Sunday, 23 July 2017

The extreme-right Brexiter victim complex bites again



One of the most insidious things about extreme-rightg Brexit propagandists is the way that they deliberately foster victim-complex thinking. 

The latest example is an article on the Arron Banks bankrolled propaganda page Westmonster crying that the nasty EU is punishing the UK for leaving by not immediately agreeing to let Brits keep one of the primary benefits of EU membership after we leave.

Westmonster/Leave.EU

The EU referendum allowed the extreme-right fanatic Arron Banks a perfect opportunity to massively increase his influence over British politics by setting up a rival pro-Brexit campaign called Leave.EU (the one that used Nazi style imagery to fearmonger about refugees).

Instead of packing the campaign up after the referendum (like the official Vote Leave and the pro-Remain Stronger In Europe), Banks has opportunistically turned the Leave.EU into his own personal propaganda outfit.

Attracting over a million social media followers (867,000+ on Facebook, 133,000+ on Twitter) by waving a Brexit flag at them and then using this huge social media audience to promote the most fanatically right-wing interpretation of Brexit, bigoted xenophobia, pro-Trump propaganda, and endless links to his own Westmonster website (which is absolutely blathered in adverts for Banks' own Go Skippy car insurance company).

The EHIC card

The latest Westmonster/Leave.EU propaganda attack on the European Union entitled "Spiteful EU threatens to scrap free healthcare for Brits abroad" relates to the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which currently allows EU citizens to travel in Europe and claim back the cost of any medical treatment from their home countries.

The Tories are arguing that British travellers in Europe should still have access to the EHIC scheme even after we quit the EU, but the EU negotiators have said that they need to study the issue further before making a decision.

Despite Theresa May and the Tories using the lives of EU citizens in the UK as disposable gambling chips in the negotiations, the extreme-right Westmonster/Leave.EU mob are spitting bile that the EU aren't immediately caving in and handing the UK one of the biggest advantages of EU membership!

Project fear

The possibility of the UK losing access to one of the really big benefits of EU membership as a consequence of quitting the EU was always pretty damned obvious, but you'll remember how the Brexiteers shrieked "project fear" at anyone who dared suggest that Brexit might be a highly complex process fraught with pitfalls and dangers for Brits and the British economy.

The likes of Arron Banks and the Leave.EU mob operated on the model of pushing blatant fearmongering and lies (like the Nazi style anti-refugee posters and the "eek Turkey is joining the EU" lies) and then howling "project fear" at anyone who raised legitimate doubts about the fact that the Brexiteers were clearly just making things up as they went along, with no actual plan for what to do if they actually managed to win the referendum with such despicable tactics.

Now they're having an absolute hissy fit because one of the potential consequences they dismissed as "project fear" during the referendum debate is still a possibility.

Brazen Tory propaganda

One thing that jumps straight out of the article is the claim that the UK made a "fair and serious offer" on EU citizens rights.

Anyone who did the slightest research knows that the UK ofer was an absolute insult that has been severely criticised by EU citizens in the UK, UK citizens in the EU, and which came 11 days after the submission of a much better and more comprehensive citizens' rights offer from the EU that went completely ignored by the Tories.

The fact that Westmonster chose to uncritically recycle the "fair and serious offer" Tory propaganda word for word just goes to show what their real agenda is. 

They have no intention whatever to hold the Tory government to account for the inept way they're handling Brexit because their primary objective is to spread hatred of the EU, not to get a good deal for British citizens.

Bullying

The word-for-word repetition of Tory propaganda appears in the most sickening paragraph of all:
"It's especially bad considering Theresa May has already made a 'fair and serious offer' to EU citizens living in Britain, allowing them to apply for settled status. But that was on the condition that British citizens living abroad would maintain their rights. So has the EU just kiboshed its own citizens getting a good deal too?"
There is no other way to read this than as a threat against EU citizens' living in the UK if the EU doesn't cave in and give Brits one of the main membership benefits of their "spiteful, vengeful dictatorship"!

