Pointless

I set myself, back in what was kind of shit but is compared to the post-June 23rd shitheap a glorious golden era, a target of writing three posts a week, minimum. That by now has fallen almost comically by the wayside. It says in the sidebar that new posts appear here on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays – in my defence, I never said anything about those Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays being consecutive.

I started this blog because, well, I’m interested in politics, and wanted to write about that in the hope that other people might actually find the shit I burble interesting or amusing on some level. I might not have a doctorate in political science, and the chances of me breaking any incredible stories any time soon are slim, but Christ can I swear. It’s more or less my only marketable talent. So there’s my opening – Owen Jones with the word “cunt”. The problem is that I have slowly but surely found myself not so much disillusioned with British politics but far too jaded and apathetic to actually do anything relating to it. It’s one of those things that I don’t especially want to pay all that much attention to because I find the whole thing just so incredibly depressing.

Honestly, I can scarcely find myself able to give any mind to the shit the government or anyone else does because as far as I can tell there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel, there is only more tunnel, and at the end of THAT tunnel there may be a light, but it’s going to be the headlights of an oncoming train. The UK is completely and irredeemably fucked at this point; the government has, based on a slim margin in a referendum that it ultimately cannot ignore, decided that we must become a banana republic and that the political beliefs of the most dimwitted cretins in the population overrule all of the others. It has taken this as a mandate for regressive, backward, downright idiotic policies which make the incoherent babble that made for policy in the Cameron years look like the fucking New Deal. It can quite credibly take this as a mandate because the UK is a proud nation of morons, morons who are quite willing to ignore evidence and dismiss as scaremongering expert warnings, while simultaneously scaremongering themselves and encouraging fellow morons to go with their guts.   Any opposition to this, any suggestion that we perhaps not completely kneecap our own economy and rewrite our constitution wholesale because of a marginal result in a referendum, or even that the slapdash pisstake of a constitution we currently have should apply to such things, is treated as if it was some kind of fascist usurping of democracy.

I simply cannot bring myself to actively think about this very much at all. It’s as if we’re in a bus heading for a cliff, and we know we are, and we know the cliff is very high and that the bottom of high cliffs and buses don’t end well, and all of our friends are standing outside the bus shouting NO STOP DON’T GO OVER THE CLIFF YOU FUCKING MANIACS IT’LL EXPLODE and yet the driver still has his foot resolutely on the accelerator because he’s made the calculation that 52% of the bus’ passengers will be his friend if he goes over the cliff. We’re not quite over the cliff yet; there’s a chance we could not go over, but enough people would consider not going over the cliff to be like the Enabling Act for us not to. This is our future. This is my future. I am genuinely fearful of what will happen here over the next few years, because I very much doubt anything good is going to transpire. I’ve felt depressed about the state of politics before, but I’ve never been worried that the entire concept of liberal democracy is dying before like I am now.

So that’s why I’m not writing very much. I’ve thought about writing more personal things but frankly very little of any interest happens in my life; I reread an older blog I wrote about personal things about 8 years ago and I woke myself up several posts in with my own snoring. Perhaps if after trying out being a pound shop Charlie Brooker and sucking dick at that, and then finding out I don’t have the mental stamina to be a pound shop Owen Jones, I’ll try my hand at music reviews to be a pound shop Mark Prindle then realise I’m shit at that too halfway through my first incoherent, meandering review of It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah which will be read by exactly zero people who I don’t share some amount of genetic material with, and exactly one person who I do. I apologise if you are one of the 26 followers I have on Facebook; not because of the lack of posts, just in general.

2016 really is the shittest year I could imagine.

Deliveroo meets Kristallnacht, and why Labour needs to oppose it

I need to make an intervention here. Something needs to be said otherwise my head will explode, so here we go. Labour “moderate” MPs, for the umpteenth and final time:

The “Labour heartlands” do not trust Labour on immigration any more and never will again; stop being idiots and actually oppose something.

Look, I know that populist, nativist nonsense is on the ascendant, and is quite popular these days, and a lot of people who used to vote Labour now don’t because immigrants booga booga. That is why you need to actually oppose it and try and put across that it is dangerous, stupid and morally wrong to do things like having a list of companies that employ foreign workers, or use EU citizens currently here as pawns in our soon-to-be-hilarious failure of a “negotiation”, and try and make a good faith argument for what you actually believe – that immigration is good for the country or, at the very least, is not an automatic negative. That’s why we have parties, to argue different points of view. That’s why we have an opposition.

That policy, on lists of companies employing foreign workers, is something that is immediately obviously reckless and stupid if you think for more than two seconds about the implications for companies named on said lists; think about how organised the alt/far right are these days in being absolute shits to whatever classes of people they don’t like and then imagine they have access to a full listing of every company that employs foreigners. I’d give it two hours after publication before someone knocked up some site called Forg.nr or something similarly arseholish and Web 2.0 that allows you to search for nearby businesses employing migrants that have windows at a level you can throw bricks through, with a handy Google Map with lots of little national flags so you can direct your opprobrium as conveniently as possible; and that’s just my first, instinctive gut reaction to such an insane idea. It’d be like Deliveroo meets Kristallnacht.

