Back to the Future, Part Two: We're on the brink….

Johnson: Are you sure this will work?

Cummings: It’s the Will of The People…

At the time of writing, it all looks pretty bleak for Labour Party supporters. The last poll put the Tories 19 points ahead.(update at the bottom of this article) Yes, it was similar midway through the 2017 election. Yes, this is an election with, more than ever before, constituency-specific conditions that buck the trend of national polls. Yes, the campaign allows Corbyn more direct access to people to be able to counter the most egregious media bias. Taking all of that into account, it still feels like a mountain to climb, and the ambition of being the largest party in a hung parliament, realistic a few weeks ago, seems unattainable now. The first sign of a closing of the gap in the polls has brought out the big guns of the anti-semitism tactic, a hugely successful plan to discredit the most overtly anti-racist political party in the history of the known universe. You can’t argue against it, if you’re not Jewish, without running the risk of being accused of, at best being in denial about the problem and at worst, being a racist. Even Jewish labour party supporters who have the temerity to contest the MSM version of events are demonised as traitors or not being real Jews. Please, give the tens of thousands of Jewish voices who are pro-Corbyn some air time. Please, when you write these articles, give us some evidence. Please Jeremy, argue your case. Look at some of these links for more: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/mar/07/debunking-myth-that-anti-zionism-is-antisemitic Michael Rosen’s blog: https://t.co/H6kKX1R2b0?amp=1 Jewish Voice for Labour: https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/article/smoke-without-fire-the-myth-of-a-labour-antisemitism-crisis/

It could still be the case that real people voting on December 12th will show the polls to have been wrong, but I have to be honest, I’m not expecting that and I’m beginning to feel more than a little depressed. Because what is at stake in this election makes it, by a country mile, the most important in my lifetime. Despite the best efforts of the mainstream media to normalise the Conservative Party led by Boris Johnson, to place them in a One Nation Tory tradition, they are really the Brexit party in all but name.

The Selfish, the Sentimental and the Stupid

Consider what has happened in the last year.

Moderate and mainstream Tories have left in their droves. Either they have something resembling principles, and they cannot in conscience be part of a party that is going to inflict such damage on the country. Or they cannot justify, with weasel words, (See James Cleverly, Matt Hancock, Nicky Morgan, Michael Gove) the blatant, repeated and outright bare faced lying and law breaking that is the modus operandi of the current leadership. Whether they have left, or have been ousted by the withdrawal of the whip, or the actions of rabidly right wing constituency parties, they are no longer there, a moderating influence on future policy direction. Look at the names of those who have gone: Rory Stewart, Ken Clarke, Amber Rudd, Dominic Grieve, David Gauke, Nick Boles, Justine Greening, Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen. His own brother, Jo Johnson, has stepped down as a candidate. We have no way of knowing, at the time of writing, how many of his children are standing against him for other political parties. The party is now an unembarrassed coalition of the selfish, the sentimental and the stupid, a mirror image of the voters they now attract.

You just have to look at the current cabinet for a flavour of what a Johnson Government would do.

Priti Patel as Home Secretary: Believes in the Death Penalty. Thinks poverty is the fault of local authorities. Broke Civil Service regulations last year as Secretary of State for Overseas Development by holding secret meetings without the required Civil service officials, with members of the Israel government over illegal settlements on the West Bank. Thinks British workers are “the worst idlers in the world” Has advocated reducing dramatically the welfare state in the UK and imposing working conditions of countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea

Sajid Javid as Chancellor. His main role appears to be as a token person of colour in the cabinet. Has suffered outright and open racism from other Tory members in the way he has been treated and in the torrent of social media abuse he has experienced from many constituencies, members and officials. Played a leading role, before becoming an MP, in Deutsche bank, enriching himself on the back of his trading of collaterised debt obligations (no, me neither), the financial instrument that played a central part in the collapse of the global banking system.

Liz Truss as President of the Board of Trade. Someone with the largest recorded gap between their ability and their own estimation of their ability, coming just ahead of Andrea Loathsome, the person who wants to get rid of all workers’ rights legislation from Europe.

Dominic Raab, co-author with Priti of the book “Britain unchained”, a rag bag collection of lunatic fringe right wing stuff, both on economics and social policy. This is the stuff that passes for the intellectual wing of the party. The compensation prize in this election, if the Tories win, is the prospect of Raab, IDS, and even Johnson himself losing their seats. Most of them, Johnson in particular, wouldn’t be able to find the high street of their constituency without a minder holding their hand, because they don’t give a flying fig leaf for boring old constituency work. That sort of stuff is for social workers.

