Archives » Politics

Plausible Deniability?

As soon as I saw the footage where T Ronald Dump said he wanted no violence and that none of his supporters should commit any (far too little and too late a disclaimer) my bullshit-o-meter hit overdrive. Am I being overly cynical or is this just part of his playbook? He clearly meant not a word of it. Nothing about his demeanour suggested a belief in what he was saying. In fact his body language said the exact opposite – which I think his followers will pick up on; indeed that it was designed for them to do so.

For I suspect that the only reason he said those things was not to display contrition (it didn’t) nor acceptance of his election defeat (it didn’t) nor even somehow to ameliorate his inflammatory conduct and speech (it couldn’t) but so that if there is any violence, whether in Washington DC or elsewhere, on Jan 20th, the day of the Inauguration of the next Presdent of the US, he can then say that it has nothing to do with him and therefore the assault on the Capitol on Jan 6th (and on democracy itslef) was nothing to do with him either.

Inauguration Attendance

I see T Ronald Dump has said he will not be attending his successor’s inauguration at the US Capitol on Jan 20th.

Given the events that happened on the 6th is it possible that the Donald has good reason to stay away through knowing something we don’t?

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he does know something as he’s obviously a coward. “Bone spurs” allowed him to avoid military service and despite saying on Wednesday, “We will march on the Capitol,” he took great care to be nowhere near where any trouble might take place and was conspicuous by his absence.

(He will no doubt be consoled by the fact that the crowd for this inauguration will, for eminently sensible security reasons, be smaller than it was for his.)

T Ronald’s Legacy

Well he may not have done it to us all yet but T Ronald Dump has certainly done it to trust in US democracy.

What happened at the US Congress building yesterday is the natural culmination of all his rhetoric over the past five years since he decided to stand for President. Stoking up resentment – as well as being a classic tactic of fascists everywhere – was always going to be a tiger that is difficult to keep in bounds.

A harbinger of yesterday’s events was when a group of armed terrorists invaded the legislature of Michigan last year in protest over Covid restrictions. Singularly they were all white and (as far as I’m aware) no action was taken against them. Seeds.

Then there was Trump’s constant drip feed of claims that the recent election was rigged. Seeds.

(He also said this four years ago but mysteriously his complaints disappeared when he won enough States to gain an Electoral College majority.)

No evidence has been produced of electoral fraud in November’s election sufficient to deem Trump’s loss invalid. There was certainly none sufficient to convince over 60 different courts of law to rule that it had happened. What evidence of fraud did arise was that of a voter trying to vote for Trump and the Republican Party; not against him.

Incitement to riot is the least which can be said about T Ronald’s speech to these vandals a few hours before. Seeds.

Perhaps the US is fortunate that Trump is not an organiser – or doesn’t have people to organise for him – or yesterday’s events may have had even worse consequences.

There are, too, questions to be answered as to how easy it was for these terrorists – who are nothing less than traitors – to overwhelm what looks to have been an inadequate police/security presence considering the lack of secrecy about their intentions. And one of their number even paraded about inside the Capitol building brandishing the battle flag of the Confederacy. If that’s not evidence of treason against the US what is? (The Confederate States of America was after all an entity that rose up in rebellion against the United States.)

Question, too, the kid-gloves with which they were treated in removing them. Not to mention his enablers in the Republican Party who failed to stand up to him during the past four years. It’s not too much to describe them by a word more familiar in British political history; appeasers.

Let us be clear in relation to this storming of the centre of US democracy by an unbridled mob:-

No Democratic Party voter did this.

No Civil Rights protester ever did this.

No Muslim did this.

No progressive did this.

No Black Lives Matter campaigner has done this.

No socialist has ever done this.

No left winger did this.

No so-called Antifa activist has ever done this.

No communist has ever done this.

Instead it was right wingers, avowed Trump supporters, people who are supposed to believe in law and order, who committed this assault on democracy, embodied the anarchy and chaos from which Trump claimed to be saving them.

They ought to be subject to the full force of that same law and order on which they trampled so comprehensively yesterday.