If the EU don't let us keep our access to EHIC even after we've left, then the absolute insult of an offer on EU citizens' rights is going in the bin, presumably to be replaced with a very much worse collective punishment policy against EU citizens in the UK.

The Westmonster article basically says "give us what we want or we'll deliberately punish EU citizens living in the UK" and has the absolute gall to accuse the EU of being the spiteful bullies at the same time!

Endangering the negotiations

Framing the EHIC debate as a plucky honest UK taking on a "spiteful EU" is exactly the kind of extreme and divisive rhetoric that endangers the negotiations.

Just think about it for yourself for a moment: Which proposition would you be most likely to accept?

Arron Banks' extreme-right propaganda machine is poisoning the political debate over the EHIC card with divisive rhetoric accusing the EU negotiators of being "spiteful" people "sticking two fingers up at Britain" and the describing the EU as a "spiteful, vengeful dictatorship" all based on the fact that the EU aren't immediately caving in to Tory demands that Brits get to keep one of the primary benefits of membership of the ... err ... "spiteful, vengeful dictatorship"!
Could we continue with the existing arrangement we already have in this area because it has obvious benefits to both of us?
Give me what I want immediately you fucking spiteful bully or I'll collectively punish people you care about.
Even infant school children know that you're more likely to get what you want by being nice than by lobbing a load of insults and threats around.

Anyone who thinks that toxifying the Brexit negotiations with this kind of divisive extreme-right rhetoric is anything but an impediment to Britain getting a good deal has to be suffering extreme diplomatic illiteracy.

And only the most terrifyingly delusional of halfwits could possibly imagine that Brits will somehow retain access to the benefit of EHIC if the divisive rhetoric from the Arron Banks' propaganda mob succeeds in triggering a nuclear "no deal" Tory strop out of the EU.

 Victim-complexing

The idea that the EU are horrible bullies because they won't immediately cave in and hand the UK one of the prime benefits of EU membership is a classic example of the extreme-right victim-complexing propaganda tactic.

It doesn't really matter what the story is, the extreme-right will always find a way of framing it as a piteous victim narrative in order to dupe people into wallowing in self pity instead of actually engaging their critical thinking skills.

This tactic works a treat because once the extreme-right have inflated people's victim complexes to the size of hot air balloons, it only takes the slightest puff of hot air to get them all floating in the political direction they want them to, and the direction the Arron Banks/Westmonster/Leave.EU mob are blowing towards a socially and economically ruinous nuclear "no deal" Tory strop out of Europe.

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Saturday, 22 July 2017

Jack Straw helped create the illiberal secret court rules he's now using himself


In 2013 Tories and their Liberal Democrat enablers colluded to launch an an astounding attack on the concept of fair and open justice by creating a system of secret courts to protect the political establishment from scrutiny.

Secret courts (or Closed Material Proceedings as they are officially known) create the bizarre Kafkaesque circumstances that people can have their fates decided in courtrooms that they are not allowed to enter, based on evidence they are not allowed to see.

Not only does Theresa May's secret court legislation prevent citizens from seeing the evidence that is being used to determine their fate, it prevents their lawyers from seeing it too.

In March 2013 it was clear that the Tories and Lib-Dems had enough votes to pass Theresa May's attack on the justice system, but the Green MP Caroline Lucas tried to make two key amendments to the legislation in order to try to at least prevent outright abuse of the system.

One amendment was to prevent the use of secret court proceedings in civil cases, and the other was to ensure that judges have a legal obligation to consider the "public interest in the fair and open administration of justice" before any secret court proceeding could be launched.

Both of these amendments were voted down by the Tories, their Lib-Dem sidekicks and four liberty-hating Labour MPs.

