Tag Archives: gaslight

Starmer is trying to GASLIGHT voters into supporting him with turn to explicit Blairism

We all knew Keir Starmer was a Blairite, didn’t we?

His closeness with Peter Mandelson should have been a big hint (Mandelson was as much an architect of Blairism as Blair was). Also the way Starmer jettisoned every Corbyn policy after he became Labour leader, to be replaced by aimless, amorphous, focus-group-led attempts to follow any trend that might seem popular at the time.

Now Starmer has made it explicit with an article in the Financial Times (paywall) in which he asks voters to embrace the legacy of pale-Tory warmonger Tony Blair so that he can win a general election.

That’s what it is about. It isn’t about doing anything to help UK citizens in genuine need; Starmer wants to win an election and he thinks he can do it by invoking the memory of Blair.

He’s very far off-target and is heading for yet another humiliation.

And he gave himself away by saying, “We have to turn the Labour Party inside-out.” It is a clear statement: he wants to eviscerate Labour – gutting it of every socialist member and policy – in order to make it acceptable to the ruling businesspeople and to Tories who get fed up with Boris Johnson.

Traditional Labour voters take note – and avoid Starmer’s party like the Plague until he is long gone, along with all his successors.

He said he had just one goal: “To win the next election.” Coupled with his comments about eviscerating the party he leads, we can only conclude that this is for his own glory and not for the benefit of anybody else. We already have a prime minister like that in Boris Johnson. We don’t want another!

And he relied on boring old Blairite “let’s-silence-the-lefties” arguments like the one about Labour being serious about winning power, rather than just protesting, and the one saying the party must “get real”, drop internal disputes over policy and follow his dictatorship leadership.

Not on your nelly, mate!

Labour got closer to winning power in 2017, under Jeremy Corbyn, than at any time since 2005. But this prompted Blairites in the party’s organisational structure – people who support Starmer’s comments in the FT – to panic because they did not want the wider public to believe that a socialist could ever gain power.

Having worked hard to ensure a Conservative – yes, these so-called Labour members had deliberately sabotaged their own party to make sure the Conservatives won – they redoubled their efforts in the two years leading up to the 2019 general election, with multiple attacks on Corbyn’s credibility and attempts to undermine his policies and supporters.

So it is hypocritical of Starmer to demand that left-wingers are responsible for disharmony within his party. It is his own Blairites that have been stirring up trouble since 2015!

As for that tired old “party of protest” argument: Labour would have won in 2017 if Starmer’s supporters hadn’t spent so much time protesting against Corbyn.

He told the FT that his keynote speech at this autumn’s Labour conference will be a “big moment” because it will signify a major relaunch for the party and for his leadership. Yes, another one.

And we learn now that he’s claiming it will be a shift towards “positivity” and away from a negativity that he claims was a hallmark of the Corbyn years.

That is the worst kind of gaslighting.

If we’ve learned anything from the last few years, it is that Corbyn’s leadership of Labour was a huge positive force. That’s why he was able to encourage hundreds of thousands of people to join the party. It’s why he fixed the party’s finances that Starmer’s idol Blair had ruined. And it’s the reason Corbyn was able to address rallies numbering in their tens of thousands of people.

Starmer himself is lucky if he can speak to 10 people when he appears in public. He has turned more than 100,000 people away from the party. And it is one paycheque away from bankruptcy, thanks to his appalling financial mismanagement.

Couple that with the constant sniping and backstabbing against socialists by Starmer’s coterie of Blairites and it is clear to see that there is only one way Starmer will be able to rid Labour of the negativity that he reckons is stifling it.

That will be for him and all his nasty Blairite minions to leave Labour forever.

Until that happens, Labour members and supporters can forget about winning elections. They can forget about transforming the country. And they can forget about improving the prospects of everybody in the UK. That’s not what Starmer is about.

His purpose – as made clear by anybody who can read between the lines of his FT piece – is not to “rock the boat”; to make sure that the current status quo prevails into the future.

That is why he is sitting at the top of the Labour Party, long after it became clear that he is a millstone, dragging the party’s electoral chances down into the mire.

It is the reason we are having to suffer relaunch after reinvention when what we need is Starmer’s resignation.

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As Covid rates skyrocket, new Health Secretary is trying to gaslight us all

Covid Javid: would he be so keen to whip that mask off in a school, where absence rates due to the virus have quadrupled in the last month?

