It’s finally happened, everyone. Littlewoods’ 2011 Christmas advert, which went about ruthlessly erasing Santa in favour of your mother owing lots of money to Shop Direct Group, has been surpassed in its awfulness. It feels almost wrong to be typing those words, because I was firmly convinced that nothingcould be worse than that. I was wrong. So very, tragically wrong. Peacocks have outdone them. The “Worst Christmas Advert I’ve Ever Seen” contest now has Peacocks as the all time winner. This is a brown note of an advert that is simply unpleasant in an obnoxious, insulting way from start to finish. Brace yourselves.
I’ve long been someone critical of Nigel Farage’s sudden ubiquity in British politics. I did it again on Friday as part of a larger point about how fascists (a category I gladly include Farage in given his meanderings about violent unrest and marches protesting against the independent judiciary) get unearned screen time, which they use (surprise!) to spread fascism. Back in 2013 I noticed that, very suddenly, Farage was everywhere. Ukip was everywhere; it was being mentioned, talked of in hushed tones as being a political earthquake in the making, as being something to watch out for. Never mind that this party had, at this point, never legitimately won a single seat in Parliament – its sole elected representation was in the European Parliament, a body which it does not want to be engaged with, and then as a transparent protest vote. We are now three years and one general election down the line, and Ukip have one MP. 14million voters, mind, but one MP – down from a high of two, both defectors from the Conservative Party. Even the Liberal Democrats in their post-meltdown phase managed to get 8 non-defector MPs in a reasonably fair fight. The Greens managed to win a seat on their own merits too, for all the good it’s done them.
Farage has achieved full national recognition while having done nothing to earn it. He is a household name but nobody can name a single concrete positive change he has actually made to anyone’s lives, despite a full seventeen years of elected office which he has, as is well known, used solely to claim expenses while not turning up to meetings of committees on which he sits. The reason nobody can name a single concrete legislative success for him is that he has none. At least Donald Trump could sell hotel rooms. He is an odious individual whose stock in trade is telling lies, talking nonsense, dog-whistling and barking his own peculiar parochial worldview at anyone who asks, a worldview in which it is him (an ex-commodities trader who has been in politics for decades) against the “establishment”, which can roughly be defined as anyone who is not Ukip or Nigel Farage. Despite all of the above and the fact that he is, in the final analysis, quite dim, Farage has been gifted platforms by our national media and his bullshit opinions given credence he and they simply do not deserve. Seventeen years in politics and he has achieved nothing. His pet cause of seeking a vote to the EU didn’t even get achieved because of him, it got achieved in spite of him and his general repulsiveness, with other (marginally) less objectionable people taking over the starring role in the campaign.
This brings us to today. Less than a week after the US election, and on Remembrance Sunday of all days, Farage had flown out to Trump Tower to brown-nose America’s new Orange Julius, and in the process offered to be a go-between between the British government and the new Trump administration (may God have mercy on our souls). The Government, as it should, promptly slapped down Farage’s kind offer while reiterating that it is actually the Government and Farage is not.
I’m sorry, but who the fuck does this jumped up little prick think he is? How dare he – how dare he – decide that he is somehow qualified to be some sort of important diplomatic figure solely because he wants to be one? How hubristic do you have to be to be a, let’s be frank, no-mark politician who has accomplished fuck all of any significance except riling up bigots and enriching yourself at taxpayers’ expense and then think you have any business at all interposing yourself between your country and another? He doesn’t represent the United Kingdom; he barely represents Ukip; the people he should be representing in the position he was actually elected to serve in he doesn’t because he’s focused on his sole real interest, that is, promoting himself. He has about as much right to represent the British government or people as I do. How fucking dare he?
More than anything else, this is what has finally – finally – led to me losing my rag completely with Farage; this newfound sense that he somehow represents anything beyond his own pisspot party, and the sheer arrogance of trying to sell himself as an unofficial ambassador to the British people (not to mention disrespect to the actual government he’s seeking to partially usurp). The man has no redeeming qualities, no meaningful elected office, no actual sense of public duty and no interests beyond self-promotion. He should be laughed at, ignored and given the exact amount of attention that his actual qualifications deserve – nil. Fuck him and all of his ilk.
I really, really, really can’t put anything more starkly or certainly than the title. The entire liberal democratic order which we have been part of for so long has been totally upended by a cancer of resurgent fascism. If Brexit was a symptom of this cancer then Trump is a metastasis to the brain and lungs, and a sign that this cancer is both aggressive and terminal.
The battle is lost because anyone with any power or influence who could conceivably have fought against this turn of events has been enabling it and allowing it to grow, and the will to actively fight it in the way it needs to be fought is not there. It is precisely the fault of the same sort of chattering “moderates” or “independents” or “centrists” who, with Brexit, decided that what was directed by media owners, Conservative MPs and the blatant fucking fraud that is Nigel Farage, a commodities trader and then career politician fashioned into a working class hero anti-politician by nothing more than skilful marketing and ignorance, was actually a revolution of the put-upon and neglected white working class. It is the fault of the same people who decided that the response to xenophobia was to reward it with “understanding” and attention rather than principle. Inasmuch as the white working class did vote for Brexit and Trump for economic reasons, they were played; encouraged to vote against their own interest and ignore the actual cause of what has made their lives so thoroughly shitty (that being the progressive rollback of trades unionism and deliberate destruction of manufacturing starting in the Thatcher era). Brexit is not going to make the UK richer, and Trump is not going to make anyone’s life better or more comfortable except for the racist frog avatar people who have been emboldened and feel that the wind is blowing in their direction. They feel that way because they have been and it is.