One of the four Labour MPs who voted with Theresa May and the Tory/Lib-Dem coalition to defeat these amendments was the former Labour Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

Fast-forward to 2017 and Jack Straw is facing a civil lawsuit alleging his complicity in the abduction and torture of a Libyan dissident and his pregnant wife in 2004.

After the fall of the Gadaffi government in 2011 incriminating documents were found that showed how members of the British security services tipped off the Americans about the whereabouts of the anti-Gadaffi Libyan dissident Abdelhakim Belhadj and his pregnant wife.The couple were then were then kidnapped by US forces, transported out of Malaysia on a torture flight to Tripoli and then handed over to the Libyan government, where they were then tortured and subjected to interrogation with numerous questions supplied to them by MI6.

Not only is there strong evidence that the UK colluded with Gadaffi's secret police torture centres under Jack Straw's watch, he also deliberately and brazenly lied in the House of Commons 2005 when he claimed that Britain had never been involved in any US torture flight operations.


Now Jack Straw and the MI6 agent Mark Allen are being sued for damages by the torture victims for their role in this kidnap-torture plot, and the judge Andrew Popplewell (a privately educated establishment insider) has decided to invoke secret court rules to allow the defendants to present secret evidence that cannot be seen by the victims, their lawyers, members of the press, or the public.

Had Caroline Lucas' amendments to Theresa May's monstrous attack on the justice system been passed (with the help of Jack Straw's parliamentary votes) then Jack Straw wouldn't now be able to obstruct the fair and open administration of justice by using secret court proceedings, presumably to hide evidence of his complicity in the plot from public scrutiny.

After the decision to allow secret court proceedings in the case was announced, Belhadj said that "I went through a secret trial once before, in Gaddafi’s Libya. It took about a half hour, and I never saw any of the evidence against me. Later a guard came to my cell and tossed in a red jumpsuit – that was how I found out that the secret court had sentenced me to die ... Fatima and I have stuck with this case for all these years because we believe the British system, unlike Gaddafi’s, can deliver justice. But what kind of a trial will it be if we put in a mountain of evidence and government officials can simply refuse to answer us?"


It's impossible to deny that Belhadj has a point here, especially in light of the fact that one of the actual defendants in the case actually voted this shockingly illiberal system of judicial secrecy into existence in the first place.

You really couldn't get a clearer example of a self-interested politician making up laws for their own personal benefit than this, but that's how the British establishment operate, with the likes of Theresa May and Jack Straw colluding to scratch each others' backs.

And that's why Jeremy Corbyn is seen as such a huge threat by the Westminster establishment, because he's never shown any inclination to participate in this cross-party collusion to protect establishment elitists from the consequences of their own actions.



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Friday, 21 July 2017

The Tory delusion that one more dishonest smear-job is all they need for success


A notorious Tory blogger has openly admitted that the lies and deceptions spread by the extreme-right Guido Fawkes hate chamber are "gold" for the "Conservative attack machine".

In a post on the Conservative Home website the blogger Henry Hill (you may remember him as the guy who carefully detailed the Tory blueprint for wrecking the NHS) gleefully celebrated the success of an anti-Corbyn smear job on the extreme-right Guido Fawkes blog.

The Guido smear-job berates Jeremy Corbyn for breaking a student debt promise that he never actually made.

Jeremy Corbyn never said that he would wipe out all student debt. The Labour manifesto never said that it was Labour policy to wipe out all student debt. Neither Guido nor the Tories have provided a single quote of anyone from Labour promising to wipe out all student debt. Yet they're still relentlessly banging on about student debt and Jeremy Corbyn's supposed broken promise to get rid of it all as a pathetic effort to drive a wedge between Labour and the student vote.

Other than a snide dig at the Liberal Democrats for shafting their student voters, Henry Hill's entire blog post on student debt makes no mention at all of why student debts are now so high that 75% of graduates will never pay them off.