England is on course to come out of lockdown altogether on July 19 – according to Sajid Javid. There’s just one problem: Covid-19 infections are skyrocketing.

It’s not a good look for a brand-new Health Secretary – trying to gaslight a nation that is tired out after almost 18 months of lies, denials, excuses, self-justifications and, worst of all, false promises.

But on June 28, Javid stood up in the House of Commons and told us all that he could “see no reason to go beyond” that “target date” of July 19.

The rest of us can. Covid-19 infections have shot above 20,000 per day for a second day running, and are likely to pass 100,000 a day by July 19 at the current rate of increase.

Javid says that’s not a problem because the number of deaths is falling. But this is to deny the fact that Covid-19 has other harmful effects.

What about the increased strain on the National Health Service?

What about Long Covid?

Oh yeah, that’s right. Javid reckons the lockdown must end because we must all learn to “live with” the virus.

How perversely appropriate, then, that the first people having to learn to live with it are likely to be our generation of learners – at school.

The infection rate there is already booming after the government decided to tell our kids not to wear face masks.

More than 375,000 pupils – about one in 20 – were out of school for Covid-related reasons, up by more than 130,000 in a week according to the latest official figures.

That’s more than four times as many as at the beginning of June, when the effects of the decision to stop demanding that pupils wear masks (from May 17) started to become clear.

And let’s not forget that, despite what he says, Javid has already played a huge part in increasing the threat of Covid-19:

So now we see that the new boss is exactly the same as the old boss, and Javid intends the government to continue handling Covid-19 exactly as it has all along:

BADLY.
Source: Covid-19: End of England’s Covid rules still set for 19 July – BBC News

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Starmer ROASTED by Twitter user who’s seen through his lies [STRONG LANGUAGE]

Keir Starmer: A suit, a haircut, and flag-waving fascism. Labour supporters – and the whole of the UK – deserve much, much better and we won’t get it from this gaslighting fake.

If Keir Starmer really thought he could deflect criticism by reshuffling his cabinet and removing any remaining socialists from control of the Labour Party, he was badly mistaken.

The following Twitter thread was written before the reshuffle but identifies the reasons Labour members and supporters are not going to accept Starmer’s leadership any more.

Already, CLPs (local party units) across the UK are preparing motions of “no confidence” in his leadership. Anticipating that the party’s unelected general secretary, David Evans, will undemocratically try to rule them “out of order”, they are being advised to frame them as motions of confidence, with wording like, “This party has 0.1 per cent confidence in Keir Starmer’s leadership” – and then vote against those motions to show that they don’t have any confidence in him at all.

“Roadside Mum”, below, provides many reasons party members have no confidence in the man who has been dubbed Labour’s worst ever leader, a betrayer of the values that brought the party into being and a deceiver who is trying to hoodwink voters into supporting the removal of their democratic rights.

These include:

  • The campaign to punish Labour left-wingers.
  • The campaign to silence criticism.
  • The erosion of Labour’s share of the electorate.
  • Starmer’s support for the loss of our right to protest.
  • Starmer’s attempt to gaslight us into thinking Jeremy Corbyn is responsible for Labour’s loss of support.
  • Starmer’s sustained support of Conservative policies and legislation.
  • Starmer’s support of the so-called Spycops Bill in particular.
  • Starmer’s adoption of fascist symbolism, in line with the Tories – flags, haircuts and suits preferred over socialist policies.
  • Efforts by right-wing Labour Party officers and representatives – many of them unelected – to disenfranchise party members and deny them representation.
  • And an attitude of entitlement that tries to tell us that we must accept Starmer sneering at us because he thinks he knows better.

There is even an addendum copying in a message, presumably from a Starmer supporter, actually proving the last point: “These elections are a lot more complicated than you think.” No, they’re not.

It’s a statement that insults the intelligence of “Roadside Mum” and every other Labour voter who expected – and deserved – better from Starmer, from his leadership team, and from every other party officer who enabled the betrayal that the party has endured for more than a year.

Labour won’t improve with the removal of left-wingers from positions of power and their replacement by anti-Semite-supporting fascists like Rachel Reeves, that’s for sure.

It can only get worse.

And the rot is seeping down from the top.

This is not simply about removing a bad leader.

