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6095 days since mission accomplished and the US starts another war

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Its being argued, ironically by some on the alt-left (the so-called anti-anti Trump left), that Trump isn’t so bad, Hilary would have been worse, after all he’s too incompetent to start any wars. Well that theory just got blown out of the water last week, with the assassination of a high ranking member of the Iranian government by Trump in Iraq. Too say this is going to lead to blow back is to put it mildly. Already the Iraqi parliament has voted to request all foreign troops leave the country.

Trump may be choosing to follow the standard play book of many US presidents, if in trouble at home, bomb somebody. However, the problem for Trump is that attacking almost any of the likely Trump targets comes with severe blowback and repercussions. And Iran has to be the worst of them all to target.

Firstly, the US and Iran were essentially allies in the war against ISIS (as well as America’s former allies the Kurds). The worse thing Iran could do is down tools and let it be known to ISIS (and the Kurdish militia in Turkey) that they have a free hand and suddenly all the work of the last few year is undone, bombs start going off and US servicemen start disappearing (yet he can’t attack the Iranians in retaliation as all the evidence will point to them not being involved). And that’s before Iran, or their allies (HAMAS, Hezbollah, etc.) start attacking US, western and Israeli interests around the world.

And the most likely target would be oil tankers passing through the straits of Hormuz. Indeed the mere threat of this is causing all sorts of problems for the global economy, both pushing up oil prices, while pulling down the value of oil companies, notably Saudi Aramco, which may not go down well with one of Trump’s key allies in the region.

Oh, but if they attack the US I’ll bomb them says Trump. Ya, that’s kind of the Iranian plan! The Iranians have acquired a number of advanced weapon systems recently from Russia, most notably the S-300 air defence system (known to NATO as the SA-12). The US has the military capability to overwhelm these defences, but now without taking losses. In other words, some US aircraft will be shot down, US pilots will end up in Iranian custody, provoking a damaging hostage crisis in an election year (assuming they don’t get lynched by an angry mob before the Iranians can arrest them, footage of which will of course appear on social media).

Worse still, given that much of this new hardware was acquired from the Russians relatively recently, its reasonable to assume that Russian military personnel and/or contractors will be on site. Its also well known that China and Iran are co-operating on a number of industrial projects, as well as some military cooperation. Meaning there will be some Chinese citizens (including potentially some military personnel) in Iran. If any of them get killed in a US bombing campaign (which will of course be an illegal act under international law), then events could escalate quite quickly. There’s a good chance of retaliation from them in some way.

This could be either economic measures (such as a mass sell off of US bonds), or military (as in an attack against a US ally, Estonia, Kuwait or Taiwan and basically giving the US an embarrassing bloody nose)…or they could just release a certain pee tape. Either way, it just shows how events could very quickly spiral out of control.

And where was the UK in all of this? Well nowhere, Trump didn’t even give the UK a heads up. The UK was left to meekly cheer from the sidelines, even thought its quite possible they might be the target of Iranian (or Russian) retaliation. In fact, UK warships are having to be rushed into action to protect UK oil tankers. As one newspaper puts it, the UK post-brexit has gone from being America’s poodle to being its lapdog. That’s taking control alright!

Paradise lost

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Meanwhile bush fires rage out of control in Australia, in no small part due to climate change. And one of the towns destroyed happened to be called Eden. Paradise has literally been lost to climate change. And least we forget, the current Australian government does contain more than a few climate sceptics, most notably the Australian PM himself, who once even once took a lump of coal into parliament to complain about “coal-phobia”.

Does this mean people have woken up to climate change? Ya and in other news a leopard has changed its spots. No, the Australian PM has refused to answer any such questions and the media instead has focused on dealing with the immediate problems caused by the fire, or the short term factors that led to them starting. I mean who could know that plants will burn when they get extremely dry. And who could’ve anticipated that Australians might have barbecues around Christmas time.

Like the soviet union after Chernobyl exploded, the climate change deniers will stick to the party line. Climate change can’t cause bush fires, you didn’t see burning kangaroos, take him away he’s delusional, its only 3.6 Roentgens (which is technobabble I know, but its become something of a meme now), not great, but not terrible.

For the same reasons, conservatives are utterly incapable of accepting the reality of climate change. Because much as Chernobyl exposed how rotten and dysfunctional the soviet system was, climate change would mean deniers having to accept the need for urgent action. Which given the atmosphere is a global commons, would mean international co-operation and government intervention….which means putting the coal companies who bankroll their campaigns out of business.

Of course, much as I warned in a post a few years ago, the downside to all of this is that the politicians themselves end up taking the blame. And quite rightly the Aussie PM has found himself being heckled as a result of these bushfires. And this should come as a warning to all right wing politicians. Ignore climate change and you’ll end up in a scenario where you will be completely out of your depth. The public will throw their support behind your most extreme opponents on either the left (Extinction rebellion types) or the extremists on the right (who will blame climate change on migrants, foreigners and poor people).

The assassination of Jess Philips by the coward Jeremy Corbyn

Speaking of ideologue’s who can’t handle the truth, much as I predicted, any opponents to the golden child, who’ll succeed Corbyn and lead labour to the socialist workers paradise, will be vilified and condemned, regardless of their suitability for high office, nor how left wing they are. Rebecca Long Bailey is the chosen one, endorsed by the supreme soviet Corbyn’s advisers (you know, the ones who’ve led labour to historic defeat after defeat).

And sure enough, Jess Philips announces she’s throwing her hat in the ring, mentions the possibility of maybe labour maybe campaigning to rejoin the EU at some point, post-brexit (the one thing Corbyn absolutely doesn’t want), and the labour/momentum blogs come alive with negative messages against her.

Too be clear, I’m kind of neutral on who should be the next labour leader. My guess is that either Scotland will be a separate country, or I’ll likely be back in Ireland, or somewhere else in the EU (taking advantage of the privileges being an EU citizen grants me!) by the time who is the leader of the labour party becomes a relevant issue. But yes, Jess Philips strikes me as one of a number of potential candidates who could reverse labour’s fortunes. And not because she’s anti-Corbyn (she’s actually fairly left wing in truth), but because she’s from a working class background, she is able to connect with working class people, she’s shown herself quite capable of taking on the Tories and (unlike Corbyn) she had a proper job before becoming a politician. But yes, there are others in labour who fit this bill as well (just nobody who Corbyn is backing!).

However, as the opposition to her should show, this is not what the Corbyn faction want. A sensible politician who will oppose the Tories and might actually win an election, hold a 2nd referendum and re-join the EU? Don’t be crazy! We want someone who is ideologically pure…and a secret brexiter (leading a party whose 90% remain supporting), who’ll make a tit of themselves for the next 5 years, provide no effective opposition to the Tories, lose the next election and become another martyr for nihilism, but who’ll still be celebrated by the Corbynites for “winng the argument” (ya like that will be a great comfort to all those screwed over by the Tories).

Changing trains

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I happened to be out on a post-Christmas walk, when I saw a train go past, clearly an ex-Virgin Pendolino, but without the Virgin logo on it. For those who don’t know, Virgin lost the contract to operate, after they were forced out by the Tories for political reasons.

Now too be clear, I’ve never been a fan of Virgin trains and had my fair share of bad experiences on their trains. However, I fail to see how changing the logo on the side of a train changes anything. This is the problem with the Tory privatisation policy, its a game of pass the parcel from whichever billionaire bribes them the most, or commits the latest act of politician patronage.

And the rail users be damned. In the same week another fare rise is announced, we hear that Deutsche Bahn is slashing fares by 10% to help fight climate change. Of course, the counter argument is that the reason why the Germans can do this is because they have spent many decades investing in their rail service to provide a better more efficient service. This is something the British simply haven’t done.

And yes privatisation certainly hasn’t helped, but its not like Corbyn’s plan to spend several billion buying out the railway companies, just so he could peel off those same Virgin train stickers and put a British Rail sticker in their place isn’t going to magically change everything. Only investing large amounts of money to offset decades of under investment will change things for the better.

Chaos reigns at Disney

Disney likes to claim their theme park is the “happiest place in the world”. Well it seems like the production of Rise of Skywalker certainly wasn’t a very happy experience for many on set (some of the actors are saying they don’t plan to come back for any future movies). And we’ve had more leaks coming out, as attempts are made to pass the buck for what went wrong with the new trilogy. In fact, somebody has run the numbers and concluded that overall Disney may have lost over $2 billion on the Lucasfilm purchase, once you add up all the costs and subtract from revenue.

The latest leak, which seems to come from someone close to director J.J Abrams, claims that the previous plot leaks came from Disney management, not a disgruntled staffer, as part of some effort to paint Abrams in a bad light (while the leaks are undoubtedly true, as they match the released cut of the film, I find it dubious that Disney would undermine their own box office just to make Abrams feel bad). It also claims that a 3 hr long directors cut exists, which was allegedly co-written with George Lucas himself (again, I’d take that one with a pinch of salt), which was dropped by Disney at the the last minute (just weeks before the new movie hit theatres).

To me the key point here to take away is, there was no plan for how the new trilogy should unfold, no management nor oversight, everybody was just winging it as they went along. By contrast other franchises (such as Marvel) will plan several movies ahead, years in advance, before they even start filming. Lucasfilm CEO Kathleen Kennedy was too busy being a Hollywood icon to bother even goggling her own job description, Disney CEO Bob Iger was to busy writing his own book (and apparently he wants to run for president!) to monitor what Kennedy was up too. Meanwhile J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson were in boat pulling oars in opposite directions, leaving them spinning in circles, while George Lucas looked on in horror.

I mentioned before, the the recent Cats movie might be a good case study of the dangers of groupthink. But the new star wars trilogy might well be textbook example of what happens when you design something by committee. Having people with overlapping responsibilities but nobody in overall control (and no forum for them to sort things out) is never a good idea. Rather than several people doing the same job, instead nobody does the job. In short, too many cooks spoil the broth.

Arise lord Poverty

The Tories assumed they won’t have it all their own way, prior to the last election. After all, it was reasonable to assume they’d catch some blowback from everything. Hence several veteran MP’s in vulnerable seats didn’t stand. Well, now Boris Johnson’s simply made them lords, giving them the ultimate in golden parachutes. Some have even been invited to join the cabinet.

Chief among them is Ian Duncan Smith, whose system of universal poverty credit has thrown many in the UK into dire poverty of the sort you’d normally associate with developing world countries. More than 247,000 people signing a petition objecting to the award for a man “responsible for some of the cruellest, most extreme welfare reforms this country has ever seen”.

And Johnson ally Nicky Morgan, has been made a life peer and asked to join the cabinet. Yes, they’ll be deciding who get medicines and food after brexit and not a vote cast in their name. But apparently we had to leave the EU because it was so undemocratic.

My solution, how about we the public get to vote on their new title, which they will be required to use at all times. So IDS could be come Lord Scrooge. Nick Morgan can become Lady Arse-licker, etc. Can you imagine the Queen’s next garden party “I announce the arrival of Lord and Lady Taxdoger, Sir steals-a-lot-from-disabled, Dame Priti Racist and Sir Jeremy Cunt

The Boris bridge

We’ve been warned that Boris Johnson can be prone to indulge in megalomaniac obsessions with big ticket vanity projects, which he tends to railroad through without proper oversight. There’s the infamous garden bridge, which fortunately never got built (but still cost the taxpayer £37 million). Or the £60 million cable car system that unfortunately did get built (and is hardly ever used). Or “Boris Island”, the planned new airport for London (which would be the wrong side of London, as everyone else in the country would have to travel through London to get too it, in an estuary with a large bird population and thus high risk of bird strikes and the small matter of a World War II munitions ship with a few thousand tons of unexploded bombs on board).