There is a reason why the right way to deal with fascists, racists, homophobes and other such cunts is and was not to allow them a level playing field and compete in the “marketplace of ideas”, with the smug assumed knowledge that nice and noble liberal democratic ideals will beat them handily due to their moral correctness; the correct response is to deny them a platform to the greatest possible extent, because fascists do not give a fuck about your nice liberal democratic ideals of open debate, they do not give a fuck about the marketplace of ideas and they certainly don’t give any fucks at all about finding truth, sitting down around a table and finding compromise and a better way forward or any of this highfaluting Enlightenment bullshit that the dead white men that wrote the US constitution thought would lead to perfection. Being afforded a platform is what they want; it gets their foot in the door and gives them legitimacy so they can spout plausible sounding populist nonsense and stir up hatred; it gives them the grounds to say that their ideas as much an equal choice in the marketplace of ideas as anyone else’s. They explicitly do not care about the rights of free speech and assembly they demand and mourn every time their bigotry is censured except to the extent that they want the opportunity to spread more of it. They do not care about the truth or coherence or even basic consistency of what they are saying, because they explicitly reject your Enlightenment values of reasoned debate and discourse and wish to substitute their own of sheer brute force. Every single one of the “moderates” who argues that discourse is the solution here seems to forget that what ended Nazism as the despicable force in the world that it was was not reasoned factual debate, it was a solid asskicking by the UK, US and USSR followed by the government that replaced it completely expunging Germany of Nazism in all its forms – its language, its institutions, its symbols and the denial of its crimes against humanity being erased and banned except to the extent of leaving its beaten, rotting head on a pike as a warning to others.
But this time around we, as a people, didn’t learn a lesson and we didn’t no-platform anyone, we fought against no-platforming because we naively believed that the truth will out and we’ll soundly defeat these bastards with the sheer force of words and rhetoric, ignoring that their chief advantage is that they don’t give a shit about the rules of discourse and we do, leaving us restrained and them not. The Daily Mail, Fox News, Breitbart, The Sun, the more obscure derpy places like Townhall, WorldNetDaily and American Thinker all thrive and disseminate complete horseshit and hatred because they are not required to care about the truth of what they publish or broadcast, they don’t particularly wish to care about it and so they don’t, while The Guardian, the Independent, the Times (both New York and London) and even the Daily Telegraph see it as a noble duty to print the truth (as, rightly, should everyone). They fight by Queensberry Rules while the Sun and Breitbart grab the nearest chair and prepare to smash it over everyone’s heads.
Some may object to my characterisation of Farage and Trump as fascists, calling this hyperbole. These people can go fuck themselves as they are part of the problem. Trump and Farage both hold in common a contempt for liberal, pluralistic democratic institutions and checks and balances, exemplified by Farage’s outrage over Parliament being required to sanction our exit from the EU (and his attendant call for a march on the High Court so that it would “listen to the will of the people”) and Trump’s desire to “open up libel laws” so as to be able to sue media sources that dared to print nasty things about him, or even to print what he actually said – in direct contravention to the US’ own constitution, a document I honestly doubt Trump has the attention span to read, let alone comprehend. They both wilfully stirred up, at best, fear of if not hatred of an “other” – in both men’s cases, refugees from Syria, in Trump’s case also Mexicans and to a certain extent African-Americans and Jews. They both have an express desire to place the nation state, the only good nation state in their world view, above all else, and see fit to equate whatever ends they want as good for the country and all else as expressly bad and traitorous to it. They are fascists, by any reasonable definition, and their platform should have been denied, and it wasn’t.
Special mention here goes to the BBC, who more than any other organisation (even the proudly Ukip-loving Daily Express) legitimised Farage as part of our discourse. Every gap on a panel show he could fill, every political discussion programme he could find a slot on, every possible chance he could take to put his nasty frog-like face in front of an audience as if he was a serious contributor to the political process and the public conversation, rather than a nasty and unprincipled anarchic piece of work who wanted to tear the whole thing down and remake it in his own image, they gave him and he took. Even as he gave tentative endorsement for political violence in the event of immigration not being controlled to his liking, the BBC continued to almost uniquely coddle him and allow him a platform. That comment alone, as horrifying as it is revealing, should have been the point at which the nation’s media stopped giving him oxygen, but that was a few years after they started giving him a platform totally unmerited by either Ukip’s actual support or the quality of their arguments, and the damage had already been done. By comparison, Trump reached his state of sheer repellence about twelve seconds after his campaign started and as such he should have been treated as the horror clown he is rather than given the hours upon hours of media attention he did not in any way deserve. The final insult of this was thrice placing this buffoon, this awful exemplar of everything with diction as poor as his reasoning, on a stage opposite Hillary Clinton, an intelligent woman whose thirty year career of public service in positions of great responsibility had undeniably improved the lives of many through her efforts, whose accomplishments seemed to have been placed on a level pegging with thirty years of grift, sleaze and literal bankruptcy.