It is about saving a political movement – and saving a nation from sliding into Boris Johnson-controlled fascism that Keir Starmer supports with all of his heart.

Here’s the thread. Read it for yourself.

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Racism by gaslight as the UK’s racist government’s new report is a #whitewash

Tory racists: let’s remember that the government currently claiming there’s no institutional racism in the UK is led by a prime minister who had to apologise for an article claiming black people have lower IQs, then went on to say Muslim women in burqas resemble “bank robbers” and “letterboxes” and told us black people are “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles”. His novel 72 Virgins also contains an anti-Semitic trope.

The Tory government has released a report claiming that, despite thousands of cases of casual, institutional racism that we all see every day, the UK should be seen as an “exemplar” of racial equality.

Who do these racist Tory twits think they are going to fool?

The answer to that is obvious – the majority population of white British people who don’t experience racism in their day-to-day lives, many of whom habitually vote Conservative even though it is against their own interests to do so.

You know… the gaslit millions.

The report by the Tory government’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities was scripted by Downing Street and released under what Peter Walker of The Guardian described as “some pretty cynical news management”.

He explained in a short series of tweets:

He concluded: “We just ignored the “no approach” aspect as it seemed weird to not ask expert groups about a major report in their own subject area, and cynical for government press officers to expect this.”

It wasn’t weird at all. He was right the first time: it was an attempt to ensure that coverage of the story would only highlight the positive message – the lie – that your racist Tory government was peddling.

And let’s not have any nit-picking about my reference to these Tories as racist. This report deliberately hides the racism with which UK society is riddled in order to gaslight the gullible into thinking it doesn’t exist. That in itself is racist.

When you see the head of the commission, Tony Sewell, speaking about it, bear in mind that he is distrusted by the minority ethnic community because he has long claimed that institutional racism does not exist.

A summary of the report focused on education, claiming that many students from minority ethnic backgrounds do as well or better than their white peers.

That is not the experience of youngsters who continue to be treated as backward, simply because of the colour of their skin. Read Akala’s book Natives for a ground-level account of what it’s really like.

The Guardian article, having ignored the Tory embargo, features some on-the-nose responses too:

The shadow foreign secretary, Lisa Nandy, told the same programme that disproportionate rates of school exclusion and arrest among black children underlined evidence of an institutional problem. It would roll back progress if the government sought “to downplay or deny the extent of the problem, rather than doing what it should be doing which is getting on the front foot and tackling it,” she said.

A spokesperson for Black Lives Matter UK said that while the report focused on education, “it fails to explore disproportionality in school exclusion, eurocentrism and censorship in the curriculum, or the ongoing attainment gap in higher education.

“We are also disappointed to learn that the report overlooks disproportionality in the criminal justice system – particularly as police racism served as the catalyst for last summer’s protests. Black people in England and Wales are nine times more likely to be imprisoned than their white peers, and yet, four years on, the recommendations from the Lammy review are yet to be implemented.”

Halima Begum, the chief executive of the Runnymede Trust, said: “As we saw in the early days of the pandemic, 60% of the first NHS doctors and nurses to die were from our BAME communities. For Boris Johnson to look the grieving families of those brave dead in the eye and say there is no evidence of institutional racism in the UK is nothing short of a gross offence.

“The facts about institutional racism do not lie, and we note with some surprise that, no matter how much spin the commission puts on its findings, it does in fact concede that we do not live in a post-racist society.”

Maurice Mcleod, the chief executive of Race on the Agenda, described the conclusion of the inquiry as “government level gaslighting” and criticised the summary for claiming communities are being “haunted” by “historic cases” of racism, creating “deep mistrust” in the system that could prove a barrier to success.

He said the implications of the report were that “the reason so many black people don’t get on well in this society is because they are stuck in the past and this makes them mistrustful. So racism isn’t the problem, people talking about racism is the problem.”

“Government level gaslighting” is right – and is a theme that has been taken up on the social media by people who should know:

You get the picture?

Perhaps worst of all is the fact that this is only one example of the deception coming from your Tory government – which is gaslighting us so heavily that one Twitter user said it was in danger of breaching the Paris Agreement on Climate Change:

But there is an easy way to fight back:

Here’s some information to get you started:

Source: Downing Street suggests UK should be seen as model of racial equality | Race | The Guardian

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The Bristol riot – and how the media gaslight people into believing that protesters are perpetrators

It’s hard to tell which was the worst disgrace – the way the Bristol protest against an unjust piece of legislation was perverted into a riot or the way the media manipulated the story to blame the protesters.