Just think about the brass-necked opportunism of a party that has deliberately erected a huge economic social mobility barrier by lumbering the poorest students with eye-watering £57,000 debts then using the issue of vast unpayable student debt levels as a stick to bash their political opponents with!

The glee with which Henry Hill celebrates the virality of the Guido smear job suggests that he imagines that all of the 1.3 million views must have come from people who are mindless enough to be 100% receptive to the transparent fake news story that Jeremy Corbyn broke a promise that he didn't even make.

As I pointed out previously, it seems likely that a high percentage of under-40s who will have came across the Guido smear-job would have been absolutely disgusted by the vitriolic comments section which derides students as "idiots", "dimwits", "useless members of society" and "snowflakes" who are full of "entitlement" and indoctrinated with "cultural Marxism".

Aside from the tide of anti-student, anti-intellectual abuse from bitter old extreme-right blowhards, there is also a sickening seam of bigotry in the comments section including brazen displays of sexism, and calls for the execution of people who oppose Brexit.

The fact that leading Tories are sharing the hell out of this deceptive Guido Fawkes article and the intense hate filled echo chamber in the comments section just goes to show how staggeringly out of touch they are with reality.

Instead of countering Labour's popularity with the under-40s with some policies that would actually benefit the under-40s in any way, they're sharing the fundamentally dishonest propaganda of an extreme-right hate chamber as if they think that liberally-minded under-40s will be won over by a blatantly deceptive blog post and the depraved slobbering of extreme-right blowhards who hate students with all their black little hearts, and even want to bring back the death penalty for their political adversaries!

If the Tories had any clue at all they'd realise that explicitly associating themselves with such an extreme-right hate fest and describing it as "gold" is actually exactly the kind extreme-right nastiness that's created the intense unpopularity of their party with the under-40s.

It's as if they're so blind to reality that they're incapable of understanding that under-40s generally want a bit of honesty and integrity, and some political policies that might actually benefit their lives in some way, not just even more of the kind of intensive extreme-right smear-mongering that demonstrably failed to win Theresa May her coveted super-majority.

This failure was not down to the Tory attack machine failing to land any punches on Corbyn as Henry Hill asserts in his article, it's that the Tories were so focused on smearing Corbyn that they failed to actually provide any decent reasons for anyone under the age of 40 to actually vote Conservative.


It's as if they believe one more smear will be the golden key to success, rather than simply being a demonstration that they've absolutely failed to learn even the simplest of lessons about why their 2017 general election campaign was such a failure.


The Tories have deliberately created a student debt system where three quarters of students will never pay off their debts despite a lifetime of paying a 9% Aspiration Tax on their disposable income, and now they're assuming that students and graduates are so intensely gullible that they'll turn against Labour because Jeremy Corbyn's team haven't yet clearly identified how they could fix the vast student debt problem that the Tories created!

The Tory elitists are obviously delighted with the system they've created to lumber "the lower orders" with unpayable debt levels for the "crime" of aspiring to improve their skills and obtain professional qualifications, yet they're assuming that students and graduates are so dimwitted that they'll suddenly abandon Labour over the easily disprovable extreme-right misrepresentations they're pushing as hard as they can.

Just imagine the brass neck of it. "They've not yet come up with a plan to fix the problem we created so you should hate them instead of us" and "look at the success of this blog post where the below-the-line comments deride students and young people like you as self-entitled idiots, gleefully celebrate the fact that we've lumbered your generation with such huge unpayable debts, and revel in the kind of extreme-right bigotry that you detest".

If pushing this extreme-right Guido Fawkes smear-mongering rubbish as hard as they can is really the Tories' best effort to win back the under-40 vote, then they're obviously even more demographically doomed than the 2017 General Election result suggests.



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Thursday, 20 July 2017

Theresa May's hypocritical outrage over BBC pay disparity


Theresa May has waded into the row over pay at the BBC to spew a load of faux outrage about gender inequality, but in doing so she's simply confirmed that she's only bothered about gender inequality when it affects the wealthiest people in society.