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However, as PM he now seems to be planning on the ultimate folly, a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland…presumably so that, once both are out of the UK and back in the EU, they can trade more easily with one another. I recall joking how the DUP would be looking for an extension to the giants causeway off Theresa May. Well it would seem they are actually going to get one off Boris. Reality is out-running satire in brexit Britain.

Naturally, this ridiculous idea has been widely criticised by many experts. It would cost at least $15 billion and face numerous technical challenges (as in there’s a massive hole  in the middle of the Irish sea…which the British have been chucking munitions, chemical weapons and nuclear waste into for decades!), quite apart from a big question mark about its economic feasibility.

For those not from this part of the world, there are a host of good, high speed ferry links between Ireland and the UK. And the most popular is the Wales to Dublin route, which is served by multiple ships (including both one of the world’s largest ferry’s and one of its fastest). If you are travelling from England to Ireland (north or south) its simply a lot easier, quicker and cheaper (plus it burns less fuel) to take this route across, rather than drive all the way up to Scotland, and then down the B roads to Stranraer and take the ferry across from there.

And this apparently is one of a number of ways that Westminster aims to get powersharing back up and running (still deadlocked over the Irish language). Basically it looks like they plan to simply start bribing politicians up North with promises of loads of dosh.

Now the problem with this is that Northern Ireland’s parliament is one of the most corrupt, dysfunctional and incompetent bodies in the whole of Europe. This is largely because Stormont is split on ideological lines. Its completely tribal. The primary goal of politicians on both sides is to grab as much money for their community as possible (which will of course be squandered) and rub the other sides face in any mess and try to score political points. And the end consequence is NI is an economic black hole, with a GDP much lower than either Ireland’s or the rest of the UK’s. The UK’s GDP per capita would actually go up if they could get shot of NI, while Ireland’s would go down significantly.

However, what perhaps what this does demonstrate is that Northern Ireland might well be the template for future Westminster governments, which too is becoming little more than a similar tribal body, focused on scoring ideological points, rather than actually fixing the mess the country is in.

Musk v’s astronomy

I’ve mentioned Musk’s Starlink system before. But one aspect of its operation, which does not seem to have been considered, is its impact on light pollution. It threatens to make astronomy, both the professional kind and the amateur, nearly impossible to do, given the large number of satellites with their large solar panels. Even the small numbers launched so far (a few hundred out of the 12,000 he wants to launch) are enough to cause problems.

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Musk has suggested, he’ll make the satellites less reflective, perhaps even paint them black or something. However astronomers have pointed out that that’s not how astronomy works. That density of objects in a low orbit is going to cause all sorts of problems, there’s really no way around that without changing one or other of those parameters (i.e. less satellites or move them to a higher orbit, neither of which Musk can do).

You may enquire well where is the US government on all of this. Asleep at the wheel of course! The FTC rushed through the application without any sort of proper checks, or even talking to astronomers first. Such is life under Trump. And while this libertarian approach might seem to benefit Musk, he might feel differently if people start boycotting his services (or stop buying his cars) until he de-orbits these satellites. Sometimes companies do want big government on their back.

Trump’s wall

Of course Trump’s number one priority was going to be his wall. How’s that going? Well to date under a 100 miles has been built out of the 2,000 needed! And most of that is fencing, covering areas which already had a fence. In fact the main component he’s added is some addition vehicle barriers (so they’ll mildly inconvenience someone looking to cross for a few minutes maybe). And all of this after the massive tizzy he pulled early last year shutting down the government for weeks just so he could get his precious wall. And recall that Mexico isn’t paying for it, he’s funding it by robbing money out of the pension fund for US veterans (how very Patriotic!)

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What Trump promised….

But at least once its there (and at this rate it will take over a decade to complete) its done, right? Well ya if we ignore how much it would cost to maintain and staff it…..so they can watch helplessly as migrants come in, with the wall making little real difference. Because far from being impenetrable, people have already managed to climb over it, or cut truck sized holes in it, and in some cases its actually being cut up and stolen by locals!

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….reality

Does this mean it will be abandoned? You’re joking right! Republicans don’t care if it works or not, nor how much money gets wasted. Its all about ID politics. Its a big totem symbol as to how racist America has become under Trump. Frankly they’d be just as happy if he blew tens of billions planting a line of burning crosses along the southern border. Facts do not matter to republicans anymore.

New year news roundup

The anarchy of the populists

I had a debate with someone over drinks during Christmas and they argued we shouldn’t worry about populists like Trump, Bolsonaro or Boris because they are quote “too retarded to be dangerous”. They can’t do anything spectacularly bad because they are just too dumb to figure out how to do that. And they will be easily outmanoeuvred by their opponents of the mandarins within their respective governments. The Trump impeachment fiasco being a case in point.

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I’d counter by pointing out that yes, this lot are as thick as a railway sleeper, but there’s plenty of people around them who are not and actively hope to exploit the chaos that follows. And as I mentioned in a prior post (with regard to the fall of the Roman republic), even stupid people can get the better of smarter people sometimes.

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And there are many pressing problems in the world that aren’t being adequately addressed. For example take climate change and the recent failure of UN climate talks. And this despite numerous red flags being raised by scientists, for example the fact that Greenland’s ice sheets are now melting seven times faster than in the 1990’s.

Okay, one has to acknowledge that recent advances means renewable energy and electric cars are now a thing. And yes many are investing in them for not just environmental reasons but good financial reasons too. So change is going to happen anyway. However, there’s still a need for nudges from government, as the pace of change just isn’t anywhere near fast enough. Not least because even small changes to an individual government’s policy can have dramatic changes to this fledgling industry (e.g. changes to UK government policy last year led to a 56% drop in investment).

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Even in Trump’s America, renewables are cheaper than coal and expected to fall below the price of NG eventually

This is why it was crucial that the latest UN talks addressed the so called article 6 rules for future carbon markets. So kicking the can down the road (as happened in Madrid, same as last time) is a major blow. In essence without a plan as to how you are going to cut emissions, then any sort of targets are kind of meaningless. I mean why don’t they just adopt Extinction Rebellion’s ludicrous target’s while they are at it, at least then they’d stop gluing themselves to trains and electric vehicles.

In short, the problem with populists is they’ve put the world into a holding pattern, with many global issues being left on the back burner. A situation which dictators as well as the greedy and corrupt are all too keen to exploit.

Labour in denial

Meanwhile we have another form of denialism at play within labour. They’ve formed a committee to try and figure out how it was they lost the recent election. In other news the US national parks service has launched a research project to determine if bears sh*t in the woods and the RSPB have commissioned a panel of experts to assess the water tightness of a duck’s colon.

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Back in the real world polls have been conducted of voters and the number one reason given for voting against labour was they didn’t like nor trust Corbyn and secondly they didn’t like his manifesto…you know the one based on Foot’s 1983 manifesto, aka the longest suicide note in history. Naturally this flies in the face of Corbyn supporters claims that their leader was popular, everyone liked the manifesto and (don’t laugh) they won the argument (presumably the argument was who was least qualified to be PM, him or Boris Johnson). No, the real reason they lost apparently was brexit.

Well firstly, how is that a surprise? this was a brexit election after all! Did it not occur to Corbyn that this might come up! And secondly those same polls say it wasn’t so much that Corbyn took a strongly remain or leave position that was the problem (he lost about 2-3% from both sides because they thought he supported leave/remain). It was the fence sitting that put off a large chunk of voters (about 15%). If he couldn’t make up his mind about something this important, how could they take seriously anything else in his manifesto. Ultimately the buck stops with Corbyn and his team of toxic advisers.

So to be realistic, such an investigation is a waste of time. After all labour may have lost but Corbyn and his cabal achieved all of their objectives. A big Tory win means brexit goes ahead (which he wants). By diverting resources away from northern seats towards seats in the south he prevented the lib dems picking up any seats, notably any of the ex-labour defectors (splitters!).

And besides the northern labour voters where never going to support Corbyn and his left wing manifesto, so why bother defending those seats. They want to throw their lot in with the Tories, fu*k’em. They’ll soon learn the hard way when their benefits and health care disappears. He and any future labour leader can thus focus all resources on southern or city based seats instead, where such policies do have greater support.

And of course Corbyn’s key goal is to ensure that the Chosen one, Rebecca Long-Bailey (aka Corbyn without a beard or Foot 3.0) wins the leadership electionsurrounded by the same toxic advisers who lost the last election and led labour to ruin. And what do the polls say? Well only 2% of the UK public think she’d make a good labour leader, with moderate Keir Starmer topping the polls.

Now one has acknowledge the effect of name recognition in such polls. Hence other candidates who’d make good leaders such as Jess Philips or Angela Rayner don’t currently fare too well. But this isn’t an excuse for the golden child given that she’s been following Corbyn around like a faithful hound for the last year or so as Corbyn groomed her for leadership. And she was prioritised in interviews during the election over other more experienced party members (even on issues related to their shadow ministry) to increase her media exposure. And despite all that she’s still only about to get 2% of the public to back her.

Keep in mind that to win the next election, labour need to achieve a swing equal to that of Tony Blair in the 1997 election. Which clearly isn’t going to happen if labour just repeat the same mistakes from this election, with basically the same people and the same policies. Which will only encourage the Tories to do their worse, as they’ll know there is no chance of labour defeating them, no matter how badly they screw up.

More billionaire’s join the Brexitous

And while Corbyn and his team are playing their games of thrones, the rest of us are left to deal with the consequences. NHS services are now on the verge of collapse (which is of course exactly what the Tories want, after all the NHS has to fail and become massively unpopular before they can privatise it). And it seems clear the Tory plan is to force through a hard brexit/no deal at the end of 2020. And the country is still unprepared for Brexit (go to the UK government’s own website and you’ll come away with more questions than answers, fu*ked if we know! seems to be the official government position).

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And predictably we have more stories of brexit supporting hedge fund managers scrambling to get EU citzenship and register their assets in the EU before the inevitable crash happens (while betting against the UK of course). Similarly many Tory party donors, peers and ex-MP’s are all signing up for EU citizenship. And the Tories are proposing a slush fund to make sure that their allies and supporters who can’t move their assets get bailed out. Its disaster capitalism and the hardest of hard bexit’s for the rest of us. With socialism, lavish government spending and all the perks of EU citizenship for the very people behind brexit in the first place.

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Of course the thing is that, Tories being Tories, they won’t see the hypocrisy here. While they won’t admit it, as they see it there’s one rule for them and the aristocracy (just look at prince Andrew) and another for the plebs. We have to know our place, pay taxes, obey the laws and deal with the consequences of brexit. But the elites don’t. I mean how else are they supposed to get to their private yacht in Monaco if they aren’t an EU citizen? You seriously think we’re going to spend an extra £350 million a week on the NHS! LoL!

Booze and dash…

Speaking of politicians who don’t face up the consequences of their actions, its been reported that Irish politicians and government officials have racked up 20,000 euros of unpaid bar bills in the last year and a half. Now when you consider how small the Irish government is (only about 160 or so TD’s), you’ll realise that’s some pretty heavy going (this is just the bills left unpaid, so they’ve probably been going through a lot more sauce)…or “lightweights” as the rest of the country would call them.