So what, we just no-platform now, stop this before it can get truly ugly? It’s too late. The cancer has taken root and spread, and it is now vandalising the property of minorities, grabbing women’s pussies on subways and intimidating everyone Trump cast shade over during his campaign. Moreover, the people who support this shit do not care to listen to your facts or your solutions, they are vengeful, spiteful people and are thoroughly convinced of their own popular support. Nobody believes themselves to be a villain, even someone shouting at a Mexican-looking person to go back home from their car, spray painting a swastika on a black church or groping a woman because they feel they can now gleefully do so. Social media also plays a part in this, both in the sense of allowing both “sides” to create echo chambers where they can further have their belief of moral rectitude reinforced and then of allowing one side to be thoroughly brigaded and trampled by another that, as above, does not care about your mores or your rights or your well being or your state of mind or anything else beyond that and will direct as many death threats and revenge porn pictures towards you as their bandwidth permits. (Thanks, by the way, Twitter – even Reddit, a site which has swallowed the “valuable discourse” bollocks whole, tired of their group of awful pricks and did something to try and wall them off from the rest of their site, no matter how ineffective; why can’t you?)
Here is the real talk, for the US. This is going to get worse before it gets better and it will be a very painful process both ways. The incoming Trump administration is not “draining the swamp”, it is draining itself of decent public servants like Barack Obama (a man who, frankly, is too good for the US and is probably now fully aware of that fact, or should be) and refilling the empty pit that remains with discredited, corrupt pieces of shit like Newt Gingrich, a man so free of scruples he let his mistress suck his dick in a car parked out in front of his house with his wife inside. It has already undertaken to make several truly idiotic decisions, such as ceasing all trade with China and Japan – a move that threatens to further destabilise the world economy, and is already sending the Japanese Yen into freefall. Trump does not see the point of NATO, an organisation which has quite effectively kept the peace and keeps imperialism – actual imperialism – at bay, further increasing the chance of war and lessening stability. He doesn’t believe climate change exists, a truly baffling position to take given that so many parts of the US are so susceptible to it. The US is heading for the sort of introspective autarky that North Korea has made such a blinding success of, simply because its leader is a mentally-stunted clown who transparently believes that everything – everything – is a zero-sum game, where any benefit another country, faction, race, sexuality or party may derive is a loss to his own. His most vocal supporters are white supremacists and the alt-right (but I repeat myself), and they are practically frolicking with their new-found freedom to be pieces of shit without fear of censure since law enforcement overwhelmingly supports Trump. If someone voted for Trump, they cannot claim they didn’t vote for this, because they did. Trump is a package deal, and that package includes all of the above.
What about the UK? We’re fucked too, as I previously wrote about. The government has taken the line that the referendum must be followed through on, and does not care about the consequences because it is politically advantageous for them. We are going to be leaving the EU without a cushion to land on, and we have practically no means of making a “success” of Brexit as our Prime Minister repeatedly says, possibly since at this point she is plainly being wilfully deluded in the interests of expediency. Our best hope would be if we were to become a nation somewhat like Japan, but frankly our population is not as educated as theirs, we do not have the manufacturing capacity to have anywhere near their level of self-sufficiency, our culture is nowhere close to theirs and we do not have anywhere near the level of unique skills or must-have products that they do (I don’t see anyone particularly pining for the return of the Austin Allegro while the Nissans we make on Japan’s behalf get bought up in their thousands, nor are Pye TVs particularly wanted in comparison to Panasonic.) We are witnessing the rise of an ugly nationalism and a contempt for the democratic institutions that we urgently need, and a sense that these can and should be ignored if they don’t go with what some assumed majority wants – to the extent that this is stoked by economic factors this can only get worse. There is no mandate for any of this that is in any way defensible, and yet the referendum is being treated as the unalloyed voice of the people while ignoring the almost 50% (probably more, at this point) of the country who wanted nothing like what is happening now. We are also in the position of left-wing positions being instinctively seen as childish, unrealistic or just plain stupid, whereas right-wing ones are seen as adult, realistic, sane and inevitable even when they lead to poor outcomes, largely because our media and political agenda is set by right-wingers and even our less right-wing sources are not at all impervious to their sway. There is an opposition in the country that does actually have some rather good solutions, however whatever the right-wing media has done to discredit them is equally matched by how thoroughly they have discredited themselves through infighting, incompetence on the part of its leadership and a complete failure to realise that if centrism and triangulation didn’t fix things before, it certainly won’t now as politics becomes more polarised and less amenable to such things.
To conclude this somewhat unfocused screed, I have thoroughly had it up to here with this notion that what I really need to do is understand this supposed white working class anger that has the potential to lead to so much destruction and horror and then try and go from there. No and fuck you – I shouldn’t, because every single mote of outrage I have seen from this white working class has not been at anything that could be seen as a realistic cause for their indisputably poor lot in life, and they have clearly not been voting for or endorsing anyone that could help them; the anger has been vented at minorities and scapegoats and long-standing democratic institutions which are meant to ensure that no, “the people” (or whichever group I am supposed to assume represent “the people”) can’t have whatever moronic whim passes through their heads and that there are some principles more important than holding an election or a referendum and having whichever side wins rule the people who didn’t like kings. Principles like rule of law, the sovereignty of Parliament, judicial review, or for that matter not having peoples’ windows bricked because they’re not the right colour or because they either like genitals that are the same as theirs, have or wish they had ones different from the ones they were born with or both. Furthermore, I personally resent the idea that ignorance is somehow superior to knowledge, that ignorance even deserves to be given the same amount of thought or consideration as knowledge or that an ability and desire to think about things past a reflexive surface level makes you somehow elitist or even traitorous, and I am disturbed by the ever-growing cancerous idea that it is.