I touched on this in my article about those events, much of which was based on what I saw on the social media. But it seems I was at least mostly right.

This means it is possible to reverse-engineer the ‘toolkit’ used by the mass media to convince us that these events were the opposite of what we have seen.

I’m grateful that I don’t even have to do much work on it – somebody has already done it.

(By the way, the author of the article is an anarchist. This means he’s someone who believes we should all take control of our own political lives and not hand that control over to members of political parties who are likely to be corrupt – and not someone who wants to reduce the nation to lawlessness, as certain media elements would like you to think. See how this works?)

So how do the media gaslight you into believing the police are the victims of a riot they have instigated? Let’s see…

First the press [respond] to the attack … by reporting it in ‘passive voice’. Reports stated ‘clashes occurred…’ or ‘clashes between protesters and police’. Words carefully chosen to not indicate who had started the clashes (the police) and who had been on the receiving end of the majority of the violence (those attending…) Whilst not technically a lie, the intention here is to avoid blaming the police, or to imply that the protesters were at fault. Of course had the protesters actually instigated the violence, the early reports would say exactly that, ‘crowds attack police’.

The article notes that reports use emotive language to describe members of the crowd, no matter what the event may be. So attendees at the vigil for Sarah Everard on Clapham Common were “protesters”:

People attending a vigil don’t sound very threatening or unlawful. Vigil invokes images of flowers, grief stricken speeches, candles, sadness. An accurate description of what had taken place on Clapham Common, but not the most useful if you want to paint the police positively. So many news outlets chose to term everyone present as ‘protesters’. Politicians, such as home secretary Priti Patel were quick to chime in condemning the ‘violence’ caused by ‘protesters’ at an ‘unlawful gathering’, and the press dutifully repeated these claims, often uncritically.

You’ve seen it; you know it’s what they do.

Next are the comments:

First they will report on any police injuries ‘six police received medical attention due to the protest’ they might say.

In the case of the Bristol protest, it was 20. I even commented on it in a tweet:

And how did they get their injuries?

Were they knocked out by an enraged protester with a bat… or did they feel faint from dehydration, trip over and crack a rib on a shield, catch their hand in a car door or break a finger bashing someone over the head?

Two more elements to take from the tweet: we were told that there had been arrests, and this immediately implies crime – or at the very least, the suspicion of crime.

And then there’s the fact that we never get statistics showing injuries among the crowd:

It is very rare that figures are collected for how many protesters were injured, and the assumption may be that this means that number is zero, and the police were thus on the receiving end of more violence than they dished out.

Another element is the othering of the crowd:

They’ll agree most of the thousands of people present were peaceful, support the cause, and shouldn’t have been attacked by the police. Then they will, in hushed tones, point out that there were a minority of THOSE PEOPLE present.

THOSE PEOPLE are, of course, the bogeypeople of the day: Black Lives Matter, Extinction Rebellion, ‘hardcore feminists’.

Labelling these people means they are othered – they aren’t us, they’re them – and this means they can be demonised:

They weren’t people like you and me, people rightly concerned about violence against women, and about police over reach. They were…

… well, they were whoever the media (and their political masters) want us to believe is “the enemy” of the day.

You will also see attempts to blame the victims of police violence:

They will talk about how the protesters stared shouting when police marched in.

Clapham Common and Bristol.

How there were swear words on placards.

“ACAB” – meaning “All Cops Are Bastards”. So, not even swear words on placards – just an acronym of which a swear word is a part. Politicians attacked protesters who used these at Westminster (protesting against what happened on Clapham Common) and Bristol.

“#KillTheBill” could be seen as brutally provocative – suggesting that we should murder police officers, perhaps?

How the event was an ‘unlawful gathering’.

Clapham Common and Bristol, again.

They will under no circumstances admit that the police may have escalated a calm situation or otherwise acted to make things worse.

Clapham Common and Bristol.

In the past police and press have even gone as far as suggesting police were right to assault a man in a wheelchair for rolling towards them ‘aggressively‘.

After that, the article states, we get the opinion pieces that throw away the ambiguous language and push the narrative on us wholeheartedly. I’m waiting for the headline Feminazis hijacked protest to castrate cops.