…or bribe and dash

And in another story about runaway’s, it turns out that the ex-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has done a runner and ended up in Lebanon, where he and his family have substantial investments. He was previously living in Japan under house arrest facing bribery and corruption charges.

Which leads one to wonder who had a hand in helping him skip town. His passport was being held by the authorities, so theoretically he’d have needed a false one, or the help of some government to get out of Japan and all the way to Lebanon without being detected. Inevitably suspicion must fall on the French, as they may have not wanted too much said about the inner workings of French politics in a court room.

And there may also be a brexit angle to all of this. While none of these charges specifically mentioned the UK (i.e. that he may have taken a backhander off the Tories to delay the announcement of Nissan moving production out of England after brexit), its quite possible this might have come up eventually in court. So who knows, maybe he got help from the Tories. Either way it shows there’s one set of rules for the rich and another for the rest of us.

Star wars: the fall of Disney

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So the Rise of Skywalker (aka the Star Wars Holiday Special as some are calling it) is out and it turns out that all the rumours that leaked out on the internet were true, the movie is kind of sh*t (with a Rotten tomatoes score of 54% and an IMDB rating of 7/10, the lowest ever for a star wars movie). It basically undoes every bit of established Star Wars canon going right back to the first three movies. I think the memes say it all.

Of course the very fact there were such leaks in the first place, notably of the disastrous test screenings (where people actually walked out before seeing the ending) was a serious warning sign. Many of those who work for Lucasfilm are fans themselves. And just like the disgruntled GoT fans, when they saw the abomination that was being created, they decided to start leaking details online.

But one little fact alone can probably explain a lot about what went wrong for Disney Star Wars. A notable absentee at the Rise of Skywalker premiere was one George Lucas, who hadn’t been invited. Apparently this was by mutual agreement (rather than a snub), as George didn’t feel comfortable saying nice things about a final movie cut he feels “betrayed by (rumours are there were 8 different endings filmed, including a George Lucas cut, which Disney passed on).

When Disney bought Lucasfilm and the Star Wars rights they also inherited a massive pile of source material, notably the novel and comic book series such as the Heir’s to the Empire series, or Yuuzhan Vong invasion saga. These followed the adventures of many of the main Star Wars characters after Return of the Jedi, as well as introducing a host of new characters, such as Admiral Thrawn or Mara Jade, as well as the offspring of the Solo’s and Skywalkers (who become the next generation of Jedi). Apparently Lucas himself had drawn on this source material (as well as material from the six existing movies, the clone wars and video game stories) to come up with an outline for how the next three movies should progress. And when Disney bought him out, these were included as part of the purchase.

However, Disney decided to pass on these plot outlines and much of this source material. Likely the reason why was that they’d have been movies for an older audience, while they wanted to make kid movies with a PG or U rating (ironically, quite a number of the Disney star wars movies have ended up been rated PG-13 in regions outside the US anyway!).

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Keep in mind Disney weren’t simply interested in bums on seats and selling movie tickets. What they paid Lucas $4 Billion for was the merchandising rights, the happy meal tie-ins, the toy lines, the product endorsements, the new rides in their theme parks. And as kids would be the main target, it stood to reason they needed kid friendly movies. Hence the order went out to essentially copy the original three movies (i.e. IV to VI in the series) as closely as possible. After all, very few of the target audience had probably even seen the first three movies.

And this of course is where the problems started, as the more mature fans (aka the Fandom Menace) quickly noticed this plagiarism and began pointing to the obvious contradictions in the the new plots. The consequences of this fan backlash wasn’t fully understood by Disney. They failed to appreciate that a large chunk of their revenue was dependant on these fans. They were the sorts who not only went to see the film once, but several times, they bought the toys (for themselves or their kids), they bought the DvD collections, etc. So they were in effect shooting themselves in the foot by killing off the golden goose.

Much of the fan criticism has focused on the movie producers, notably J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson. Certainly, they do deserve some criticism, most notably Johnson (director of the last Jedi), who seemed to take a perverse delight in winding up star wars fans. And while arguably Abrams had some vague idea of how he planned to end the three movies (maybe not a very good one, but at least he had a plan), these efforts were sabotaged by Johnson for purely selfish reasons. At the time he was in talks with Lucasfilm about directing an entire new trilogy of his own. So he reasoned that the best way of becoming the next George Lucas was to put his own mark on the franchise by basically crapping on everything.

That said, it was Lucasfilm CEO Kathleen Kennedy and Disney chairman Bob Iger who hired Johnson and Abrams. They gave them their instructions as to the direction the films should take. They signed off on the scripts and approved the final cut. So this is a mess of their making. The buck stops with them above all else. And with Disney’s share price now falling, they both might want to start updating their CV’s.

Because while yes the movies have been profitable, they haven’t been nearly profitable enough to justify the initial $4 billion investment (plus in addition to production costs, there’s marketing, distribution and financing costs to consider, which are often equal to or greater than the initial production costs). Consider that outside of the US, box offices have been dismal. And the toy’s have not been selling well either. And while Disney plus took a healthy uptake thanks to the Mandalorian series, as its now over, people are cancelling their subscriptions in droves.

All in all, it will not be lost on Disney that for every dollar they’ve ploughed into star wars they could have made far more money investing in other projects instead. Going against George Lucas advice and pissing off fans was a very bad idea.

A stinking cat litter tray of groupthink

One consolation for Disney executives has to be that okay, at least we didn’t spend the money on some coughed up furball like Cats the movie. The most entertaining thing about this movie has been reading the truly awful reviews its getting, both from critics and movie fans. Some of the memes have been pretty good too:

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For the sake of comparison, Cats has a rotten tomatoes rating of 20% and is now rated at 2.5 in the IMDB movie ratings, putting in the bottom 40 movies ever made, alongside Battlefield Earth, Manos the Hand of Fate and Santa Claus conquerors the Martians (all candidates for worse movie ever made and all made on a smaller budget).

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Oh and this is what a cat actually looks like

You do have to wonder what was going through the movie producers heads as they proceeded with this steaming pile of catnip. And the minds of many A list actors who appear in the film as well (I’m presuming their agents will be joining the exec’s behind star wars in the New year job hunt!). I mean being associated with this fiasco and having images of them dressed up like a cat is exactly what their career needs! Its not like there’s anyone mean on the internet who’ll keep bringing this up every time they post to social media or anything! It short its an excellent example of the dangers of group think.

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Never underestimate the stupidity of large groups of people working together….

Knives out: the fight for the new Corbyn…..without a beard

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Well it would appear Corbyn and his supporters response to losing the election has been pretty much as expected. They made the predictable excuses, wasn’t his fault, nor anything wrong with the manifesto and we won the argument…yet still lost the election by a historic margin (would hate to see what would happen if they did lose the argument!). Of course all of this flies in the face of actual data, be it from exit polling, focus groups and numerous conversations on door steps. All of which points to the truth – people didn’t like him, his fence sitting on brexit pissed off both sides and nobody believed his manifesto promises could be delivered. Yes, Corbyn was considered to be less trustworthy than a pathological liar like Boris Johnson.

And the labour decision to spend most of the campaign attacking other left wing/remain parties merely split the vote in several critical seats. Go through the seats individually and you’ll see several where had there been better tactical voting (or where labour or the lib dems hadn’t stood against one another) and the Tories would have lost, cutting the Tory majority down significantly.

More worryingly, while many junior staff at labour HQ are getting their marching orders, his cabal of toxic advisers aren’t going anywhere, even after Corbyn leaves. Think about that for a minute, his advisers and campaign organisers, who’ve lost multiple elections in a row by historic margins aren’t going to lose their jobs, yet the junior staff, who were merely doing what they were told, are out. And Corbyn laughably claims to represent the many against the few. If this was any other party, or a corporation, they’d have bee out on their ear before dawn on election day. So it seems like the sausage machine that’s torn up labour’s electoral chances is going to remain firmly screwed in place and thus sabotage the next labour leadership.

So now the election Corbyn actually cares about winning has started, the fight for the next labour leader (remember he didn’t want to be PM, he wants brexit to go ahead, his goal is to move the party and the UK further to the left, he doesn’t care how damaging brexit or the Tories are, not his problem). And clearly Corbyn and his team’s goal is to install Corbyn without a Beard (CwaB, or Michael Foot 3.0 as I’ll call them). And within hours of the defeat Len McCluskey, Jon Lansman and Karen Murphy had all endorsed Rebecca Long-Bailey as the next labour leader. No offence to her, but anyone this lot recommend as labour leader, is exactly the person who shouldn’t be leader. They are only doing that because they reckon she can be manipulated and controlled, much like Corbyn was. Which means she’ll make all the mistakes he did and ultimately lose the next election.

And no sooner was the election over, the knives came out. Indeed one is forced to the conclusion that all serious planning for the actual general election stopped weeks ago as Corbyn and his advisers switched to planning for the leadership election. The day after the election Caroline Flint was dispatched on a suicide mission to take out Emily Thornberry. Now in my view Thornberry won’t be the right choice for labour leader right now. Yes she’d make a better leader than Corbyn (or anyone else his team could recommend), but I stand by my analysis that the party needs someone from a more working class background. But either way, clearly this was an attempt to take down a potential threat to Foot 3.0.

And another rival, Angela Rayner (whom the Tories have privately admitted is the one they fear the most), has been convinced not to stand, being promised the job of deputy leader instead. Expect further attacks and character assassinations on Jess Philips and Keir Starmer in the next few days. In short this election is going to be a complete stitch up and about as democratic as an election in the DPRK.

Granted its possible I’ve got Long-Bailey all wrong. She might be playing a Putin,  pretending to be a meek and naïve padawan to Corbyn. But once she’s elected she plans to turn on him and his cabal, sacking or side-lining them all (this is pretty much what Putin did, he pretended to be a lackey of the oligarchs, then turned on his puppet masters once he’d taken over from Yelstin). But either way, I’d still not vote for her. Its too big a risk.

And should anyone be hoping the Johnson was going to turn on the ERG and push for a softer brexit, think again. Basically, its going to be the hardest of hard brexit’s, effectively a no deal in December 2020 (so enjoy Christmas while you still can!). In fact, its entirely possible that it may not matter to me personally who is the next labour leader, as Scotland might not be part of the UK anymore by the time of the next election.

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I would also draw attention to an article by Vince Cable, the former lib dem leader, who argued that the left wing parties need to start working more closely together. Yes ideally we need proportional representation, but that ain’t going to happen any time soon. However, I’d go one further and advice lib dems, greens and moderate Tories to consider joining the labour party. Beat Corbyn and his allies at their own game. There’s more than the numbers there to outvote Corbyn and his momentum allies if enough join labour.

And too be clear the goal is not to turn labour into new labour or the lib dems. Its to put in place competent leadership who’ll provide effective opposition to the Tories and hold over them the threat of a labour government, which might serve to moderate the Tories more extreme policies (or potentially pick up defectors).

Michael Foot 2.0: Corbyn’s political obituary

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Given the likely election results I thought it would be a good idea to jump the gun and maintain my tradition of publishing politician’s political obituary’s in advance.

And his supporters no doubt will make the usual excuses. The media is bias against him! And while yes this is true , but the media have always been biased against a labour leader! Back 1997 I recall they even tried to portray Tony Blair as some sort of left wing loon (mostly by reminding everybody that Corbyn etal were also members of the labour party!) who would “destroy the union”. Its all the fault of the Blairites, lib dems or Greens for not getting behind the judean people’s front Corbyn! They offered him a deal not to stand in key seats (if he did the same) which he said no to. And labour spent most of the campaign fighting against other left wing parties, while Boris was left to hide in a fridge. The anti-antisemitism issue was blown out of all proportions! Probably yes, but again what would you expect. Its not that there weren’t genuine problems that Corbyn failed to tackle.