But as I say, we are too late, and this is hopeless. This genie is now thoroughly out of the bottle, a bell has been rung that cannot be un-rung, and we are all going to have to simply respond, react to and resist it as best as we possibly can, since there is no way now of actually halting it, only perhaps slowing it down, and the institutions that are supposed to protect democracy, pluralism and anyone who dares to be different from the norm are being undermined and infected. I can only hope, deeply, that fewer people suffer this time fascism surges than did last time.
Here’s something that pisses me off that I’m going to write about, especially pertinent given that Jeremy Corbyn is leader of Labour still (who could have guessed that insulting the party membership as entryists and idiots could have entrenched his supporters and made him appear like an underdog even if he’s shit? Oh wait, me) is the line of argument about electability and trying to move towards where the votes are being the most important thing because without power, Labour can’t help people. This chafes my nutsack because it justifies promising essentially anything to anyone to get into power because of the promise of nebulous “help”. It also implies that this “help” is not something that would be negated by the promises you’ve made.
Let’s say someone “moderate” (doesn’t matter who) becomes Labour leader and wins an election while promising to significantly reform (i.e. dismantle) the welfare system, because the calculation has been made that parochial bellends in Nuneaton and other swing seats won’t vote for Labour unless it comes out swinging against those evil welfare dependents on their handouts. Hooray! Labour can now help people! But… weren’t the people that Labour was elected to “help” those same people who were on benefits out of necessity? And didn’t they just promise to do something about their being dependent on handouts? And aren’t those handouts the one thing keeping a lot of these people from starvation and stagnation? Errr…
Of course, one could make the case that Labour would “help” by creating jobs and therefore rebalancing the economy so fewer people had to be on welfare. But this isn’t what parochial Nuneaton bellends care about, they care about the handouts themselves because of a sense of grievance, and they won’t be placated by any wishy-washy “economics” or “long-term consequences”. They want the handouts gone – that’s what Labour promised. Therefore the handouts have to go, or be severely curtailed. The poor people that were supposedly to be helped by Labour being in power now face a shitty “reformed” welfare system and suffer.
We can see the further issues with this line of thinking now as the whole EU refrendum thing moves on and now the “moderate” position is that Labour should be against free movement because the parochial Nuneaton bellends (I’m just going to call them PNBs now and hope it catches on) and those imaginary heartlands don’t like the idea of the forruns coming over. We need to be where the electorate are so we can help people! We’ll help people by promising that we’ll come out swinging against freedom of movement even if we have to leave the single market! Wait, won’t leaving the single market crater the economy and cause a lot of damage to people? Errr…
The “Labour needs to be electable to help people” slogan is just a pithy way of putting a vaguely socialist spin on the same triangulating bollocks that got Labour its current reputation as a principle-free power-seeking group and a further product of the party’s clear failure to have an actual ideology to coalesce around and the complete unwillingness of many of its MPs to make a good-faith argument for something they know is right but unpopular. It can be used to justify any policy or any pandering which might potentially win Labour votes in swing seats or the mythical Northern “heartlands” by promising to Labour’s actual core of working and middle class urban voters that they’ll be helping people, even if by courting the aforementioned groups they’ll be pursuing policies that would hurt those same people. It is transparent bullshit of the most obvious kind, and anyone espousing it needs to realise that promising vague, undefined help to then be implemented by hurting others (or even those same people they claim to help) is not a trade-off many people wish to make, which is why Corbyn’s full-throated rejection of such obvious nonsense has become so popular. It’s also incredibly paternalistic and self-aggrandising, with the implication that if you don’t go along with this absurd game of “moving to the centre” (i.e. moving rightwards, because that’s where the political centre of gravity has moved) you’re condemning people to a life of misery under a Tory government, and the only way to “help” them is to elect centrists who are going to pander to the people who want all the nastiness a Tory government has to offer anyway.
This argument became most crystallised, and spouted on Twitter ad nauseam, during the leadership election. Cards on the table, had I been eligible I’d probably have voted for Owen Smith, if only because I’d prefer a damp rag that might conceivably be useful for some purpose to used bog roll. That said, I strenuously object to the idea that any putative vote I could have cast should have been done because of some self-regarding assessment of electability being the One True Way and anything which might put off some PNBs also being me damning already-poor people to a life of further poverty under a Tory jackboot. You can fuck right off if you intend to tell me, by implication, that I should be voting for your preferred candidate because otherwise some people will die poor and hungry.
This, incidentally, is not me saying that a centrist Labour government would be the same as or worse than a Tory government or any such other obvious nonsensical and deluded shit peddled by the sort of Corbyn fan who gives the rest of them a bad name (nor, for that matter, am I a fan of Corbyn in any meaningful sense). It is also not me saying that making unpopular stands is always courageous and right; blithering on about Trident and the Falklands, to pick two completely random examples, is far less productive and more of a dead end than defending the existence of a welfare system that involves cash handouts or our membership of the EU. Nor is it me saying that voting pragmatically is a wrong thing to do (it actually is in a binary two-party system like first-past-the-post – not so much when you’re formulating policy options for one of those parties, where there’s rarely only two choices of which one will always win). It is me saying that ends do not always justify means, especially when those ends are so ill-defined and the means are often directly opposed to the ends. It is also me saying that a Labour government being better for basically everyone than a Tory government does not justify any policy or any commitment with the Labour brand slapped on it.