Dare I hold my breath?

Farewell then, EU

So today was the last day the UK was part of the EU’s close trading arrangements and its single market.

My parents’ and grandparents’ generations had much more to endure it’s true – what with World Wars to contend with.

But it was the fact of those World Wars that made the EU, whatever its faults, such a worthwhile institution.

In the UK the myths surrounding those wars – especially the second one which has been mischaracterised almost ever since in these islands as a solely British victory with “us” “standing alone” (as if the contribution of Empire/Colonial forces and crucially Indian Army personnel to the North African campaign in particular – but also more widely – did not occur, with the USSR in Europe and the US in the Pacific seemingly mere bystanders) – are pervasive and pernicious. With the Great War such a perception may be less off-kilter. While it is true that the presence of US forces in 1918 made a difference it was by and large the British (Empire) Army which from the middle of 1917 carried the onus of first, not losing, and second, going on in 1918 to win final victory and in the process the biggest series of successive victories the British Army has ever had.

1939 marked the third war between France and Germany in 70 years (a woman in a Northern French village saw Prussian/German troops march past her house and occupy the place for the third time in her life) and there were many invasions of German territory by France in the centuries before. If some cooperative trading institution so as to minimise potential areas of disagreeement had not been set up post-1945 who is to say that conflict between them might not have arisen again? Some say it was NATO that preserved the peace in Europe in the years since then (but France, remember, was for some time not a NATO member.) In any case NATO’s expansion eastwards since the USSR dissolved, far from being a peaceful endeavour has been a standing provocation to that state’s main successor, Russia.

Tonight at 23:00 GMT, 0:00 CET, marked the last time when free movement of people and goods to Europe from the UK was possible (at least since before the requirement for passports came into being.) Some (little Englanders in the main) might rejoice at what they are pleased to call freedom, which actually has instead seen the biggest extension of powers to the UK government to bypass Parliamentary scrutiny and act summarily since 150 years or so before the UK even came into existence; ie over 560 years ago.

It’s a very sad day.

So farewell then EU.

Or, better, au revoir and auf wiedersehen, because I hope to be with you again soon.

Poppy Watch 2020

For my previous posts on this topic see here. (I suppose this post will also appear there now.)

Well. This year’s award as virtue signalling, sanctimonious tosser goes to Andrew Rosindell MP who posted the below on Twitter. Before poppies were even on sale to the public.

Andrew Rossindell MP

Proud to be first to wear a poppy in the House of Commons this year?

I wasn’t aware it was a competition.

(I also suspect he might be wearing last year’s.)

As for his colleague Anthony Brown:-

Anthony Brown

A normal poppy’s not good enough for you, then? You obviously feel you have to shove it in our faces.

Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

“The Band Begins to Play, My Boys”

I’m afraid I can’t do anything but flinch when members of the UK’s present Government wax lyrical about our suddenly “wonderful” NHS. Pass the sick bucket.

(Especially egregious was the spectacle of Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak applauding outside 10 Downing Street. A derisory photo-op if ever I saw one.)

This is the same NHS they cynically used to win a referendum on false pretences, that their political persuasion has been denigrating at every opportunity for almost as long as I can remember and that their Political Party has been deliberately running down for the past ten years in preparation for saying that it’s broken and must be sold off. Run down and underequipped so much that it’s not now in the state it could have been to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Their attitude irresistibly reminds me of Rudyard Kipling’s poem, Tommy:-

O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, go away”;
But it’s, “Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it’s, “Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play.

Plus ça Change

I type this just after the UK has officially left the European Union.

Given that the Conservative (and Unionist) party has been in government in the UK for the majority of my lifetime (64% of it to be precise; a ratio of not quite two to one) a quote from The Who seems entirely apposite.

“Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”

Or maybe this-

Stevie Wonder: Heaven Help Us All

The World Turned Upside Down

We were in the Northeast of England last week. We visited Tynemouth, Durham, Bishop Auckland and Sunderland.