To understand Corbyn and where it all went wrong, we have to go right back to the beginning of his career as an MP. It was 1983 (a time of yuppies, the Long good Friday, Blue Monday and Mullets) and the labour party was in turmoil. With an election looming party leader Micheal Foot‘s authority had collapsed, as the party was at war with itself, largely due to his poor leadership.

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Michael Foot (centre), the hard left leader of the labour party back at the start of Corbyn’s career

Aware that he would almost certainly lose the upcoming election to the Tories, Foot decided to play the long game. He might never become PM, but if he could move labour further to the left, then eventually some hard left leader would become PM. Corbyn was one of a number of Michael’s footsoldiers (if you’ll pardon the pun) drafted in to tilt labour towards the hard left. He was assigned the task of contesting the Islington North constituency, where the previous labour MP had defected to the SDP/Liberals.

It was to be a baptism of fire, for Michael Foot’s labour manifesto for the 1983, which was clearly never intended to serve as a serious plan for a future government (as again he surely knew he was going to lose), is forever known as “the longest suicide note in history”. It was a disaster, gifting Margaret Thatcher an increased majority and setting labour up to lose three elections in a row. For Corbyn it was the equivalent of been a green infantryman whose first battle was to be the first wave ashore on Omaha beach on D-Day. In fact even that’s not accurate (as the Americans won that battle), perhaps the disastrous raid on Dieppe is a better analogy. But needless to say, Corbyn was one of the very few of Foot’s red brigade to make it thought that election.

And worse was to come, for the new leader Neil Kinnock, took the loss as a sign that the public just didn’t want these sort of hard left policies. This led to Corbyn being increasingly marginalised. Seen as a hard left and rebellious back bencher. He practically become a by-word for an inability to compromise (fun fact, he quit university after arguing with the professors about the content of the course). And naturally this only got worse as the labour party drifted further towards the right, eventually becoming (as one Tory once put it too me) “the best conservative government ever” under Tony Blair.

Corbyn was well known within the party for all of the wrong reasons. He would often be the butt of other MP’s or journalists jokes (no doubt as he passed through the Westminster lobbies he’d occasionally hear his name spoken in vain followed by outbursts of laughter). He had a regular column in the Morning star ( a socialist newspaper) and it was not unusual for the right wing media to interview him, purely to try and paint labour as full of dangerous pro-USSR radicals. So he ended up hanging out with a cabal of hard left labour MP’s, or others in the party who had been marginalised and frozen out for one reason or another.

Its often said the problem with Corbyn is that he’s not changed his views on anything since the 70’s. Well that’s because he never had too. His fellow MP’s were running shadow ministries (or later actual ministries) or planning strategies for elections. They’d been involved with focus groups, exposing them to the views of others beyond a bubble of like minded party members. They had to learn the value of compromise and how to build alliances. But Corbyn was largely excluded from this. And one of the unfortunate consequences of the UK’s FPtP electoral system is its ability to create safe seats that almost never change hands. Corbyn’s seat last went to the Tories back in the 1930’s. Hence he was under no pressure to change his mind about anything and never did.

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Corbyn, famous for his lack of dress sense

So how did a bitter, resentful old man (who despite 30 years in politics had not yet learned the meaning of the word “compromise”) end up in charge of the labour party? Well it was kind of a huge accident of circumstances. The then labour leader (Miliband) was under pressure from the tabloids about the influence of the unions over the labour party. But rather than accept that they were just taking cheap shots because they could (if Miliband had run into a burning building and rescued a baby the tabloids would accuse him of being anti-fire and taking jobs away from hard working firemen), he resolved to change how labour was run (the irony was he made union control of labour even more of a problem).

This made it insanely easy to join labour and large numbers of people did and were thus able to participate in the election of his replacement (including some Tories determined to sabotage labour by voting for Corbyn). As noted, labour had slid way too far to the right over the decades and perhaps quite rightly many labour members felt the need to change this. They knew Corbyn was about as left wing as they come so they voted for him.

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However, as many were young and new to the party, they did not know much about Corbyn and his history. Few had ever heard of Michael Foot nor the disastrous campaign of 1983 (as many had been born after this). So they did not fully understand what it was they were voting for. It was the equivalent of a company randomly selecting a ageing janitor, working in the basement, and making him CFO for the firm without even bothering to ask him if he wanted the job, or if he knew what a CFO was supposed to do.

Of course while Corbyn fitted the bill as far as ideology for his supporters, being the leader of a major political party requires more than that. It requires leadership skills, management experience, the ability to listen to others, delegate tasks, to know how to build alliances and knowing the meaning of that one word not in Corbyn’s vocabulary “compromise”. Corbyn lacked any of these skills. And he was reluctant to delegate to other MP’s. After all they were the same ones who spent all those years laughing at him.

Inevitably his reaction to hearing stuff he didn’t like was to either ignore it or sack the person in question. This is how the anti-Semitism scandal got started. This left him more and more dependant on his cabal of toxic advisers, notably Len McCluskey (an euro/climate sceptic, anti-immigrant shill for the brexit party), who increasingly controlled Corbyn to the point where he could barely tie his shoelaces without first asking permission. He became LINO (leader in name only).

And crucially there was the matter of what strategy to deploy for future elections. Corbyn rummaged in his pocket and pulled out a copy of the 1983 manifesto (the infamous suicide note) that’d he’d been handed years earlier. After all he didn’t really want to be PM, but he could still succeed where Michael Foot had failed. By moving labour further to the left, he’d eventually move the UK more to the left. This is the problem with Corbyn. He’s basically Foot 2.0.

While he managed to dodge the bullet in 2017, that was more because Theresa “weak and wobbly” May turned out to be crap at campaigning. She squandered a 20 point lead and ended up losing seats. But inevitably, once the Tories corrected these mistakes they were on to a winner, with Corbyn being their key trump card. The gift that kept on giving. I mean how could they lose against an opponent who was stuck in the 80’s and doesn’t actually want to win an election. And while brexit should have been the Tories Achilles heel, it instead proved to be Corbyn’s. For he never was able to resolve the fact that he (and his toxic advisers) wanted the UK to leave, but his party overwhelmingly supported remain. Thus while he sat on the fence, the Tories were able to present a united front on this issue (perverted and dishonest as it was).

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Corbyn was never able to resolve the fact that represented a tiny minority view on Brexit within his own party

When you fail to learn the lessons of history, you are doomed to repeat them. Corbyn presents the left with a cautionary tale of the dangers of picking a leader purely on the basis of ideology (an important point as regards the upcoming US elections, particularly for the Bernie or bust brigade). Yes you might agree with him on many things, but does the rest of the country? As the graph below shows, yes a big chuck of the UK are on the hard left, but they command nowhere near a majority. And they are too far away from the other factions to ever get a majority of voters to back them.

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The UK’s political tribes, according to Election Calculus, more details here

To win an election, you need someone with leadership skills and broader appeal, who can engage with those with very different views to their own and build a big tent. A divisive leader, treated as a cult like figure by supporters (and thus anyone who criticises the leader is accused of being a secret Tory) can’t win an election. Not now, not ever. Yes right wingers can do that, but they do so by basically cheating in a way the left cannot (given that they control the media and the corporations, plus their voters are basically sheep who’ll do as they are told).

So another Corbyn is likely to lose the next election. Yes if brexit goes particularly badly, then the Tories might be forced out. But even so the Corbyn 2.0 pitch (or perhaps it should be Foot 3.0) to the public will be, brexit is literally killing you, we could of done something to stop it but we didn’t (cos we want it too happen because we’re disaster socialists), so instead we’re going to hold you hostage and force you to vote for a whole bunch of other stuff for purely ideological reasons…oh and FYI I’m actually a brexiter so that’s the one thing I’m not going to change.

And the Tories aren’t suddenly going to decide to fight fair. They are talking of new voter ID laws (which will disproportionately effect the poor and ethnic minorities) and boundary changes which will allow them to gerrymander away many labour safe seats (including Corbyn’s own constituency). And if Scotland leaves of course (and/or Wales), that’s a big chuck of left wing votes lost.

So who should replace Corbyn? Well definitely not a Blairite (yes they might win an election, but would they actually change anything), not that there’s many of them left in the labour party now any-ways. So I’d select a candidate based on their electability rather than their ideology. You need someone with good leadership skills, preferably someone from a working class background, state school educated, whose actually had a proper job at some point in their life. Labour needs someone like this if they are to engage with their core voters and build alliances with the various tribes in the figure above. And there are several who fit the bill, such as Angela Rayner, Jess Philips and Chris Stammer, to name a few.

I’d further argue for someone who is female and/or a military veteran. Labour voters are increasingly more female than male and its also a lot harder for the right wing media to attack a woman (in they way they attacked Corbyn) without appearing sexist (or attack a military veteran without being exposed as the secret Russian shills they truly are). Not essential, but definitely a bonus.

But I worry that Corbyn and his cabal will rig the leadership election to try and pick someone who fits the ideological bill but has no real redeeming features beyond that. Yes Foot 3.0 will be wildly popular within the labour bubble….until they lose the 2025 election of course!

And the same extends to the upcoming US democratic primary’s. If the democrats select their candidate on the basis of ideological purity, rather than suitability for office or electability, Trump’s going to get a 2nd term, simple as that. And don’t expect him to go quietly in 2025 neither! The focus should be on coming up with a winning ticket that the party can unite around.

As for policies, rather than a wish list of hard left policies that in truth they’ll never get a chance to implement (not while most state legislators are massively tilted towards the right), I’d instead focus on something with broader appeal. Reforming America’s broken democratic system (e.g. proportional representation, depoliticising the supreme court, separating out the jobs of head of state and head of government) and correcting the economic inequalities (i.e. maybe actually giving a sh*t about those in ex-industrial areas who’ve been left behind) that led to Trump in the first place.

Update:

And 2 days after losing, has Corbyn resigned? well no obviously not! His supporters have circled the wagons. After all how can you be the cult of the one true Corbyn without a Corbyn? Its clear there will be some sort of stitch-up of another Corbyn clone (Foot 3.0), likely someone also under the control of the same cabal of toxic advisers.

Quod Erat Demonstrandum

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In my last post I discussed how the left’s tactics in this election are counter productive, those of labour in particular. Labour has become an echo chamber of self delusion. I even had some labour supporter try to argue against me voting SNP, even thought I’m in a marginal seat and its a tight race between the Tories and SNP (the labour candidate is nowhere, so I’d be helping the Tories get elected if I vote for anybody but the SNP). But labour seem more committed to winning some sort of ideological battle with the rest of the left than actually beating the Tories (keep in mind the other parties offered Corbyn a pre-election pact but he refused). And I’ve spotted one or two things over the last week that kind of prove my point.

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For example we have an extinction rebellion protester (recall XR are closely linked to momentum, Corbyn’s crack suicide squad) gluing himself to the lib dem battle bus (which incidentally is electric powered). Think about that for a minute, he could have glued himself to the Tory bus, the brexit party bus, Downing street gates, a coal fired power station, whatever. But no he picks on the lid dems and an eco-friendly bus. Because if you read labour blogs or twitter feed they you’ll likely believe that brexit, climate change denial and selling the NHS to US corporations are all the lib dems idea. Such is the delusion rampant within labour. And of course this is just leading to push back from other left wing parties. Meaning that even if labour wins the election its going to be nearly impossible for labour to get any of their policies implemented.