Welp, that’s me and the Labour party done for. I thought we’d escaped the stitch-up of Jeremy Corbyn not being on the ballot – as much as I didn’t especially want him to continue leading, I wanted him to not continue leading as the result of a fair fight against a clearly better alternative. Admittedly, I want a lot of things that are equally implausible, but at the very least the “fair fight” bit would have been accomplished, if not the “decent opponent” bit.
But, of course, there had to be a but. Why wouldn’t there be? The number one lesson of 2016 so far is that if something good happens then it will almost immediately be followed by sixteen thousand shit things happening at exactly the same time. This time, the turd dropped in everyone’s lap was the announcement that if you joined the party in the six months prior to the NEC convening on the 12th July, you would no longer have a vote in the leadership election… unless you wanted to cancel your membership and re-register as a registered supporter. For £25. In a two day window.
To give a full history: I have been a member of Labour, on and off, since 2010. I originally joined, from the Liberal Democrats, in May 2010, and voted for Ed Miliband in the leadership election that year; membership lapsed for financial reasons (i.e. I went through a lot of shit in 2011). I rejoined again in October 2013 after seeing Ed finally coming out of his shell a bit and saying things that really chimed with me again; a few months later I started doorknocking and delivering leaflets. I was a member of the party up until November 2015, when I (as I previously wrote about) quit after seeing John McDonnell somehow respond to an open goal by setting himself on fire and shitting on the ball. I rejoined, as I found out today, on the 18th January this year after reconsidering, and have since then attended multiple branch meetings, done telling for the party during the local elections and delivered a shitload of leaflets – not as many as I would like to have done, but what I could with my circumstances. As I found out, ironically after getting home from my local branch meeting, being an active member and supporter of the party is apparently not good enough to earn a vote in the leadership elections; as I “joined” six days after the 12th January cut off, it was confirmed to me today, I will not get one.
Unless I quit again, and part with £25 to be a registered supporter.
You know what Labour: you can suck rancid drops of sweat from my hairy taint before I will even consider parting with more money for something I thought I had paid for the right to do as part of my membership of your party. Take my membership card and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. I’m out. Oh, sure, you’re building a social movement, you’ll miss my money, nobody else can beat the Tories, yada yada, but why the everfucking fuck should I not take it personally that I rejoined you six days late and therefore one of the most basic rights of membership has been stripped from me in an effort to stymie imaginary hordes of entryists who joined well before this pathetic excuse for a leadership competition was a twinkle in anyone’s eye? I rejoined because I realised that despite McDonnell’s idiocy I did still think that the party was our (the left’s, and the average working person in Britain’s) last hope for a better future, and I’ve stuck with it even as the party tears itself asunder in the most undignified manner possible; as the leadership continues being bumbling and incompetent and as the PLP see this bumbling incompetence and respond “well we can be shittier!”… but this is not good enough. Six month rule.
I’ve been disenfranchised on a technicality. Many people haven’t even got that; they’ve just had their vote nicked off them retroactively simply for the crime of not being in the party long enough. I personally know two people who joined recently – yes, both supporters of Jeremy Corbyn in a rather less qualified way than I could ever claim to be – and why should they stick around when the first message they get loud and clear is that they’re not good enough and the things the Labour party sticks on its website as a paean to potential new members aren’t worth the photons they’re borne upon? Why should they not feel like they’ve been sold a pup? Why the hell should they trust Labour again? Why should I trust Labour again? Oh sure, you can get around it by joining a union, or another society, but at the end of the day the principle counts – why should I have to?
The answer is; I won’t. I couldn’t give a sun-blushed shit what it has to say to me or anyone else, I’m gone. Apparently I’m not good enough, and neither are the hundreds of thousands of people who showed enough faith in it and its embattled leader to join it even amongst all the tumult. Sure, go ahead and tell me they’re all entryists, they’re all Trots, they’re all communists, SWP members, CPGB members, sandal-wearing lentil-eating north London hippies that chuck bricks through windows and tweet rape threats at MPs, or they could be just good, decent people who appreciate what Jeremy Corbyn believes in and who have now got every reason to feel bitter and disgusted with the party he leads after it has taken their money and then changed the deal. Good job repelling the people who fund you, you absolute shithouses.
I’ve joined another party, for what it’s worth; I won’t disclose which one (here at least, some people on the /r/LabourUK IRC channel know; at least know it’s not the fucking Tories) but frankly it seems like a better home for me right now than a party that, while everyone I’ve met on a local level has been friendly, welcoming and nice to have a pint (or diet Coke in my case) with at meetings, doesn’t appear as an institution to give any basic respect to me as a member or anyone else who has committed the grave, unforgivable crime of looking like they might possibly vote for Jeremy Corbyn.
Indulge me for a second. I’m going to make some predictions about the now actually-imminent (as opposed to the supposedly imminent) leadership challenge by Angela Eagle. I’ll make a note somewhere to come back to them in about a month’s time and then we can all see whether my powers of basic logic can predict the future.
- Angela Eagle will actually announce her leadership bid on Monday as promised. This will be the conclusion to almost two weeks of the most boring telling of The Boy Who Cried Wolf ever. I’ve had people tell me that actually this was a really clever move to keep the Corbynistas at bay while Tom Watson tries to negotiate a compromise agreement (how exactly you compromise between “I want to keep my job” and “We want you to not have your job” is a matter for them) and I can only presume that they’re smoking crack, because Eagle has only damaged her own credibility with this pointless announcing and then re-announcing.