I mean if it isn’t supposed to be a “list of shame”, as Amber Rudd insisted, what is it supposed to be? What is the point of publishing such a list if it’s not meant to make the sort of thicksicles that care about such things hunt through the list and take some sort of action against businesses that are on it, or at least think worse of the businesses that are on it? I could understand having the data – it’d be useful for the Government to have, but John Q Brexit down the street? Why the fuck should he have the right to know? It’s almost literally none of his business.

Seriously “moderates”, “Blairites”, whatever you’re called but you definitely include Chuka Umunna and Rachel “Like Enoch Powell but explicitly intellectually dishonest because at least he actually believed what he was saying” Reeves, if all you’re going to do in response to blatant xenophobia being espoused by our government on behalf of the thickest percentile of the population is spew handwringing apologetics about “being where the voters are”, in direct contradiction to what you previously said you believed repeatedly and at length, then what is the point of you and what is the point of an opposition putatively led by you? I know that the UK is currently angling to be the world’s premier Weimar Republic replica theme park, but if it’s alright with you I’d rather that the official opposition didn’t decide that it isn’t authentic enough and  nod along with the nationalist bollocks on flagrant display because it might win back a few morons to the Labour fold? Please?

The question that never seems to be asked is whether Labour really should be where the voters are if the voters you’re thinking of are xenophobic nationalists, although we can only hazard a guess that the answer from Reeves et al is probably “yes”, although couched in some more apologetics about “legitimate concerns” or some such similar wank which is of the Apple Support insincere “I understand your frustration” mould. Once again, this is an example of the supreme cowardice of the “moderate” wing of the Labour Party, always so thoroughly unwilling to argue for a cause they believe in – even a cause they previously argued for bitterly – if the argument doesn’t give a big centrist wide-on to PNBs or their right wing cousins, the People With Very Real Concerns (i.e. xenophobes and racists). Duhh, making arguments for unpopular but right things is hard – better let Ukip win the argument so we can be in power to be better than them, even if by doing so we actually become the same and therefore no better. This is apparently called “being a moderate”, or as I like to call it “not having a fucking spine“.

Which brings me to my point I made above. Even if Labour does do this and decides to pivot to the right on immigration to capture the PWVRC vote, it will not work. The fact of the matter is that the PWVRCs, to a man, abandoned Labour because of its immigration policy, and the feeling of grievance that Labour didn’t care about their views on it because they blame it for all their ills. The Labour brand is, to such people, tainted now with the idea that Labour represents the abolishment of borders and the taking of jobs from British people to be done by foreigners for less money (neither are actually true, of course.) Why do these “moderates” think that such people are going to be swayed by a few sparse nationalist words, especially when so many of them have explicitly come out and said that it is being done for no other reason than as a nakedly political move to win back voters, and the people involved were both avowedly pro-EU and on the record as being in favour of freedom of movement, even if only in a reformed form (which they still wouldn’t be happy with)? Why do they think that Labour’s actual core vote (as I have argued repeatedly) of urban working and educated middle class people are not going to be repulsed by the same rhetoric? It’s both arrogant, in the sense that Labour feels entitled to these votes even if it does nothing to actually earn them, and patronising to the PWVRCs to assume that all it takes is a few platitudes about something Labour MPs transparently do not believe and they’ll come back like a dog having its name called. Or a whistle blown.

Of course, my sarcasm aside, the PWVRCs do have real concerns which they view through the prism of immigration; about public services, and a lack of employment opportunities, and a fundamentally unbalanced economy. The correct reaction to this is to put across the truth; that the issues with these things are not to do with Piotr coming over to be a plumber, but with structural problems that the Tories have either caused or made worse – the gutting of industry and abandonment of communities dependent upon it, welfare cuts which make life harder for those in poverty, repeated tax cuts on the better off feeding into a deficit that is used as an excuse to not fund services, companies ignoring the minimum wage due to lax enforcement, a minimum wage that is impossible to live on. Owen Jones, quite rightly, said he’d pointed this out some years ago; the issue is that Labour should have done this years ago too, and we are now dealing with the fallout a decade later. To an extent, it may be too late. However, that doesn’t mean that Labour shouldn’t try, or should just assume that it’s a lost cause. The stakes are far too high for our opposition to abandon the moral high ground; conversely, the stakes are high enough that the conversations need to be had and minds changed before it really is too late to stop this country finally sliding into the abyss. At least then, if they tried, they can at least take comfort that when this country finishes its descent into being an inward-looking xenophobic hellhole, it was despite their best efforts and not because it was the path of least resistance.