Aware that he’s alienated the remain vote, Corbyn proposes to instead appeal to leave voters. Well this video, of a focus group discussion among a group of leave voters, shows how that is a non-starter. All of them say they are going to back Boris because he’s promised to “get brexit done”, or they like his style, £350 million more to the NHS, he promised me a Unicorn, etc. Yes, they are deluded or being conned, but either way, clearly Corbyn is wasting his time canvassing them. Which should hardly come as a surprise to anybody…except for Corbyn and his cabal of toxic advisers of course!

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Then we have this video about how British Asians, who have traditionally voted labour, but many are now intending to vote Tory in this election. Now again, you do have to scratch your head on this one, they are voting for a party that is institutionally racist and a PM who has a record of racist slurs. And we also have to consider some of the skullduggery going on. (the Tories are up to their old tricks again). But it highlights how people just aren’t turned on by Corbyn’s manifesto. And this should hardly come as a surprise. This is the fifth election in a row where he’s tried to sell these same ideas and every time he’s lost.

Too be clear I’m not saying I disagree with the basic idea that we should pay more in tax (particularly the wealthy) and get better public services. But the devil is in the detail and clearly the majority of people do not agree with the version of this Corbyn is trying to sell. If they were, labour would be well ahead in the polls. Yet rather than changing tactics, at every turn Corbyn’s policy has been to double down.

This election won’t be won by the Tories more lost by labour. Largely because Corbyn and his merry band of nihilistic martyrs spent their time fighting the other left wing parties, rather allying with them to confront the Tories.

As for the consequences of labour’s impending defeat, we have this video showing British people’s reaction upon being told how expensive medical treatment is in the US. And no private health insurance doesn’t cover all expenses. There are out of pocket expenses for medicines and other services which don’t get covered and people have to pay for these themselves, often at the cost of hundreds or even tens of thousands of dollars at a time. And that’s for those who have health insurance. For those who don’t, well if you are lucky you might be able to afford a doctor, but you’ll probably be bankrupted in the process. And if you are not able to afford it you just die, simple as that.

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And excessive medical bills and a lack of a decent welfare system is one of the reasons why in parts of the US poverty is endemic, effecting tens of millions of people. There are whole counties or neighbourhoods in US cities where you will see poverty more akin to what you’d find in a developing world country or something you’d see in a war zone. And this documentary from German TV does a good job of portraying this reality and how easy it is too fall into this poverty trap through some personal tragedy, illness unemployment or marital breakdown.

And yes, quite a few of those stuck in this poverty trap are Trump supporters, even thought poverty is getting worse under Trump (and he wants to cut what little welfare spending there is). It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic.

But American style poverty & health care is effectively is what you’ll be voting for if you vote for the Tories this election. Next week the Turkey’s will literally vote for Christmas.

The Turkey’s prepare to vote for Christmas

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So Corbyn played his trump card, that he had proof that the Tories are planning to privatise the NHS. Now I have to say (and I’m hardly known as a fan of Corbyn) that I’ve heard first and second hand accounts from at least two independent sources (one of whom works for the government and another in finance) who can back up his story. So no this is not coming from the Russians (clearly that’s just Cummings and the right wing media in damage control mode).

Even small details in Corbyn’s claims, such as their being 6 separate meetings between the US and UK trade delegations, is what I was told several months ago. I’ve not made a big deal out of it, simply because I assumed it was common knowledge. Then again, I don’t read any right wing newspapers so maybe I’m being a little naive.

But either way, yes if you vote Tory, you are probably voting to end the NHS, the rolling back of consumer safety, workers rights and environmental protection. That is pretty much a given. And before anyone says I’m alright jack I can afford to go private. Go ask an American sometime how much it costs them to get health insurance. And then there’s the out of pocket medical expenses the HMO’s don’t always cover. You can be spending a thousand dollars on an ambulance, several hundred for medicines, etc. Not only do Americans spend twice the amount on their privatised healthcare system, but the US government spends more subsidising a private system (per capita) than the UK spends on the NHS. So its going to cost the UK money not save it.

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Yet despite it all, the Tories are still way ahead in the polls even thought they’ve had an awful campaign so far, where the PM has to be kept away from people, Mogg told to hide in his country estate and even Trump has been told to please keep his trap shut (least he blurt out something incriminating). But they are still likely too win, largely because the other parties haven’t worked out the Tory strategy and aren’t doing anything to counter it.

The Tories under Boris have completed their transformation into the UK Republican party. And the republican party mantra is, if you ain’t one of the 1% you can fu*k off. They can get away with this because they know that there’s enough people who will support them for a variety of reasons ranging from ideology, bigotry, racism, greed, stupidity and straight out sadism. For republicanism is at its heart sadopopulism. Tory/GOP supporters are quite okay with policies that make them worse off (or actually endanger their lives), so long as some other perceived enemy is also (or more severely) effected. I have it bad but at least them liberals/migrants/poor people have it worse.

And while you’d never get a majority to support that, such is the undemocratic nature of elections in the US and the UK its possible to get a majority control in government with only 30% of the votes. The brexit vote was carried by just 37% of voters (and many leave voters will be dead before brexit happens). Trump got 3 million less votes than Hilary and won with the support of just 25% of the electorate.

In short, the Tories are not a political party anymore but a tribe. Hence why many of the tactics the opposition are employing simply won’t work. Corbyn for example recently said that, given how he can’t get remainers to support him (cos he’s straight up lied to them dozens of times in a row), he was going to appeal to leave voters for the rest of the campaign LOL. Nothing he says will convince them to vote labour. Boris is the brexiters tribal chief, endorsed by the high priests of brexit (Farage, Mogg & Rothermere) and protected by the black magic of the tribe’s witch doctor (Cummings). Logic and facts have no meaning for Tory voters.

And since we are talking about it, no Trump is not going to be impeached. Do you really think republicans are that stupid they don’t know he’s committed a long list of numerous crimes, practically on a daily basis? They know it all too well, they just don’t care. He’s their tribal chief, until he’s deposed they’ll back him to the hilt (of course once they realise his goose is cooked then they’ll betray him, you can’t backstab someone without first getting behind them).

The only way of seeing him in a prison cell is for the democrats to win the 2020 election by whatever means necessary. Which means putting forward a candidate who has the best chance of beating him and uniting the left wing vote behind that candidate, regardless of which wing of the party they represent (no more of this Bernie or bust BS and someone needs to tell Bloomberg to pi*s off). Then they prevent another Trump from ever happening again by change the voting system to Proportional Representation, split up the job of president into head of state and head of government (as is the norm in most countries) and de-politicise the US judicial system (so nobody will ever be able to overturn Roe v’s Wade).

The same is true in the UK. The left and centre need to unite to stop the Tories. In any seat where the Tories have any chance of winning, there should only be one other candidate standing. Between now and election day is it that difficult for the candidates to get together and agree to all withdraw bar one, whom the rest endorse (with the understanding that said candidate will support a 2nd referendum and switching the UK’s voting system to PR). And incidentally, in quite a lot of seats in English cities the lib dems are often the 2nd placed party. In return many labour marginals could be moved into the safe seat category. This would turn the tables on the Tories.

Also it needs to be acknowledged that a big turn off for many voters is Corbyn. Put it this way, any election literature I’ve seen from labour this election (from the local candidate), doesn’t even mention Corbyn once. That’s how toxic he’s considered by even those within his own party. Rumours have it he was planning to quit in the spring anyway, so why not just make it official. He comes out and says that he’ll stay on in a caretaker capacity until brexit is sorted (one way or the other), then resign and let a new labour leader take over as PM. Furthermore, the initial focus of a labour government will be on resolving brexit and ending austerity. The more hard left policies such as re-nationalisation would be issues for the next PM to implement (or possibly a future government after another election).

This would essentially be a statement of fact. A labour government is not going to have time (or the money) for anything other than brexit and basically cleaning up the Tories mess, at least for the first year or two. Backbenchers and coalition partners will insist on these issues being prioritised. Admitting this reality would probably be enough of a compromise to persuade wavering remain voters (who will otherwise vote Tory to stop Corbyn) to back the coalition.

And similarly the lib dems need to drop their policy of revoking article 50 if they win. While yes it does make sense if you understand what’s going on (or how a 2nd referendum would actually pan out), but to anyone who isn’t a political expert it sounds arrogant and elitist. And its not like they are going to win a majority anyway. The SNP too should drop all talk of independence until after brexit. They haven’t much chance of winning a referendum until the damage of brexit/Boris has been demonstrated, so why talk up an issue now that will just cost you votes.

Of course, its highly unlikely any of this will happen. After all we are only having an election because the opposition were too pig headed to come together, oust Boris and his cabinet of ghouls and hold a 2nd referendum (then an election). If you’ve been on any labour/momentum social media recently they spent half their time moaning about the lib dems. You’d swear brexit and austernity was their idea. And the lib dems end up reciprocating.

And in fairness to the lib dems you only have to listen to the latest out of Len McCluskey’s dumb pie hole, in which he suggests that Corbyn should ignore what was said at conference and back leave. This has been the problem, you can’t trust anything Corbyn says because he can’t tie his shoe laces without first consulting with his cabal of toxic advisers.

Hence with a disunited left, its very likely the Tories will still win anyway. Doesn’t matter how badly they screw up, what pesky facts the opposition come up with, nor how out of touch or down right nasty the Tories sound. They will win because they don’t need a majority of voters to back them, just their tribe (who don’t care about the facts), a biased media (even the BBC have become so pro-Boris as to inspire meme’s) and an unfair voting system.

The Tory tribe don’t care how evil or corrupt their chief is, so long as he “shares the cake” and they get a crumb or two, they’ll still support him. Granted they might feel a little differently when they lose access to healthcare (as many older Tory voters are ultimately voting to die in a pool of their own piss on a dirty hospital floor), but it will be too late then. The Turkey’s are literally voting for Christmas.

UK election update and how populism has broken British politics

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Its long been true that a politicians promise lasts as long as a snow ball in hell and is about as reliable as the Scottish national football team. But this latest election in the UK really does take the biscuit. All the parties, but the Tories in particular, are proposing policies that are unworkable and divorced from reality. And as they also contradict everything the respective leaderships have done over the last few years, it is extremely unlikely they would actually keep these promises (if you think the Tories are going to invest money in the NHS, or you think Corbyn’s going to allow a 2nd referendum, I’ve got some magic beans I can sell you).

Inevitably this is the impact of populism on UK politics. Because the problem with populism and such tabloid friendly policies is that they violate what I would call the iron law of politics – all policies have to conform with the realities of the real world if they are too be successful. You can’t break the laws of physics, nor can you ignore reality. If a policy is not properly costed or it would have massive repercussions for a large number of people, or it is just plain unworkable, it ain’t going to happen. Any government who tries to implement such a policy can expect it to fail (as backbenchers rebel or you get sued and tied up in court or civil servants kill it off). Or worse they suffer a massive backlash against it after its implemented (which is basically what’s going to happen to the Tories and Corbyn after brexit happens).

Late us take a few examples. For starters the Tories brexit policy, where by they want a “clean breakbrexit and to restrict immigration. That would put in jeopardy many UK businesses and a large number of jobs. The likely response from businesses is that they’ll try and circumvent this legislation (e.g. find a way to exploit the NI loophole to move goods in and out of the EU/UK) or they just hire a bunch of lawyers to fill out all the paperwork for them. Its the same way the corporations have been circumventing Trump’s tariffs (they send Soya beans to Brazil, or electronic goods from China to Taiwan, take it out of one box, put in another one and then send it off tariff free).