Of course BBC pay is ridiculous, not only for the fact that there's a huge gulf between the pay of the BBC's top earners, but also because a number of incredibly untalented people are earning absolute fortunes at the public expense.

Of course people have every right to complain about gender inequality amongst the BBC's highest paid employees, but they're clearly opening themselves up to accusations of hypocrisy if they've got a personal track record of discriminating against women.

Theresa May and the Conservative party have spent seven punishing years enforcing ruinous austerity dogma, 86% of the burden of which falls onto female shoulders.

It's an absolute disgrace to see Theresa May take a short break from 
her seven year campaign of loading the overwhelming burden of austerity dogma onto the shoulders of ordinary women, suddenly crying rivers over the fact that the likes of Claudia Winkelman and Clare Balding's six figure salaries are less than some of their male colleagues.

Boo hoo hoo, privately educated establishment-insider Claudia Winkelman has to subsist on a salary of less than half an million quid for whatever it is that she does that's so important, and meanwhile millions of ordinary women have suffered wage repression, tax credit cuts, child welfare cuts, closed maternity wards, Sure Start centres and domestic abuse refuges.


Fuck them though. Somebody has to pay for the mess the bankers made in 2008, and Theresa May isn't going to make the rich pay their share is she? After all the Tories would go bankrupt without all their donations from the City of London, the private health lobby and the landed gentry.

Then there's the WASPI women that Theresa May's Tory party are intent on robbing blind.

Nobody is arguing that the pension age shouldn't be equalised so that men and women retire at the same age, but forcing the change through so quickly that one group of 1950s -born women have to work six years longer than they were told they had to is manifestly unfair. Not only are six years of pension payments being nicked from these women, they're also being made to shell out an extra six years of National Insurance contributions too for their significantly reduced state pensions.

Still, the story is the same from Theresa May. She's crying rivers for Claudia Winkelman and Clare Balding because their bulging pay packets aren't big enough, but not for our wives, mothers, grans, aunties, neighbours, and work colleagues that her government is busy totally shafting.

Theresa may apologists might try to argue that she's somehow exempt from blame for these appalling policies because she didn't devise them, and that she's only implementing them because she's too weak and directionless to change direction away from these legacies from David Cameron's rotten leadership.

Of course they'd be right that she's far too weak and directionless to change direction (she's had a year to bin austerity dogma and do something/anything to help the WASPI women) but they'd be absolutely wrong to claim that she's just some passive bystander.

Not only did she repeatedly vote in favour of austerity dogma (even after it became very clear indeed that austerity was hurting poor and ordinary women a lot more than poor and ordinary men) she also devised one of the most sexist and discriminatory bits of legislation of the entire Cameron era while she was at the Home Office.

In 2012 Theresa May introduced a set of arbitrary income rules for British citizens wanting to bring their non-EU spouse to the UK. The rules are discriminatory in two main ways.

The first way the arbitrary rules discriminate is against people who live in poorer regions of the UK. The result is that 58% of people in London earn enough to sponsor a foreign spouse and two children, but just 36% in the North East 34% in Yorkshire and Humberside and 30% in Northern Ireland earn enough.

Arbitrary rules that discriminate against northerners, Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish people by taking no account of the cost of living are bad enough, but when it comes to gender disparity the situation is even worse.


72% of males have a salary high enough to sponsor a non-EU partner under Theresa May's arbitrary rules, but just 43% of females earn enough, which means that Theresa May's draconian spouse visa rules women are far more likely to be forced into exile from the UK for the "crime" of falling in love with a non-EU citizen than men.

The fact that Theresa May has deliberately forced tens of thousands of couples to make the choice between living separate lives or living in exile from the UK is sick enough in its own right, but when it's more than twice as likely to affect women as men too, it just makes her rivers of tears for Claudia Winkelman and Clare Balding shockingly hypocritical.