Tynemouth was reasonably prosperous looking, quite a few eateries and with a bustling Saturday market, Durham was busy, as you would expect from a Cathedral city. Sunderland was a typical city – in its centre anyway. (I did pass the Stadium of Light but it was in the dark.)

The attraction of Bishop Auckland was the recently refurbished Auckland Palace/Auckland Castle former home of the Prince Bishops of Durham. As part of the entry ticket we were able also to enter both Auckland Tower centrepiece of the Auckland Project (though the tower itself was closed due to high winds) and the excellent Mining Art Gallery just over the road from the tower.

The town itself though was deserted (well, it was a Sunday in England) and very run-down in appearance, empty shops prominent.

I can therefore see why the locals might want change but how on Earth they think voting Conservative will in any way improve their lot is beyond me.

The Tories’ track record in aiding the working person is poor to say the least. And for a former mining area to vote Conservative is an act either of outstanding forgetfulness – or remarkable forgiveness. This truly is a topsy-turvy age.

If I go back in five years’ time I very much doubt the town’s fortunes will have recovered.

By that time we may also have witnessed the NHS even more in hock to private provision (if not sold totally down the river,) judges neutered, Channel 4 and Ofcom eviscerated, the BBC dismantled, Parliamentary constituency boundaries redrawn to favour the Tories even more and voters without photo ID disenfranchised. Not to mention the rise of the cult of Alexander de Pfeffel.

Is all that really what the inhabitants of Bishop Auckland and its neighbouring towns desire?

There’s also a clash of mandates with respect to Scottish independence to resolve. Or not, as the case may be.

And a one-sided trade deal with the US to endure.

Plus I’ve not even touched on the EU negotiations which might still be going on.

What’s to like?

Last? Election Leaflet

The Lib Dem leaflet is up front with its STOP BREXIT STOP INDEPENDENCE BUILD A BRIGHTER FUTURE cover.

Inside, it does foreground rebuild our economy, invest in our schools and tackle the climate emergency before anything else. Not the correct order to my mind, but still.

The local candidate’s puff has one of its sentences broken into two “… too often is overlooked. Making sure that…” I suppose this could be construed as imparting emphasis to the second part but it’s clumsy at best. There is also a cavalier attitude evident in the scattershot placing of full stops in the bullet point statements on its last two pages. Eight are present, six missing.

Could do better.

Tendentious Nonsense

There have been three more General Election leaflets put through my door.

Another from the SNP – no literacy errors.

There was one such error in the Tory leaflet. (Their candidate’s main aim is listed as to stop another independence referendum. The local economy, schools, public services and young people’s employment prospects are apparently of lesser concern.)

The error was contained in a bar graph purporting to show the Tories are in a position to win in my local constituency. Its y-axis was labelled “% increase/decrease in vote GE here in Glenrothes” which is simply gibberish. “% increase/decrease in GE vote here in Glenrothes” would have been more sensible.

The overall graph was a huge attempt to mislead though. Its bars showed the % increase or decrease in the parties’ votes in 2017 compared to 2015. The Tories 11.8% increase appears huge while Labour’s 4.1% and the Lib Dems 1.1% look tiny. On it is emblazoned the words “Labour and the Lib Dems are just too weak to beat the SNP here,” with an arrow from those pointing to the bars, as if % increase is the actual % of total votes.

This is, of course an utter distortion. In 2017 the Tories had 7,876 votes, the Lib Dems 1,208 and Labour 14,027. In other words the Tories had half the votes Labour did. The SNP meanwhile had 17,291 votes.

Assuming everything else stayed the same, in the somewhat unlikely event of the Tories doubling their vote (a 50% increase – about five times the one they achieved last time) they would still only just beat Labour into second place and not come near the SNP total.

The graph (or rather the words describing it) is tendentious nonsense and a deliberate attempt to mislead. Its use and depiction in this way is a piece of mathematical illiteracy, albeit cunningly deployed. Even without all the other stuff about the Tories which I dislike that would have been enough to put me off them.

I’ve ranted too long. Lib Dems another time.

free hit counter script