- Eagle’s leadership bid will involve talk about “recapturing Labour heartlands” and the means of doing this will involve moving to the right on immigration. Book it. Done. There are numerous assumptions that need to be dealt with here – that these places are our heartlands (they were, they’re not any more), that we have an automatic right to these “heartlands” (we don’t), that they will automatically come back to us if we become anti-immigration (they won’t), that if we become anti-immigration we’ll be trusted (we won’t), that the rank and file membership will put up with this (they won’t) and that our actual core vote/heartlands will also put up with this (they won’t). There’s a very basic political calculation in play here, one that betrays the very fundamental idea that Labour at the moment doesn’t think it can persuade anyone so therefore it must not try and make arguments; people in our former heartlands are switching to Ukip, we must be more like Ukip to win them over, become more like Ukip. Of course doing so pisses off our actual core vote but, fuck it, why not?
- We’ll hear more bullshit about “fiscal credibility” being needed to persuade swing voters. This is what we got last time. There were three candidates who, to varying degrees, accepted the prevailing logic of “we need to cut spending but in a nicer way” and one who questioned this for the complete horseshit that it is and all but took the other three out and horsewhipped them as a result. The idea that swing voters can only, only, be swayed by notions about the deficit (as opposed to, for example, public services, the need for an actual industrial policy and the fact that deficit obsession demonstrably hasn’t worked). I predict that we’ll get more of this shit and it will go down exactly the same way it did before.
- Eagle will get smashed to pieces. Unless both 2 and 3 are false then this will probably be the case because she won’t have actually thought about who she needs to sell herself to. The membership are in absolutely no mood to have another candidate who wants to “meet in the middle” with regards to policies after the party has used this strategy in multiple elections with diminishing returns, culminating in 2015. Corbyn has not had many returns on his strategy either, but at least it’s one that the membership can nod along with – and, ultimately, they are the only people who actually need to be persuaded in any way in this contest, doe-eyed appeals about all the people we’d be leaving behind by not electing Eagle who would inevitably win an election of course because she isn’t Corbyn aside.
- Nobody of any consequence will learn a single lesson from any of this. The result (if as described in number 4, with its necessary dependents 2 and/or 3) will be blamed on entryism or just the membership being idiots if Corbyn wins again. That Eagle wasn’t an appealing candidate, that she wasn’t in tune with what the membership wants and Corbyn is, that her strategy for winning an election would be the same basic one that has lost us elections twice on the trot, that she’s made herself look like a buffoon to anyone who follows Labour at all with the “will she won’t she” game… all of these far more plausible reasons why she might lose will be completely dismissed if Corbyn wins, because it can only be because of SWP entryists, Momentum or because the membership are just fundamentally thick.
I genuinely hope I’m wrong on some level. I hope that Eagle has enough nous to know who she’s pitching herself to – 600,000 people (and counting) who aren’t in hock to Corbyn because of some strange Marxist-Leninist personality cult but because he actually speaks a language they understand, shares the same concerns they do and is quite vocal about wanting to do something radical about it rather than tinkering around the edges of a system that is failing people. I hope that rather than considering these people – many if not most of them long term Labour party members – a write off and generally just not worth engaging with in any way, she will actually properly listen to them and think about what motivated them to vote Corbyn last year and what could maybe be done to win them over to her side.
It’s true, of course, that there is some personal loyalty to Corbyn the man in play – unlike some, I don’t automatically consider this evidence of a “personality cult”, I consider it to be because the things he says are relatable to so many people and he appears to them to be the only one saying them to any great degree. Some people will dig their heels in and will see the entire thing as an excuse to get rid of a leader the PLP don’t agree with – fair enough. Let them, it’s as much of a legitimate choice as just wanting Corbyn gone no matter what. But just assuming anyone who voted Corbyn doesn’t have a point, can’t be persuaded and won’t vote for anyone else because they’re part of the cult is never going to work – if you can’t persuade your own party, how the hell do you expect to persuade the wider electorate?
I’m pretty confident that all of the things 1 through 5 are going to happen. Eagle will run, she’ll run as the “concede and move on” candidate, she’ll crash and burn and it’ll be Corbyn’s fault for having a fan club and not hers for not motivating people. But I hope I’m wrong. (I’m also working under the assumption that most horses I bet on tend to end up as glue, so if Eagle suddenly swings to the left instead and wins you’ve got me to thank.)
As the country is apparently extremely close to making its mind up that, yes, exiting the entity that ensures a common and tariff-free market with the countries that are the consumers of 44% of our exports is a really good idea because immigrants, one has to inevitably turn to how David Cameron should react to such an event; I think I’ve found a good template.
As the London Stock Exchange opens at 8am on the 24th after a simple majority of British voters elect to cut their own head off to spite their face and almost immediately shits the bed like an anally incontinent ten year-old with dysentery (as it has done to a lesser extent for the past few days, with £30bn being wiped off the FTSE’s value on Tuesday alone as soon as the polls started turning towards “leave”, but just ignore that that’s just more #ProjectFear scaremongering amirite?), David Cameron would inevitably have to say something, most probably something about his own resignation since his position would be untenable. The above 30 second clip more or less encapsulates exactly what he should say and how he should say it without deviation, as a bare minimum.