Theresa May doesn't give a damn about ordinary women because her government has been actively and deliberately attacking them. But not only does she discriminate against them, she despises them too, and imagines that they're such gullible halfwits that they'll completely ignore her political track record and imagine her as some kind of feminist because she hasn't got a penis, and because she's making a fuss that Claudia Winkelman isn't paid enough by the BBC!



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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Tory strategy for winning the youth vote is hilariously inept


The Tories are terrified of Labour's appeal to the younger generations, but instead of trying to appeal to these demographics with some actual policies that would improve their lives in any way, they've decided to try to drive the under-40s away from Labour by lying to their faces and deliberately spreading links to hard-right propaganda sites where young people are treated with absolute disdain!

The lie

The lie that the Tories have settled on is that Labour are supposedly breaking an election "promise" by saying that finding a way to write off all student debt is an "ambition" rather than an official policy.



There is no policy in the Labour manifesto to write off all student debt, in fact the Tories have implicitly admitted this fact by harking on about an interview Corbyn did with the NME instead of highlighting the non-existent passage of the Labour manifesto promising to write off all student debts. 

The problem of course is that Corbyn didn't promise to write off all student debt in that NME interview at all either (as can be seen in the extract).

What Corbyn did say was that the massive debt situation is a problem, and that he's looking at ways of reducing the unsustainable and economically damaging student debt levels.

There is no inconsistency whatever between what he said about wanting to do something about the problem in the NME interview, and the subsequent statements from Labour politicians saying that a total write-off of all student debts in their entirety is an "ambition" rather than an official policy.

We'll win the youth vote with a dose of Guido Fawkes!



The official Tory CCHQ Twitter account has been banging on about this fictional broken promise for three days now. 

They even went as far as tweeting a link to the fanatically right-wing Guido Fawkes blog.

Just imagine being so out-of-touch with the youth vote that you imagine that sharing a link to a fanatically right-wing blog 
is going to win over the youth vote!
Just imagine thinking you're going to herd the youngsters onto the Tory bus by sharing a blog with a comments section full of bigoted, foul-mouthed, anti-intellectual, disgustingly right-wing Tory blowhards ranting on bitterly about how young people are
"idiots", "dimwits", "useless members of society" and "snowflakes" full of "entitlement" and "cultural Marxism"!

The under-40s massively rejected the muck-raking, shit-flinging, smear-mongering of the right-wing propaganda rags, but the Tories are so catastrophically out of touch with the public mood that they think that sharing a link to a fanatically right-wing blog that uses the exact same divisive smear-mongering tactics as the right-wing propaganda rags is a way to win the youth vote!

They're so immersed in their familiar right-wing echo chambers of hate that they're simply incapable of seeing how toxic these extreme-right cesspits of bile are to people with progressive social values, or even any kind of basic human decency whatever.

The senselessness of it

If the Tories had any sense whatever they'd keep very quiet indeed about student debt. Their introduction of £9,000 per year tuition fees has created the situation where students from the poorest backgrounds are leaving university with £57,000 worth of debt, and a staggering 75% of all graduates are projected to never pay off their student debts despite a lifetime 9% aspiration tax on their disposable income.

Labour have a policy of scrapping these extreme fees and implementing a system like Germany where education is considered a benefit to all of society, not just to the individual who receives it.

Labour have also said that they intend to do something about the shocking scale of student debt while the Tories are only making the situation worse by scrapping maintenance grants for low income students and scrapping NHS bursaries too.

Another thing the Tories would be extremely quiet about if they had any sense whatever is broken political promises. Not only did they begin tearing pages out of their own manifesto before the 2017 General election happened, there's also the scandal of their 2010 "Contract with the electorate" which they completely deleted from their website once it became clear that they had broken every single promise it contained!