(That is one of the claims about Bristol, by the way:)

Dogs were repeatedly [deployed] throughout the night [despite] how dangerous that is for the protesters, for the dogs, and even for the police, at least one of whom very nearly got castrated by his charge.

Of course, it’s all very well for me (or a member of the Anarchist Federation) to say this happens. Can we see actual evidence of it?

Yes. Yes, we can:

The headline is Demonstrators against policing bill class with officers in Bristol. Almost exactly “clashes between protesters and police”, wouldn’t you say?

The BBC report on which I based my previous article is riddled with examples of the techniques listed above. Passive voice:

Protesters clashed with officers

Arrests and police injuries:

Eight people have already been arrested after 21 officers were injured.

(Clearly the report has been updated with an extra arrest.)

Othering:

Home Secretary Priti Patel accused some protesters of “thuggery”

Avon and Somerset Police Chief Constable Andy Marsh said the protest had been “hijacked by extremists”

Victim-blaming:

demonstrators scaled the station, threw fireworks into the crowd and daubed graffiti on the walls.

At times there were as few as 50 police officers, facing 100 or more violent protesters.

Denial that the police escalated an otherwise calm situation:

Horses and dogs were used to great effect, but their numbers have been cut in the last decade.

Let’s just remind ourselves of what happened, from eyewitness accounts:

Police had a choice, line up defensively by their station perhaps, even pull back a little, or escalate and create a dangerous and increasingly violent situation. They chose the latter, and sent in the dogs, literally in the case of the canine units who would soon deploy, and metaphorically in the case of the human officers who baton charged the crowd, striking at the heads of those standing, kicking folks on the floor, and even hitting a young woman sat on the floor hands raised telling them this was a peaceful protest. [Afed article]

During the chaos someone let off a few fireworks in the crowd. Potentially dangerous, but less dangerous than those police dogs who did get taken away at this point, spooked by the loud noises (its unclear if this was deliberate). [Afed again]

They horse charged people who were sitting down peacefully and then there was a w***er with a baton randomly hitting people and things escalated from there. I was watching the live feed for most of the event. [Annabella, Vox Political commenter]

You see how it works?

Well, now you know how it works, and you’ll be able to identify it when they do it again.

Source: What actually Happened in Bristol – and How a Narrative is Built

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Slaughter by gaslight: why are we letting our leaders lie to us about the deaths they have caused?

His lying face: this is the expression Boris Johnson uses when he’s secretly laughing at you because he’s telling a lie that nobody is going to contradict – like his claim that he has done everything he can to save lives in the Covid-19 crisis when in fact he has caused more than 100,000 unnecessary deaths.

When the British Medical Journal demands the equivalent of a war crimes trial for British political leaders who have worsened the Covid-19 crisis, it’s time to sit up and pay attention.

In an editorial, the BMJ has accused Boris Johnson and his Conservative government of mass murder because he – and they – not only said they were

willing to allow tens of thousands of premature deaths for the sake of population immunity or in the hope of propping up the economy

but actually went through with it – allowing those deaths to take place.

The piece asks serious questions:

If policy failures lead to recurrent and mistimed lockdowns, who is responsible for the resulting non-covid excess deaths?

When politicians wilfully neglect scientific advice, international and historical experience, and their own alarming statistics and modelling because to act goes against their political strategy or ideology, is that lawful?

How big an omission is not acting immediately after the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020?

The BMJ goes on to suggest that Johnson’s failures and omissions amount to “social murder” – conditions created by the privileged classes leading to premature and “unnatural” death among the poorest.

Today, “social murder” may describe the lack of political attention to social determinants and inequities that exacerbate the pandemic.

Gaslighting

Elected ministers – not just in the UK but around the world – have dodged responsibility for the huge numbers of deaths caused by their deliberate decisions to ignore scientific advice and to avoid, delay or mishandle policies that would have saved lives.

They say they have done all they can – Boris Johnson relies on this one very often.

And Johnson also likes to tell us that there was no precedent for Covid-19, meaning he had no way of knowing what to do and when to do it.

He’s lying when he says these things.

Obviously he hasn’t done everything he could, because he ignored scientific advice and delayed vital decisions, causing tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

If you have a relative or friend who died because of Covid-19, it is probably because of Boris Johnson.