That said, Cameron could go some way to redeeming his entire incompetent government – if he went full Bill Burr on the steps of Number 10 in the event of a leave vote. He’d be fully justified. If I was David Cameron, put in the position of being the voice of reason on a matter that basically every political party agrees on, and I’d just lost to the rough British equivalent of the Tea Party, I would not be able to disguise my unbridled and limitless contempt for the fucking morons who voted for them. I’d be completely scandalised that a plurality of adults believed Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove over just about every credible political, social and economic authority on the face of the planet, or had an irrational belief that immigration and the EU are what is causing their hospitals and public services to be shit rather than a government that deliberately underfunds them. I dare say Cameron would feel much the same way, although I doubt he’d say it like that.
Put simply; he should. The man usually comes across about as human and emotional as a toaster (admittedly more so than George Osborne, who only ever comes across as some kind of cosmic horror) so to see him actually say what he really feels, without needing to worry about PR or repelling swing voters or any such thing would be a glorious event. I say this as someone who isn’t fond of him or his politics, but this is a man who has, not for the first time, made a decision to back a cause that will inevitably repulse a great number of his party activists; not for any naked political calculation but because it’s the right thing to do for the country and the people living in it. All this principled stance has got him is some cretins telling him that the reasonably foreseeable consequences he’d warned people of were some kind of made-up scary story while his own party rush around to defenestrate him. If, next Thursday, his efforts have been in vain and we do wake up to the economy collapsing around our ears because of a nakedly suicidal majority of voters that are scared of Romanians, I don’t want to see Cameron making a dignified speech about respecting the will of the people; I want to see him ranting, profanely and at length, about exactly what a thick bunch of twats the British public are in the sort of punishing personal detail usually reserved for a couple’s row.
Start with that fact above about the EU making up about 44% of our exports (that we have just made more expensive), and about the markets crashing even before the vote because of even the idea of us voting to leave as a preview of things to come, but you did it anyway because you’re all fucking thick. I want him to have CNBC on a big screen behind him showing the market carnage, which he intermittently points to and shouts “YOUR FUCKING FAULT” as he breathlessly howls abuse at the stunned press pack like a man having his bollocks gnawed off by a starving dog. I want his big puffy face to go puce as he points out, via the medium of barely coherent screaming, to the pensioners sitting at home that the stock market, which incidentally (points to CNBC and shouts) is in freefall, is what makes up basically every private pension fund going so enjoy your fucking poverty, dickheads. But good news, there won’t be so many Eastern Europeans out for you to be poor around, or indeed to wipe your arse in whatever godforsaken care home you wind up in.
More than anything, I want him to fucking savage Farage and Johnson. I want Farage to be so roasted at the end that the only place left for him is a fucking Toby Carvery. I want Johnson to look like an extra from some nightmarish extended director’s cut of Threads after Cameron is done burning him. Start with the fact that Farage, a man whose bread and butter is railing against unelected bureaucrats, knows all about being an unelected bureaucrat because he’s failed at every single opportunity to gain a meaningful public office (and I hesitate to call being a Ukip MEP “meaningful”), and that he can only not be classified as one of the “career politicians” he mocks so openly because he’s not ever had a proper career or been a proper politician. Continue on to the fact that Boris Johnson’s chief qualifications are being a bumbling fucking idiot on television and somehow having lots of extramarital sex despite him looking like a deflated Mr Blobby wearing a Donald Trump toupee. He could include an impression of what Boris’ cum face looks like if he really must; I’m thinking a cross between a man on ketamine getting the electric chair and an Aphex Twin album cover. Point out, at length, exactly how many lies Farage has told over his political career and how you fucking dickheads still believed him despite being a drink-sodden fucker who never tells the truth, and how that calculating prick Johnson was an enthusiastic supporter of the EU right up until it became politically advantageous to be against it but you fucking dickheads believed him anyway and look where that’s got you you soon to be pensionless and economyless arseholes, and how Michael Gove looks like Pob and why would you listen to a man who looks like that oh wait you did you useless, brainless fucknostrils. He can do an impression of Gove too by puffing his cheeks out and calling teachers cunts, although personally I’d say that may be going a bit far. It’s not Pob’s fault an awful cunt looks like him.
All of this is being broadcast live and uncensored on all major news networks, by the way. Ofcom won’t care because they’ll be too busy laughing and/or cooking rats over a burning barrel for sustenance.
Finally, as Cameron draws closer to the end of his final glorious act as Prime Minister, he should stare down the lens and talk directly to the viewers at home. “You did this, you fucking cunts”, he says. “You did this. Every single negative consequence to this decision is your fault and yours alone. I gave you the opportunity to vote on your destiny, to make a decision that will have consequences reaching centuries down the line, and I put my fucking neck on the line to do it, and rather than come to a sensible decision based on rationalism, facts and common fucking sense, you’ve believed a collection of swivel-eyed idiots who have stirred you all up about those filthy foreigners and about a repatriation of power that you will never get anywhere near the levers of because it’s still going to rest with people who aren’t fucking you.”