Smug Tory superiority

One of the big problems with the Tories is their innate sense of absolute superiority over ordinary plebs like us


They think they can lie to us with impunity because they believe we're too damned thick to actually read the Labour manifesto or the NME interview for ourselves to check that what they said was an accurate account of what was actually stated, rather than an obvious deception.

Not only do they expect us to mindlessly believe their lies, they also assume that we're way too thick to remember the basic details of who created these mountains of unpayable student debt in the first place with their £9,000 fees, or the fact that the Tories have a shocking track record of actually breaking their own election promises.

The Tories have resorted to their tired old tactic of lying to the public and whitewashing their own disgraceful track record in actually creating the problem in the first place, which is an illustration of exactly why they're so toxic to the younger generations: They've got nothing whatever to offer us except more of the lies, and spin, and smears, and deceptions that we so firmly rejected on June 8th.

Conclusion


Don't believe the Tory lies. 

Whenever you hear a Tory or any of their attack dogs in the mainstream media saying anything about a Labour Party policy, any other party policy, an interview, official statistics, the conclusions of a report, or whatever - the responsibility is on you to find the manifesto, that interview, those statistics, or that report, and check for yourself what was actually said and how it differs from the Tory interpretation.

The Tories think you're thick and gullible enough to outright lie to your face. 


They think you're too thick to use Google to establish the facts for yourself. 

They think you're too thick to realise they're not actually offering you anything except more austerity dogma, more student debt, more unaffordable housing, more wage repression, and more asset stripping of the national wealth to distribute to their chums at knockdown prices.

You can either accept this archaic view that you must be subservient at all times to your Tory lords and masters and never question what they say, or you can start from the more logical position of being highly sceptical of anything that is said by people with proven track records of lying through their teeth and speaking down to the public with a load of demeaning economic baby-talk as if we're a pack of absolutely gullible numbskulls.


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Monday, 17 July 2017

Tory Brexit is still an absolute shambles


Apparently the British negotiating team still had their papers in their bags when the photo was taken, but the confident Europeans with their stacks of briefing papers sitting opposite the Brits armed only with inane grins and misplaced confidence is a powerful visual metaphor for how the Brexit process is going so far.

The EU negotiating team have finalised and published detailed Brexit position papers on a whole range of different aspects of the Brexit negotiations, and their stance is universally backed by the 27 remaining EU states, which is no mean feat given that they range from the extreme-right governments in Poland and Hungary all the way through to Syriza in Greece and the Communist-backed government in Portugal).

It's a national embarrassment to Britain that our negotiating team is so chaotic. Not only are the British public still deeply divided on whether Brexit should even be going ahead after all the lies and dodgy dealings during the referendum campaign, the Tories who have been charged with delivering Brexit are all pulling in different directions.

Tory Brexit is turning out to be just as chaotic and damaging as almost all of the economic and international law experts predicted during the rushed referendum debate in 2016.


The problem isn't just that the Tories didn't even draw up a contingency plan for what to do in case David Cameron's EU referendum gamble backfired, it's that the governing party is still deeply divided on what they want to achieve out of the Brexit process.

The Tories aren't just split between two camps any more like they used to be (Europhobes and Europhiles) they've fractured into all kinds of factions, each arguing for their own agendas under Theresa May's weak leadership, and agreeing on one thing only, that the opposition parties and devolved parliaments should be given as little influence over the Brexit process as possible.

On Sunday 16th July the Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond made the extraordinary admission that there are some members of the cabinet who don't agree with his stance (brazenly one he just nicked off Labour) that protecting British jobs and the UK economy should be the first priorities of the Brexit negotiations.

We can have a good guess as to who these cabinet members are who would sacrifice other people's jobs and living standards to secure the hard-right extreme Brexit they crave. They're clearly the same ones who talked Theresa May into adopting her toddler tantrum Brexit strategy of endlessly repeating her give us exactly what we want or we'll walk away with nothing threats, that do nothing but massively increase the likelihood of an extreme "no deal" Brexit.