And he did have guidelines on what to do; they just hadn’t been updated since the Conservatives slithered back into Downing Street in 2010. In fact, they systematically dismantled the UK’s processes for dealing with a pandemic – deliberately ensuring that lives could not be saved.

Sadly, the media have not only allowed this gaslighting to go unchallenged but have often been complicit in it:

Truth has become dispensable as politicians and their allies are allowed to lie, mislead, and repaint history, with barely a hint of a challenge from journalists and broadcasters. Anybody who dares to speak truth to power is unpatriotic, disloyal, or a “hardliner.”

Ministers in the UK, for example, interact with the media through sanitised interviews, stage managed press conferences, off-the-record briefings to favoured correspondents, and, when the going gets tough, by simply refusing to appear.

It is this environment that has allowed covid denial to flourish, for unaccountability to prevail, and for the great lies of “world beating” pandemic responses to be spun.

How many excess deaths does it take for a chief scientific or medical adviser to resign? How long should test and trace fail the public before a minister of health or chief adviser steps down? How many lucrative contracts for unscientific diagnostic tests that are awarded to cronies or errors in education policy will lead to a ministerial sacking?

We know the answer now: it will never happen under the Johnson government. They consider themselves unaccountable and will never willingly accept responsibility for the more than 100,000 deaths we know they have caused.

Media complicity

One reason killers like the Tory government are getting away with it is the complicity of the mainstream media, which treats expert evidence as mere opinion, to be given only the same weight as the self-justifications of Johnson.

Simon Wren-Lewis, in his Mainly Macro blog, accurately states that the media have a heirarchy of opinion-holders, with politicians at the top – even though we know that politicians are either ignorant, or they are liars.

Scientific knowledge isn’t another opinion,

he states.

As long as the media treats scientific knowledge as opinion, it removes itself from reality and diminishes its audience.

And there’s no respite, even when the opinions put forward are transparently lies:

Obvious lies should be less of a problem because most journalists will recognise them as lies, and have the potential to call them such [but] so engrained is the notion of balance that often journalists do not even do that.

Time and again over the last decade, expert knowledge has been marginalised as just another opinion, with the opinions (or indeed lies) of politicians ranked higher.

Time and again, expert knowledge has been proved right and the politicians proved to be liars.

Professor Wren-Lewis points to austerity and Brexit as examples within the last decade, making the point that Covid-19 is taking us in the same direction:

Once again the media has decided that politics rather than expertise will drive its coverage. As a result, even after over 120,000 deaths, we have media coverage which sometimes balances the government’s policy against the opposition who want to follow SAGE, or worse the government’s policy against COVID nutters who happen to be Tory MPs. Worse still, the tiny minority of Barrington Declaration academics are given airtime even after they have been proved wrong time and time again.

As a result, the elimination (or zero-COVID) policy that is supported by many medics and is being followed by some countries, and is today being debated among medical experts has hardly been discussed at all in most media outlets.

Elimination is just not practical, it has been decided.

Whether this goes more widely as a BBC policy remains to be seen, but it is not the BBC’s job to decide that a policy recommended by many medics and economists familiar with pandemics, and implemented in many countries, is not practical.

if politicians get involved then knowledge goes out of the window.

No wonder certain politicians lie all the time when most of the media provides no deterrent.

Equally when a politician contradicts knowledge that is not known to journalists there is no deterrent provided by the media.

And people die in their tens of thousands.

And you sit there, spoonfed lies with a sugar-coating of “scientific knowledge is just opinion”, and let it go on.

But we are all part of the system and we can change it if we want. Right?

Or is our democracy just another sham?

Are you going to carry on sitting still while another 100,000 people die and Johnson lies to us that he isn’t responsible, or are you going to get up and have your say?

What will it take to make get up and take action?

Source: Covid-19: Social murder, they wrote—elected, unaccountable, and unrepentant | The BMJ

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Racist coward Home Secretary uses Parliamentary privilege to label Jeremy Corbyn a racist

Un-Priti: the smirking, smug Ms Patel used Parliamentary privilege to lie that Jeremy Corbyn was a racist, and to spread falsehoods after Labour MPs complained about her own misbehaviour.

Priti Patel: what a nasty piece of work she is!