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Of course, while big corporations can afford to insulate themselves and limit the damage of brexit, smaller businesses or individuals (who can’t afford to hire a lawyer to fill out the 86 pages of forms needed to claim residency) are going to be exposed to the very worst of its full effects. But there some elements of brexit big business can’t avoid. Any sort of queue at the borders for example immediately imposes a cost to them. Even if its only for a few hours, that basically means a truck driver cannot get his delivery into/out of the UK without going over his hours (so he’ll need to stop and rest or you’ll need two drivers, essentially doubling your costs).

Which is why the likely response is going to be for corporations to start suing the government, knowing full well the government doesn’t want to get into a messy legal scrap, which could involve sensitive documents being subpoenaed and ministers being called to testify in court (raising the risk that they perjure themselves while under oath). Pretty much every time the Tories have been faced with this threat so far over brexit they’ve either settled out of court or lost the case.

So corporations know that they can safely sue the government and either wriggle some sort of concession out of them or win compensation (noting that neither compels them to stay in the UK long term). Of course, as this means the EU (or the US, China and India) knows that they will have the UK over a barrel in trade talks, they will make few concessions because they don’t have too (as the UK will be compelled to do that for them).

That said, labour’s manifesto also repeatedly breaks this iron law of politics. Lets take for example their plan to abolish private schools. I mean I’d be curious as to what drugs they were doing when they dreamt up this one up. How’s that going to pan out in the real world? Well the previously private school will become a state funded school (which receives a donation of a few million a year from several anonymous offshore funds to top up its budget). The rich will just buy up all the property in its catchment area (then put the kids and a Nanny in those houses), so the only people who get to go to those schools will be rich kids. The only difference is that now, thanks to labour, taxpapers will be helping to subsidise the education of Ress-Mogg’s kids. Does that really strike anybody as a good idea?

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And what about nationalising the water, power and rail companies. I mean yes the services they provide are terrible and overpriced, privatisation has been a failure, but that doesn’t mean you get to fill in the blanks with whatever fantasy most appeals to you. The devil is in the detail, and without such details re-nationalisation either won’t happen or it won’t change anything.

Assuming they can get such a bill through parliament, the first hurdle is that they will get sued by the shareholders of these companies. At the very least this ties labour up in court for several years, meaning that by the time the policy can be implemented the Tories might be back in (and just drop the case or reverse everything). The only way they can get around this problem is by paying out massive amounts of compensation. Money they simply won’t have.

And what would they be buying? The train operating companies or the UK utility firms are often just the front face that handles billing for your utilities or sells you a train ticket. The actual trains are mostly owned by a separate layer of firms, as will be some of the power stations and large parts of the gas and electricity grid. So you’d have to buy out these firms as well (which is easier said than done as they tend to own quite valuable assets). The UK track network is already owned by a state owned quango (so they are already in a defacto state of national ownership).

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The cost of labour’s re-nationalisation plans according to the centre for policy studies See their website for further info

The trouble is having spent tens of billions (or possibly hundreds of billions) getting control over these assets, labour will have no money left to actually make any improvements. The reason why the UK has a railway network the Italians would be ashamed off is a long standing lack of investment into what is essentially a collection of Victorian era infrastructure (with a similar situation as regards water and power networks).

And while it has gotten a lot worse under privatisation (as they have a captive market and no real incentive to invest), its not like British rail was vastly better (they put some money in yes, but clearly not enough). I mean consider that steam engines were running on British railways up until 1968. So at the same time the Japanese are introducing their bullet trains, and France was working on the TGV, the British were being hauled around by Thomas the tank engine.

Unless the government is prepared to pour many tens of billions of pounds (per year) into the railways to correct these historical mistakes (with tens of billions more going the way of the energy & water), there’s little to be gained from re-nationalisation. They could subsidise ticket prices yes, or similarly subsidise electricity and water costs, as some other countries with state owned utilities do. But who is going to pay for that? And what’s to stop the Tories simply cancelling such subsidy’s when they get back into power?

Too which the usual reply for Corbyn supporters is tax the rich. However, as I pointed out before, while there are many good reasons why the rich should pay more in taxes (as they do so in many other countries). But we need to be realistic about how much money such taxes will actually raise. Labour themselves estimate such measures would only raise about £80 billion (which might be a little optimistic). But this is nowhere near enough.

The reality is that if they want to undertake such spending plans, they’d have to push up taxes for everybody. Now there’s no reason why higher taxes are a bad idea. There are many countries with thriving economies where citizens pay a lot more in tax (with the wealthy pay a disproportionately higher rate) and they get better public services (I have relatives in Germany and I know people who live in Scandinavia, this is their everyday reality and they prefer that to the British or American model).

And no the rich won’t leave the UK “within minutes” of Corbyn becoming PM. That’s just grade A BS. The only rich who will leave are those who are doing something illegal (you know like the hedge fund managers bribing Boris) or the ones who are bad at maths. For the reality is that the cost of living in a tax haven is often much higher. For example, Switzerland’s cost of living is twice that of Germany (so any German billionaire who lives across the border is imposing a defacto 50% flat tax on himself and having to pay taxes to the Swiss on top of that!).

But that said, there’s a limit to what the rich and corporations will tolerate (just look at Argentina or Venezuela). And a general increase in taxation isn’t what’s in labour’s manifesto promises. And as Marcon discovered when he tried to sneak a tax increase through in France, you are likely to face a serious backlash when the public catch you at it. But before any Tories start sniggering, brexit is also likely to be very expensive. As expensive as Corbyn’s nationalisation policy, if not much more expensive. They too will face the dilemma of either pushing up taxes or implementing another round of deep austerity, neither of which is going to go down terribly well with the general public.

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What about borrowing? Well if you are bank would you lend money to either of these clowns? Probably yes (banks are kind of run by arrogant upper class types), but as its a riskier bet, only at the right price. Which means pushing up interest rates. Which means everybody on a mortgage or who is renting sees their bills going up, which again is likely to provoke an angry backlash. And this also means the financial markets will have Corbyn or Johnson over a barrel. If they don’t dance to the bankers tune, they risk losing access to credit (which they can’t afford to lose).

Finally, we need to acknowledge that the UK is part of a globalised world and not isolated from international events. Another tabloid friendly labour policy is to nationalise BT and give everyone free broadband access. I’m going to assume they’re not familiar with the train wreck which happened when Australia tried this, the so called blunder down under.

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While I’m sceptical that Musk’s starlink will ever work, the very fact its being proposed shows how quickly technology is changing in this field

And I also assume labour are unfamiliar with Elon Musk’s plans to launch a 12,000 satellite network to provide cheap high speed broadband world wide. Now okay, everything Musk needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, but it highlights the fact that how we access the internet today might not be the way we do it in ten year time (how many of you are reading this on a smart phone, a device that was in its infancy when I started this blog). So Corbyn would be spending tens of billions getting his hands on assets that could well be worthless within a decade or so. And while I’m also sceptical of Musk’s hyperloop proposal, its going to mean a big pulse of research in the direction of maglev’s, So it again highlights how transport technologies may change.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that labour can’t implement its policies. The devil is in the detail. It requires one to be a bit more strategically clever and embrace your inner Tyrion Lannister. For example, rather than nationalising the UK railway’s (though holding the threat of it over their heads certainly won’t hurt) I’d instead lean on the rail companies to do their fe*king jobs. Refuse to allow any further fare increases (and either try to lower fares or let inflation do that job for you), fine the rail companies heavily any time a train is late (so heavily its just not in their interests to allow that to happen) and rigidly enforce the conditions of carriage (when you buy a rail ticket you and the rail company are entering into a contract whereby they are legally required to get you to your destination regardless of the costs to them).

Then at the same time offer them a carrot in the form of government money to improve the infrastructure (and again some of that is state owned anyway so that should be straight forward enough) and create a more efficient service, so long as they sign up to certain changes and support these improvements. The rail companies options will be to either sign up to this package or sell up and get out straight away. And even this is a win for the government as it means defacto nationalisation happens, but as the rail companies are doing so voluntarily, there’s no delay in court and you’d likely be able to buy them out at a fraction of the cost.

And equally, if I was a brexiter, far from leaving the EU asap, I’d stay in and draw the process out for as long as possible. As this is exactly what the EU wants to avoid. If they refuse any further extensions, revoke article 50 and threaten a 2nd referendum and a future re-issuing of it at a time that will be most inconvenient for the EU. That would put them over a barrel and force them to grant concessions they’d otherwise be unwilling to concede.

Finally, one has to acknowledge that some of the lefts policies do look a little elitist to anyone who doesn’t follow politics. Do people too poor to take the train really care if the government owns it rather than some random company. Those who do use the trains might see that as a good thing, but they are likely to be able to afford their own internet and would be turned off by the idea of the government owning it. The lib dems policy of revoking article 50 might make sense if you understand the dynamics of how a 2nd referendum would unfold, but it sounds a lot like they just want to ignore the referendum result.

By contrast the Tories have managed to keep their lies consistent. The trouble is, this is more than the usual election white lies. Its bordering on serious fraud. And I don’t think they appreciate the backlash they’ll face once the public realise they’ve been conned.

This is the problem with populism. It forces politicians to undertake blunt manoeuvres on a level his or her base can understand, even when they are strategically stupid things to do. It encourages leaders to lie to their own supporters, because nothing is more dangerous to populism than the truth. Consider that Boris’s brexit plan involved throwing the DUP under the bus and conceding everything the EU had originally asked May to agree too (which she hadn’t), even though he resigned because he argued May had conceded too much.

And in the US the consequences of Trump’s populist policy has been that corporations just kept the bits they liked (tax cuts for them, military and wall building contracts galore) and threw away everything else (e.g. bringing jobs back to America, LOL, for a laugh let’s make parts of the F-35 in China and Turkey). With a White House in chaos, a whole host of problems are building up, dictators have effectively been given free reign to do whatever they like, as have criminals. In fact we’ve seen an explosion in corruption and fraud, ranging from the $4 billion OneCoin ponzi scheme to an epidemic of Indian scammers targeting Americans and fleecing them (India’s Modi of course being another populist racist). So all of this is likely to be what’s coming to the UK post-election, particularly if the Tories win (disaster capitalism at its worst).

Regardless of who wins the election (save the lib dems, the spoil sport girly swots who’d cancel brexit), the policies of both party leaders will mean they’ll quickly find themselves bogged down by their own rhetoric. After which they will have little room to manoeuvre and will just have to do whatever they are told by the banks, the EU and the corporations. And that is what you are voting for.

Another election nobody wants

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Just before the EU referendum result in 2016 it looked likely we’d having an election in Ireland, as there was only a minority government who couldn’t really survive a no confidence vote. That didn’t happen and still hasn’t because it was considered unwise to have an election with brexit going on in the UK (hence the opposition agreed not to table any no confidence motions). Well the UK’s about to have its second brexit election (potentially leading to its 4th brexit PM) at what has to been the most inconvenient time in UK history. And, as I will explain later in this article, a third brexit election is a distinct possibility (and possibly a referendum too).

