although he identifies with the values that created Labour (equality, social justice and a new economic system that works for all), he may occasionally support Tory destruction of the quality of life of working people, the LGBTQ community and the disabled, or perhaps he supports the bribery and blackmailing of MPs into shipping a party line – a particular culture of politics epitomised by New Labour and totally adverse to the concept of democracy or the representation of the people.
Corbyn epitimises all the true Labour values, but is mercilessly attacked by the media and his own MPs. He is left-wing. Frightening, I know. As such, it stands to reason that he is attacked by the right-wing media such as The Times, The Standard and The Telegraph, as well as the (what I call) ‘populist right’ media such as The Sun and The Express. All these things I take for granted. But what about the ‘unbiased’ BBC, the centrist Guardian or the left-wing media such as The Independent and The Mirror?
Why should these otherwise respectable news sources favour removing the new leader? Is it perhaps because their wealthy ownership (see James Harding, director of the BBC) fear his rabble-rousing ability. Corbyn may have been a more effective speaker from the back benches than the despatch box, but he will always be able to stir a crowd with speeches such as his ‘real pressure’ speech at the Durham Miners’ Gala, Saturday 9th July 2016. Part of the problem is also that they fail to understand the niche genius of Mr Corbyn’s leadership. It is quickly labelled ‘weak’ because it is unconventional. Not whipping the vote? Weak leadership. Not fighting Brexit on the 10 o’ clock news? Weak Leadership. (Of all MPs, Corbyn gave the most speeches encouraging a remain vote, not that you’d know that).
Here is a politician who finally shakes off the ‘lying politician’ tag. A man who listens to his constituents. A man who allows his party members their OWN opinion. A man who believes politics should be about calm and thorough debate rather than shouting and cheering in the public-school boys jeer-offs that are so common in the House of Commons – a place which well symbolises the British patriarchy and class-stagnation.
Owen Smith is no Corbyn. He may not have the blood of the Iraq war on his hands, and he may be a far superior potential Prime Minister to Angela ‘red Tory’ Eagle or Theresa May. He is even a mild libertarian in certain social issues, or example decriminalising euthanasia (where Corbyn’s stance is unclear) and lowering alcohol tax (where Corbyn agrees) and that the retention of data is not something that the government should largely be able to do (where Corbyn agrees). Corbyn and Smith agree upon many issues: an elected House of Lords, that ID cards are a slippery slope towards a more Orwellian and dangerous brand of socialism, and gay rights.
Truth be told, Owen Smith is not yet a household name, but he seems like a genuine man and a decent MP by his voting record. However, this choice that Labour members face is perhaps more fundamental than that. We have a chance to change the direction of British politics to a kinder and more open, transparent process, away from the spin of Blair and Cameron. We must use our democratic rights to show our support for Corbyn. It’s not like he hasn’t made his policies clear in any case: nationalising rail to control prices and reduce car usage; increasing tax for the very rich in favour of cutting tax for small businesses and startups to tinder entrepeneurialism and reinvigorate our capitalist society with more colour and culture; reforming drug laws; creating transparency for all but the smallest businesses; QE for the people not the banks (an economist I am not, but QE seems very sensible in post-Brexit Britain); revoking crippling student loans; better transport; etc.
Aside from his lobbying past and career politician mentality, Owen Smith seems alright, but quite frankly, Jeremy, you’re the best.
Hopefully, I will be using this blog to document my random thoughts and musings on UK and global politics, as well as occasionally miscellaneous topics, perhaps. Please do subscribe or whatever you are supposed to do on WordPress. Also, there are no prizes for guessing who I back in the Labour leadership election.