There's ginning David Davis, who is so clearly out of his depth it would be hilarious if our national reputation and the living standards of millions weren't hanging on his ability to suddenly and miraculously develop some basic levels of competence.


There's Boris Johnson who seems to have carte blanche to just make up whatever positions he likes, including telling the EU to "go whistle" during a parliamentary debate, for which he received the usual mild rebuke and no further action for what would be firing/resignation offences under the leadership of anyone but the weakest of Prime Ministers.

Then there are the absolutely clueless gibberish-spewing buffoons like Owen Paterson, who actually claimed that the UK could obtain the benefits of the Single Market by imposing import tariffs on EU produce, meaning he's apparently unaware that the main benefit of the Single Market is the lack of import/export tariffs!

Then there are the reluctant Brexiters, who know perfectly well that Brexit is going to be a social and economic catastrophe for the UK, and campaigned against it during the referendum debate, but who are now clearly prioritising the interests of the Tory party way above the nation as a whole by supporting a policy that they know will do severe long-term harm to the economy and to the national reputation.

Last of all is the almost eradicated Europhile faction which is now represented in the House of Commons by the solitary backbench figure of Ken Clarke (the only Tory MP to vote against invoking Article 50).

The source of this chaos is obviously Theresa May's feeble directionless leadership.

Instead of defining a clear position and making sure her cabinet members stick to it, she's allowing them to say whatever the hell they like, and contradict each other time and again, without taking any real disciplinary action whatever, even when they come out with outrageously confusing and counterproductive gibberish.


Either the Tory cabinet ministers are continually bickering and contradicting one another because they're as unclear about the official Brexit negotiating position as the rest of us are, or they do actually know what the supposed endgame is, but they're got such contempt for their own party leader that they feel free to defy her by claiming whatever they like with total impunity.

Whatever the causes of this chaos, disunity and infighting within Theresa May's cabinet, it's clearly an absolute embarrassment to the UK that while 27 politically diverse nations have come together to formulate clear, timely and transparent negotiating positions after having had Brexit thrust upon them, the Tory party that brought us Brexit in the first place are so shockingly disunited.

I know "I told you so" is not a good look, but anyone who imagined that the fanatical hard-right fringe of the Tory party would be capable of delivering anything but an absolute shambles must at least be feeling their misplaced faith evaporating away quite quickly by now.

These hard-right Europhobes had four whole decades of whinging to actually develop a plan for getting out of the EU, but incredibly they're still too busy fighting and bickering amongst themselves to focus on the job that they created for themselves, even an entire year after the referendum result, and with the Article 50 clock ticking away.

Options

There are four main options for the UK.

1. Just muddle along and pretend that Theresa May and the absolutely chaotic party she's so demonstrably failing to lead aren't slow-marching us off an economic cliff until the ground begins actually crumbling away beneath our feet. 
2. Demand a more inclusive Brexit that at least offers the opposition parties and devolved governments some proper influence over the UK's negotiating objectives (highly unlikely with a wannabe tyrant like Theresa May still clinging desperately to power). 
3. Demand a second referendum on the final Brexit terms. Whether this would act as a safeguard against Theresa May doing a catastrophic "no deal" strop would depend entirely on the EU, since it's up to them whether they would accept the revocation of Article 50 in the event of a "please stop this madness now" referendum vote. 
4. Demand another General Election, in which Labour would almost certainly make significant gains, either winning a majority, or taking enough Tory seats to form a progressive coalition. It would be unlikely that such a move would be enough to stop Brexit entirely, but at least it would hand the task of sorting out the mess to Keir Starmer QC, who is much more qualified for such a vital job than bumbling David Davis.
Obviously none of these options are ideal, but then we're the ones who voted to put ourselves in this ridiculous position last year, so we're just going to have to own the consequences. 

Obviously the first option is the worst of the lot, but unless there's some concerted effort to stop it going this way, the cliff edge is clearly the direction of travel.

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