“The EU never hurt you, you fuckwits”, he continues, “we fucking did. Every single decision that has meaningfully affected your lives in a negative way has had basically nothing to do with Europe, the EU, or anything outside these borders. Your public services are shit because you’d rather vote for tax cuts than increased funding for them; houses aren’t expensive because of immigration, they’re expensive because there’s not enough of them and we need to build more. Hospitals aren’t shit because A&E is overcrowded with Poles, the Poles would probably be the ones treating you after you fall and crack your heads open putting up another fucking Ukip poster like the useless tossers you are because you’re too stupid to climb a ladder correctly, let alone make a momentous decision on our future as a nation. Fuck you, fuck your country, fuck this pisspoor notion of democracy and fuck your imaginary ‘sovereignty’. All that ‘sovereignty’ means, although you were too fucking stupid to notice, is that now Boris Johnson is the leader of a country with a hollowed out economy that is now negotiating the most bitter divorce in history, besides his own after he stuck his penis in one too many other women. Good for him and good for you. Hey, Boris, you alabaster philandering shitheap toilet brush lookalike; remember how much people loved Gordon Brown after the financial crash caused lots of people to lose their livelihoods? And he didn’t even argue in favour of the event that caused that to happen. Enjoy being Prime Minister, cockweasel. See you on Have I Got News For You soon, if you’re not lynched first. Cameron out.” Mic drop. Cameron walks off, pulls a bottle of Glen’s Vodka out of his suit jacket, chugs the entire thing and throws it on the ground. It shatters into a million pieces. Fin.
If that doesn’t happen, verbatim, it will be a wasted opportunity. Go on Cameron. Redeem yourself. Go out with a blaze of glory nobody will forget. Do it for Britain.
This is going to be brief, because I really want to give as little airing to this McDonald’s/Labour conference non-troversy as I possibly can, but if I don’t say something I’ll probably end up at the top of a clock tower with a rifle.
Here is the state of play:
- McDonald’s offers the Labour party £30,000 for them to have a stall at the Labour conference about British farm produce.
- The Labour NEC (important note: the NEC has absolutely nothing to do with Jeremy Corbyn whatsoever) stops McDonald’s having a stall at the Labour conference because of concerns over its antipathy to trade unions. To clarify, this is a party that is more or less founded on the principle of unions being a good thing, that has significant influence from unions. So it stands to reason they’d have a bone to pick with a company that has about as much time for trade unions as Margaret Thatcher.
- Wes Streeting, one of the small group of Labour MPs who is always good for a rent-a-quote when the press comes calling and the topic of discussion is what a tosser Jeremy Corbyn is, pops up in the Sun whinging about how horrible this decision is because families across the country like McDonald’s.
Some questions come to mind:
- If you’re going to have a public disagreement with the elected leader of the Labour party, why can’t you do it on a decision that he actually had something to do with?
- Why is trades unionism not a valid thing for a party that is more or less based around and founded upon the concept of trades unionism to take a stand on?
- If we assume that trades unionism is a valid thing for a party that is based around the concept of trades unionism to take a stand on, why should Labour then compromise this stance for a relatively piddling sum of money?
- Why, of all outlets for this disagreement, do you need to choose the Murdoch press to vent it?
- Since when did people eating McDonald’s mean that we have to accept their money or give them a platform?
- If you’re a Labour MP, who presumably at some point wants to be re-elected under the Labour banner and wants a Labour government, at what point is trying to paint the Labour party as a whole as home to a bunch of snobbish falafel-eating elitists (presumably falafel is the new muesli) not going to be a really, really bad idea?
Clearly these questions, blindingly obvious as some of them are, didn’t occur to Wes Streeting. I’d speculate that this is because for a significant proportion of Labour MPs, including apparently the aforementioned Streeting, “destroy Jeremy Corbyn” appears to have become a preoccupation, ranking above any concept of trying to boost (or maintain) the party’s image or of trying to put actual party messages across to the public. The sheer idiocy of this strange “destroy the village in order to save it” strategy, which apparently involves completely wrecking the public image of your own party and its leader in order to rehabilitate it in the eyes of swing voters and centrists everywhere (who as well as constantly obsessing over the deficit and aspiring to own houses to the exclusion of all else also apparently now eat a shitload of Big Macs — “swing voter” appears to be the political equivalent of a Rorschach test at this point), is nothing short of breathtaking. It has now stooped to the level of trying to associate Jeremy Corbyn with a decision he had nothing to do with that Labour had excellent reasons for making in a paper that is so intrinsically hostile to Labour at this point that it may as well come with a Conservative Party membership application form. This is only a few days after another Labour MP decided it would be a really good idea, in a week where David Cameron had been on the back foot over his (at the very least) morally grey tax affairs, to give a quote to the Telegraph about how “remarkable” it was that Corbyn has been paid £3million by the state over 33 years to be an MP, thus adding needless fuel to a non-story that has to rank as the biggest load of utter shite published this month. I can only assume that the reason it’s listed as having two authors is because neither of them wanted all of the blame.
I don’t give a shit if you don’t like Corbyn. I don’t give a shit if you don’t agree with him, don’t agree with his vegetarianism, don’t like his beard or just think he’s a cunt. I genuinely couldn’t give a toss — I have no personal loyalty to the man other than that I would like the Labour party to go a bit more to the left and he’s the one doing that. But would it really, really be so horrible if the people who are so vocal about what a waste of space he is didn’t try and drag the entire Labour party down with them when they agitate against him, didn’t ally themselves with people and organisations who have about as much interest in Labour being a viable force for the future as George Osborne and also tried to keep their concerns to rational ones had by people with an intelligence level that’s slightly higher than that of a glass of water? Would that really be so hard?