The cult of the one true brexit v’s the cult of the one true Corbyn v’s the cult of the one true Farage

And as campaigning kicks off we have the absurdity of three parties who all claim to represent “the people” against an out of touch elite (despite the fact that all three party leaders were privately educated themselves!). Certainly the fact that the Tories are ahead in the polls does suggest they are likely to win. However, they’ve been campaigning for the last three months while the rest of the parties haven’t. Now the PM’s brexit deal is coming under scrutiny and, as its an awful deal, both the brextremists and the remainers are finding issues with it (hence why Trump warned it would make a US trade deal difficult). And there’s that report into Russian hacking which the PM is refusing to release (I wonder why!). This could cause the Tories to lose votes to both sides.

And the Tory promises of loads of dosh for everything is starting to be walked back. We’ve gone from 40 new hospitals to a handful that will get refurbished (i.e. a lick of paint)…..maybe. More importantly there is the issue of how does the government propose to pay for all of this. The global economy is slowing, the bond market is becoming increasingly volatile and brexit will inevitably lead to a further slow down in the economy and yet further falls in tax receipts.

Bottom line, either the Tories have to be prepared for another round of austerity, one that would make Osborne look like Santa Claus, or they have to prepared to raise taxes. I think you can guess which of the two they’ll chose to do. Yes some Turkey’s will literally vote for Christmas in a few weeks time, but it doesn’t take that many voters in a few marginal seats to either vote a different way (or just stay at home because its snowing outside) to cost the Tories the election.

It is possible the labour will go up in the polls now the campaign has started. This is after all what happened last time. But remember the issue last time was that Corbyn (or he who must be obeyed as he told his MP’s this week) was up against Teresa May, aka the yellow submarine, who spent the entire campaign either running away from people or being honest about Tory policies (which is kind of like an Asbestos salesman being honest about the health effects of his merchandise). In short labour were faced with an open goal and they still lost. And Boris is seen as a much more capable campaigner than May (by which I mean he’s better at lying to people).

And labour’s opaque brexit position doesn’t help. Their brexit policy is basically to shrug their shoulders and say fu*ked if we know! Its the May/Boris deal (with a few minor tweaks) or no deal or no brexit. And given their unwillingness to either try and force through the deal (with amendments) against the PM’s wishes, the fact that 19 labour MP’s rebelled and supported a deal without punishment (a deal that will gut workers rights) and the fact labour resisted attempts by the lib dems to attach a 2nd referendum, all make it difficult for voters to judge where they stand not just on brexit but anything for that matter.

Foot in mouth disease

In essence we could be seeing a repeat of Micheal Foot and the disastrous labour campaign of 1983 (which saw a landslide victory for the Tories and Maggie Thatcher, setting labour up to lose 3 elections in a row). The only difference is that support for Corbyn is already lower than it was for Micheal Foot at the peak of his unpopularity. He is literally one of the most unpopular politicians in UK history….and labour supporters say they actually want an election! LOL!

Part of the problem here is that Corbyn is playing the long game. He doesn’t want to be PM and is quite happy to lose the election as his goals are both to make sure brexit happens (and a labour victory would prevent that) and to drag labour further to the left. He might not be electable but there are several on the hard left in the party who could be.

The thing is, this was also Micheal Foot’s plan. He was happy to inflict a decade of Thatcher on the UK in return for moving labour more to the left. But of course the opposite happened. In the wake of his defeat Labour drifted further and further to the right until they ended up with Tony Blair (“the best conservative PM in UK history” as one Tory voter once called him with no hint of irony). So the odds are history might well repeat itself.

The position of the brexit party will be critical. If they decide to campaign in certain labour marginals but not Tory marginals, then that benefits the Tories. If they go after every seat (and given that Boris has a reputation for betraying his allies, Farage would be a fool to trust him) that benefits labour. But keep in mind that if the brexit party gets enough support, they might hoover up seats from both parties. And both labour and the Tories are looking at near total wipe out in Scotland (its likely they’ll both be reduced to one seat each….both of whom are held by disloyal rebels as regards their respective party leaders).

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This could lead to a result where there is truly a hung parliament. That is too say, no combination of labour plus pro-remain parties or the Tories plus pro-brexit parties (assuming any of them are stupid enough to go into coalition with Boris) can form a government. So how is this election going to improve things? 

Election 2020?

Hence why I’d argue that this election might be a prelude to a future election in late 2020 or early 2021.

If say the Tories lose enough seats to allow labour, the lib dems and possibly the SNP to go into coalition, its a government that might not last very long. The price the smaller parties will extract for their support is likely to be Corbyn retiring. Now he’s said he was going to step down in the spring. And if labour loses lots of seats he might be pushed out anyway (not that he’ll mind, remember his goal is to make sure someone younger and more electable on the left becomes leader, the election he truly cares about is the next labour leadership election). Meaning someone else in labour becomes PM (with perhaps Corbyn in a brief caretaker role). So this would probably satisfy the other parties into supporting labour on the condition of a 2nd referendum (which would pretty much take up all of his time in office). That they should be able to push through, as well as perhaps some electoral reforms. But that’s about it.

On almost every other issue their will be disagreement. The lib dems aren’t going to support his policy of nationalisation. And while the SNP might do so, they’d likely insist that those assets should be owned by Scotland (and in fairness this would be within the spirit of devolution), something labour could never agree too. Free uni education, scrapping universal credit and ending NHS austerity is something all parties could support, but how to pay for it and the pace of the changes would be the sticking point.

Labour might be happy to spend like a sailor on shore leave but the other parties won’t be. As I’ve mentioned before the SNP have pushed up taxes in Scotland without causing too much fuss, but their experience shows such tax increases need to be sold to the public in advance and introduced gradually. A populist led labour will be in too much of a rush to do this properly. And thus they will lose many votes in parliament (either due to labour rebels or their coalition partners not supporting these policies). And of course if labour has a new leader/PM they’ll probably be keen to have their own mandate (not least because the other obstacle will be the house of lords which will block many of labour’s more extreme policies, even if they can get the lib dems & SNP to support them in the commons). So an early election is very likely, probably in 2020 or 2021 not long after a 2nd referendum.

And if the Tories win the upcoming election, the same is also likely to be true. The problem for Boris is that not only does he have to win an election, he has to win by a large margin while also seeing off the brexit party (he can afford to let them drain votes away from labour and get the odd seat, but not so much that they become a major force in UK politics).

The only thing uniting the Tories right now is fear of Corbyn and some vague commitment to brexit. Once he’s gone away and brexit happens (in some way or form), open warfare within the party will resume. The ERG will want chances to the withdrawal agreement or will try to sabotage the trade negotiations with the EU . The remainers will try to push for a softer brexit. And these factions will turn every vote on every issue into a tit for tat struggle.

For example, as you may know the Tories want to privatise the NHS and sell it to the US healthcare companies. However, I suspect at least some Tories will see the flaw in this plan. The average age of the Tory voter is 57 (and rising) and the US has a lower life expectancy than the UK. Does introducing a healthcare policy that will literally kill off your own voters really sound like a good idea? Inevitably some Tory MP’s will rebel (or sabotaging trade negotiations with the US, by for example doing something that will insult Trump’s ego). And if Boris repeats his mistake of expelling such MP’s he’ll simply piss away his majority very quickly.

And recall that the UK leaving the EU is merely one small step on the road. In fact its the easiest of the steps. The UK will have to start negotiating its future relationship with the EU and then all other states. This will require making some unpopular decisions which will upset some significant number of voters and prompt further rebellions and defections. And all against a backdrop of falling tax revenue, a sluggish economy and Scotland trying to leave again (but this time possibly succeeding). So without a very large majority its likely Boris will struggle to get anything done. Meaning an early election is also a possibility, doubly so if he’s dependant on brexit party support (which they’ll likely withdraw once they reason they can unseat a large enough body of Tories to essentially subvert the Tory party).

The problem for Boris at this point is that Thatcher (and her successor Major) won those elections against labour because the UK economy was doing well (probably down to the globalisation of trade and north sea oil rather than anything Thatcher actually did) and they were both keen on moving the UK closer to Europe (which is the one thing they did which we can definitely say did actually benefit the economy). Boris isn’t going to be so lucky.

He’ll be facing the opposite scenario and quite possibly a new labour leader who is both on the left of the party and electable. Because while I would expect labour to drift further to the right as time goes on, the first iteration will be someone who is still fairly close to Corbyn (just not surrounded by a cabal of brexit party fifth columnists with an axe to grind). The price the Tories could pay for brexit is ending up with a hard left government that proceeds to take revenge on them and their voters for brexit and austerity.

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So while I would encourage people to vote, I’d point out that you might well find you have to vote again in the not too distant future. But we still can’t have a 2nd referendum, because apparently asking people to vote twice on the same issue is undemocratic, yet asking them to vote multiple times in an election until the politicians get the result they want is ok.

Brexit and the game of dolts

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Brexit seems to becoming a byword for foolishness and folly as well as deceit and betrayal. And we need only look at the strategies being pursued by Corbyn and Johnson for proof of that. Both appear to be adopting a policy towards brexit that is reckless and foolhardy. But equally for both leaders, their stated policy is just a charade for what is their real agenda.

Corbyn for example says that he will support a general election as soon as the EU rules out no deal. This despite predictions suggesting he will likely lose a general election. Either by a small margin (but with the Tories losing enough seats to offer labour the chance of a coalition with other parties), or by some massive margin. Naturally this has labour MP’s with small majorities (and even some with big majorities) in jitters.

A more sensible strategy would be to use his defacto majority to take control of parliament (with the aid of Tory rebels and the smaller parties) and start amending and then pushing through Johnson’s withdrawal deal. They could amend the deal to put back in a customs union and protection for workers rights. While it seems unlikely he’d be able to attach a public vote to it (that said, according to the lib dems the main barrier to people’s vote right now is the labour party), but certainly Corbyn could lay the ground work for that.

This would turn things on its head. Labour would go into an election with a clear brexit position – vote for us and we will put this amended deal to the public. Only labour can “get brexit done”. Instead it would be Johnson whose left with a ambiguous position on brexit. Out one side of his mouth he’ll be promising a no deal (maybe tomorrow, maybe at the end of the transition period, but some day and for the rest of your life). Out the other side, oh I want a deal (maybe the amended one, maybe a different one, who knows!)….and presumably out his arse whatever Dominic Cummings reckons will win the most votes!

Instead Corbyn is committing labour to yet more fence sitting contortions, with a brexit policy as clear as Irish stout. And since we are talking about it, he’s not taken any action to punish the 19 MP’s who defied the whip and voted for a brexit deal that would strip UK workers of their rights and allow the wrecking of environmental standards.

This has led to howls of protest from labour supporters who now say that not only do they not know where labour stands on brexit, but where does it stand on anything else for that matter. And can you blame them. On the one hand we have labour promising a carbon neutral UK (if they win an election…and the climate deniers in the party can be made to vote for it one assumes). Yet the same week we have labour MP’s voting for a bill that will roll back environmental protections. Can any part of their manifesto be taken seriously now? Naturally, this is not the sort of scenario where you want to go into an election.

Meanwhile the sensible strategy for Johnson would be to carry on regardless. Given that there seems to be momentum to push the brexit deal through, ride that wave and try to thwart efforts to edit or amend it too much. In other words follow through with his own election slogan to “get brexit done”. Yes that will require a short extension, but so what, it still happens in the near future.

But instead he’s pulled the vote on the deal from parliament and focused on getting an election. In fact he’s even implied that if he doesn’t get his election he’ll just take his toys back to Downing street and sulk, then pretend he’s having one by going out campaigning. This has put the possibility of a brexit extension from the EU in jeopardy. And, as I’ve discussed before, while yes the odds are good that Johnson could win, it would be huge gamble as it could easily backfire (particularly if the opposition promote the line, we were willing to vote through a deal, only reason we didn’t was because of Johnson).