Matt Hancock, minister for Health, who will say and do absolutely anything he has to, to cling on to power and his ministerial limo.

And that’s before we get onto Jacob Rees-Mogg, Minister for the eighteenth century and Michael Gove whose policy crimes and misdemeanours, and his absolute equanimity about lies and law breaking almost rival Johnson himself. (What a dream team that would have made back in 2016 – The Mendacious Brothers).

So what policies could we reasonably expect to be enacted if the Tories have a working majority, given that the new crop of MPs are likely not to have a single scruple or moral instinct between them? Well, for starters:

  • Savage anti-immigrant legislation
  • Selling off  much of the NHS to USA and a quantum leap towards Health insurance
  • Abolition of all meaningful workers’ rights laws – expect restrictions of sick pay entitlement and the right to paid holidays.
  • Abortion outlawed
  • Increase in State pension age to 75
  • Slashing of public spending on services and infrastructure
  • Increase in unemployment that not even the expansion of the unregulated gig economy can mask.

Most worryingly, once Johnson gets a majority, I don’t think that it’s far fetched to suggest that they will do everything in their power to stack the elections odds against Labour ever getting re-elected. The Boundary commission redrawing of constituencies will go ahead this time, with all that implies for Labour. They will bring in the blatantly partisan requirement for photo ID before citizens are allowed to vote. This will effectively disenfranchise tens of thousands of Labour voters. Johnson has shown his utter contempt for previously accepted norms of public discourse and for the rule of law and the conventions of parliamentary democracy, and will have no hesitation in dismantling anything that is a hindrance to his pursuit of power and his retention of power once he has his hands on it. The most recent heavy-handed threats against Channel four for not just rolling over are a sign of how none of the freedoms we have taken for granted for so long can now be guaranteed.

Lies, damned lies, and the media

Johnson: Won’t anyone notice?

Pa Johnson: Don’t worry -The great unwashed can’t even spell Pinochio

Cummings: Brilliant!

And it is this that is at the heart of this election, the reason it is of such importance. It is conceivable that reasonable, civilized people can vote Conservative because they believe in a smaller state and trickle-down economics. I don’t agree with them and I think that they are wilfully ignoring all the available evidence, but democracy dictates that we must suck it up when The People make the wrong choices.

But absolutely nobody can vote for this particular brand of the Tory party, who has any regard for the truth, for the law and for freedom.

It is possible that some of the apologists can convince themselves that the ends justify the means, that they know they are right so that it is acceptable, ultimately, to bend the truth and the law, to get a Tory Government. That is chilling enough. Even more sinister is the idea that they know they are wrong, but they want power above all else and are prepared to do anything to get it and then hang on to it.

I don’t want to be hysterical about this. I may be being overly susceptible because I watched the BBC4 series, “The Rise of the Nazi Party” a few weeks ago, and I’ve just finished reading the Booker prize winner, “The Testaments”, Margaret Atwood’s follow up to the dystopian nightmare view of the future, “The Handmaids Tale”. But the checks and balances of a mature liberal democracy that we have all taken for granted as guaranteed for ever are under attack, and suddenly it is possible to see how, step by step, populist authoritarianism slides in through the backdoor and slips into a seat on the back row. Before you know it, it’s taken the stage and the audience are all clapping furiously.

We’re half way there. Already Johnson has:

  • Suppressed the report into Russian interference and donations to the Tories
  • Unlawfully prorogued Parliament
  • Misled the Queen
  • Doctored video of Starmer talking about Brexit
  • Produced a fake “Fact checker” version of the Conservative Party website to mislead the public
  • Threatened a national broadcaster
  • Leant on the BBC, with the license fee an unspoken arm twisted behind their backs.
  • Avoided all serious scrutiny by the media
  • Avoided investigation into fraudulently funnelling money to Jennifer Arcuri when London Mayor.
  • Lied about the reason for having the general election

Ten to twenty years ago, just one of these things would have sunk any political career. Now, apparently, the public say that Johnson’s a naughty boy and we don’t trust him, but we like him and we’re going to vote for him because he will get Brexit done, with his “Oven-Ready” deal.

It’s not the deal that’s Oven Ready. It’s us – the long -suffering Turkeys.

Fight back! Vote tactically, even if that means holding your nose and voting for the Lib Dems. Find out who are the nearest challengers to the Tories in your constituency and vote for them.

Ps: Stop press! Latest polling suggests a narrowing of the gap -It’s not over yet and this makes the tactical voting message above even more important.

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