And since we are talking about it, an election at Christmas time, seriously? Are you lot for real? Is Boris related by any chance to the Grinch? Do these clowns have any idea of the logistics involved in holding election at Christmas. At a time of year when people are either going to be busy finishing work before the holidays (students will be up to the eyeballs in coursework and exam preparation) or Christmas shopping you want to have an election. With the risk that weather related events could disrupt the vote, postal ballots will be delayed and every church hall & function room in the country booked for a Christmas related events.

So the positions of both party leaders appears to be foolish. At least until you understand what’s really going on. Johnson knows his brexit deal is bonkers. I mean he’s putting a hard border down the Irish sea, such that British people will have to show a passport and go through customs and immigration controls passing between two parts of the same country. But its a placebo deal designed to serve one purpose, get him an election so he can get a majority. After that he couldn’t give a monkey’s.

To Johnson brexit has always been a means to an end. I won’t be surprised, if he wins a large majority, if he then tosses the ERG lot under the bus (same as he did to the DUP) and pushes for a soft brexit or even revokes article 50. Anything is possible with Johnson, as it depends what the hedge funds managers backing him think will net them the biggest gain. He’s the ultimate disaster capitalist.

Corbyn meanwhile doesn’t want to lay the ground work for a public vote because then he’d have to hold one. And he knows full well the likely outcome would be remain. The reality is that Corbyn is a more committed brexiter than either Johnson or the ERG. He’s basically playing the long game. Corbyn knows he’s unelectable, nor is it likely any hard left labour leader could ever be elected under normal circumstances. But a damaging no deal brexit, brought about by the Tories would allow a future hard left leader (and there’s a number of viable candidates within labour) to do just that. Its not so much disaster capitalism but disaster socialism.

But either way, brexit has become a political football. A game to be played for political advantage. And the politicians are placing the pursuit of this game over the best interests of the country. And neither of them shows the slightest inclination towards actually resolving the brexit question. I mean who’d want to go and do a silly thing like that!

Three borders Boris & the post brexit backlash

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So after several months of Johnson & the DUP saying no, no, never to any form of hard border on the island of Ireland (something he reaffirmed just 24 hrs before), now he’s proposing to put in place two borders (or arguably three borders as there will need to be immigration checks at the Ferry ports). And rather than a backstop (which recall was a British idea, not the EU’s) he’s managed to come up with something worse.

To say its unworkable is something of an understatement. Are we seriously to believe that a farmer, whose farm straddles the border (a not uncommon thing), and wants to move a cow from one side of the border to the other has to drive 10 km’s into NI, clear customs, drive 20 km’s back and into Ireland, then 10 km’s back to the farm. And without border checks what’s to stop a truck that’s been cleared through customs simply stopping in a lay-by, loading up with contraband and then driving through (then off load again onto another truck once across). And in the unlikely event of getting caught (the police have made clear there is no way they could hope to search even a fraction of the vehicle traffic), the driver just claims he’s moving a load to Donegal.

And the best bit, the backstop is replaced by the Stormont lock. The economic fate of the EU, UK and Ireland would hinge on the competence of one of the most incompetent and corrupt legislative bodies in Europe. Stormont hasn’t met for two years, officially because of silly dispute over the Irish language. However in reality, the DUP are fearful that Sinn Fein will be able to get enough support from the neutral parties to form a government and take power. They’d then likely use the aftermath of brexit to force through a border poll. And that’s not idle paranoia, SF entire reason for existing is a united Ireland.

So its entirely likely SF would use the Stormont lock as a wedge to force a border poll if given half a chance (while the DUP will use it to frustrate them and seek further bribes from Westminster). Neither party will even remotely care about the economic damage their actions cause. After all if why do you think the GDP for NI is so much lower than it is in the rest of the UK (NI’s GDP is only 23,000 v’s about 42,000 for the whole of the UK and 77,000 for the republic). And any kind of hard border will make NI even poorer, which will eventually just lead to the resumption of terrorist attacks.

Clearly the primary purpose of this proposal is so that Johnson’s tabloid allies can sell it as a compromise. One that will only fail because of the EU, remainers and traitorous judges & civil servants. As I said in my last post, Johnson has suspended parliament (you know like Hitler did!) and is now trying to find a way to suspend laws he doesn’t like, notably the Benn act. Clearly his electoral plan is to blame the EU for no deal/no brexit, while dialing the lying and anti-Corbyn rhetoric up to eleven.

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A delivery of vintage champagne to the Tory conference. And the Tory pitch is you should vote for them because the other parties represent an out of touch elite!

Such irresponsible behaviour, just so that he can cling to power has to be some of the worse behaviour we’ve ever seen from a UK government, which is setting a very dangerous precedence. The many miscalculations that are going on here is staggering, and the consequences are likely to be severe. They’ve even been sample testing George Soros conspiracy theories (ya and labour are the ones labelled as anti-Semitic, go figure!).

I mean we were told that we need to get out of the EU because of all the money it costs, yet we now have a government promising to spend tens of billions just dealing with the fallout of a no deal. And this is merely one of a long list of spending commitments, with no clue as to where the money is supposed to come from (and labour have pointed out some are actually prior spending commitments which have run over budget (due to inflation from the falling pound & Tory incompetence) and need more money!).

And Johnson’s plan (his real one, not this silly proposal to the EU) only works if he can force through an early election (before the negative consequences of brexit become obvious). Now if the opposition has any sense they’ll not allow that, forcing Boris to stay on and deal with the consequences of a no deal with a minority government and lose vote after vote for two years….then again, Corbyn might just be dumb enough to allow an early election. Even so while yes the Tories are well ahead in the polls, that doesn’t mean they’ll win. They are effectively sacrificing pro-remain seats in cities and Scotland, in favour of leave voting seats in the North and industrial towns.

However, that would require getting the voters in those districts to vote Tory…which many won’t do (these are the people Thatcher screwed over, many hate the Tories, in fact they voted leave as a two fingered salute against the Tories). So the strategy is more about getting them to vote for the brexit party, who would steal enough support off labour to allow the Tories to win those seats. But its a strategy that could easily fall apart.

If theirpeople v’s parliament campaign works too well, then the brexit party takes those seats (potentially becoming too big for the Tories to control, or even overtaking them). And if the lib dems withdraw their candidates (perhaps doing a last minute deal with labour), labour might still hang onto them. And given that the Tories now need to make up a 40 seat deficit (and they’ll likely lose a further 20-40 more to the lib dems & SNP), there’s every chance Boris could find himself well short of a majority, even if he wins the popular vote by a comfortable margin (as I’ve pointed out before, its possible under FptP for a party to win the popular vote, but finish 2nd in terms of seats).

And while the Tories might be planning to promise high spending and then air brush those promises from history (as they’ve tried to do before), I’m not sure the public will be happy about that when they discover they’ve basically been conned. Yes politicians do lie, but never before have voters been scammed on this scale. Consider for example Boris seems to be quietly accepting that post-brexit immigration pledges can’t be met. Likely because he knows that the likes of India and China will make the relaxation of immigration controls a condition of any trade deal.

Ultimately the problem here is that the Tory party no longer has any sort of ideology (they have literally lost the plot), other than sadopopulist rhetoric and self inflicted suffering, which they will blame on others. Much like the US Republican party they now exist for no real purpose other than to stop anyone else changing things for the better. While pursuing policies that they know will leave the very people who vote for them worse off….and of course lining their own pockets. And Johnson’s close links to hedge funds betting on a no deal outcome means the Tories already make the GOP look like amateur hour in this regard.

But like I said, the consequences to for the UK of these games the Tories are playing is going to be dire. And a hard brexit is just the start. Have the Tories paused to consider the sort of bus that a future left wing populist leader could drive through the UK legal system if they were to behave like the Tories.

Brexit has radicalised the left in the UK. Hence we have policies coming out of labour calling for private schools to be scrapped and their assets ceased. Granted, at the moment this is just a lunatic fringe on the edges of the labour party (and labour lack the votes to form a majority government). But a no deal brexit and another 5 years of Tory rule could well mean that such a fringe will be the ones in charge (keep in mind Corbyn will be gone, someone more electable will be leader and they might also be from the radical left wing of the labour party).

Because such radicals won’t be interested in simply reversing Tory policies any more. Instead the goal will be more about get revenge on Tory’s and brexit voters. This after all is where Italy’s 5star movement came from. Its how the Bolivarians in Venezuela got started and why they are still in power despite the fact the country’s economy has effectively collapsed (as some in the Venezuela take the view, well I have it bad, but at least the wealthy and the elites have finally gotten their comeuppance). So it is a serious risk.

Because it means that a future hard left PM post-brexit won’t be banning public schools. He or she will simply encourage their supporters to burn them to the ground. No need to nationalise the railway’s or energy companies, simply tell their supporters to dodge their fare and not pay their bills. And ya the courts will give him a rebuke for that, but much as Boris isn’t going to jail for an unlawful suspension of parliament, neither will this future PM.

And if you can simply suspend laws due to a crisis (as seems to be Johnson’s plan, to whip up riots and then suspend the Benn act), that applies to the left as well (e.g. they use riots and burning of public schools as an excuse to suspend certain laws, cease the assets of the wealthy or abolish the old age pension in order to punish the older generation for brexit). What goes around comes around.

And in the US as well, Trump has essentially radicalised the left. And again, while at the moment that likely means Warren winning the nomination (possibly Biden if the GOP get lucky), I suspect after a Trump 2nd term the left’s candidate might be a little more radical (so if you think either of them are a bit too left wing, buckle up!). And again this radicalised left will be more interested in screwing Trump voters than fixing America.

They could for example use the same emergency powers Trump has used to ban guns, or enact the green new deal, or stack the supreme court with a dozen millennial liberals (then change the law so congress no longer has any say in appointing future justices). They could go line by line through the US budget and cut anything that benefits Republican voting states. And given that many red states are massive welfare queens, while democrat states often send more money to DC than they spent, this would basically bankrupt many red states, while allowing blue states to take a tax cut, or spend more on public services.

And recall there is one nuclear option that a future sadopopulist left wing government could implement relatively easily, that would utterly screw over the older generations to the benefit millennial’s. Make no effort to defend the value of the pound or the dollar and run the magic printing press and start spending like a sailor on shore leave. But wouldn’t that cause hyper inflation? Ya, that would kind of be the point! You’d quickly wipe out the debts of many young millennial’s while simultaneously wiping out the value of pensioners savings and the assets of the wealthy.

Now to be clear, I’m not necessarily advocating these policies. The last one for example, many governments have tried to use high inflation to wipe out debts and its often run out of their control (just look at Argentina some time!). I’m simply pointing out what will happen if the left starts action like trump supporters or brexiters. Really the best case scenario for both groups is for their respective leaders to be impeached and removed from office and given a lengthy prison sentence. As otherwise I won’t want to be a wealthy conservative (or a pensioner) in about 5 years time.

And while I understand why many want to vote Tory in order to “get brexit done, but as I’ve pointed out before a no deal doesn’t end brexit (brexit is a process not a destination), it simply lengthens the process and makes sure the UK will be over a barrel (once we’ve run out of bog roll, food, fuel and medicines) when it comes to negotiating a future relationship with the EU, USA and other major trading partners (as recent US tariff’s against the UK demonstrate). In truth if you want to wipe brexit from the political agenda, then really the lib dem plan to revoke article 50 is the only thing that would do that.