This Writer feels comfortable in calling her a racist; she supported – by which I mean she voted for – the racist legislation that created the “hostile environment” policy at the Home Office, leading to the Windrush scandal.

And of course she is a close ally of Boris Johnson, who has proved himself to be a racist on many occasions.

Perhaps, then, she was trying to deflect attention away from her party’s, her government’s, and her own racism when she smeared Jeremy Corbyn as a racist in the House of Commons. The Independent reports:

Answering questions about recent protests linked to the death of George Floyd in the US, Ms Patel turned her fire on Keir Starmer for supposedly not breaking with the policies of his predecessor.

She said: “I’m saddened that the leader of the opposition has effectively failed to depart from the divisive, hateful, racist politics of its former leader.”

Ms Patel did not make clear exactly which of Mr Corybn’s policies she regarded as racist.

She could not; Mr Corbyn is said to be the only MP in Parliament who has voted against every piece of legislation that contained even the slightest possibility of a racist application.

https://twitter.com/Cornish_Damo/status/1272578747946991617

And she knows her claim was a lie – otherwise she would have made it outside the Commons chamber, where she would not be protected from prosecution by Parliamentary privilege. As it is, her words come across as cowardly, craven. And she was unable to support her claims in the Commons Chamber. Here’s The Independent again:

Her allegation came in response to a question from the Conservative MP for Wakefield, Imran Ahmad Khan, in which he referenced a letter to Ms Patel last week from black and minority ethnic Labour MPs – including a number of members of Sir Keir’s front bench – who accused her of using her own experiences of racism to “gaslight the very real racism faced by black people and communities across the UK”.

“It must have been a very different home secretary who as a child was frequently called a Paki in the playground, a very different home secretary who was racially abused in the streets or even advised to drop her surname and use her husband’s in order to advance her career,” she told MPs. “A different home secretary recently characterised … in The Guardian newspaper as a fat cow with a ring through its nose, something that was not only racist but offensive, both culturally and religiously. So when it comes to racism, sexism, tolerance or social justice, I will not take lectures from the other side of the house.”

Mr Ahmad Khan said: “The home secretary and I, along with other Conservative colleagues, have been subject to torrents of hateful prejudice and frankly racist abuse from the left’s legions outside – as well as, in the case of my right honourable friend, sadly from sources on the benches opposite – as we refuse to conform to their prejudices.

Last week’s letter came after Ms Patel told the Commons she would not “take lectures” from Labour MPs about her understanding of the issue of structural racism.

“We all have our personal stories of the racism that we have faced, whether it has been being defined by the colour of our skin or the faith we choose to believe in,” [it said].

“Our shared experiences allow us to feel the pain that communities feel when they face racism, they allow us to show solidarity towards a common cause; they do not allow us to define, silence or impede on the feelings that other minority groups may face.”

The letter was coordinated by the shadow community cohesion minister, Naz Shah, and signed by senior Labour MPs including Diane Abbott, Tulip Siddiq, Kate Osamor, Chi Onwurah, Seema Malhotra, Dawn Butler and Rosena Allin-Khan.

For perspective: just one of the people who signed the Labour letter – Diane Abbott – receives more racist abuse on a regular basis than every other member of Parliament put together.

Priti Patel’s claim that she will “not take lectures” from someone like that is an insult of the grossest kind – made worse by the fact that, even though Ms Abbott’s experience of racism is so much more acute, she, along with her colleagues, had written that their experiences “do not [italics mine] allow us to define, silence or impede on the feelings that other minority groups may face” – which was exactly what Ms Patel was trying to do.

How two-faced of the smirking Ms Patel – who, let’s not forget, was forced to resign in disgrace from a previous Tory cabinet after trying to conduct her own foreign policy, contrary to that of the government of the day.

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Question Time row: Fiona Bruce issues ‘clarification’ on Abbott gaslighting – but is it enough?

Do you think that this is enough of an apology from Fiona Bruce, for gaslighting Diane Abbott on the BBC’s Question Time on January 17?

Ms Bruce had joined Isobel Oakeshott, after Ms Abbott said Labour and the Conservatives were neck-and-neck in the polls, to claim that the latest poll showed Labour was behind. This was not true and Ms Bruce should have apologised.

I suggested yesterday that the programme would enjoy an upsurge of viewers for its first five minutes – who would switch off if they did not hear an apology in that time. The 20-second statement from Ms Bruce duly appeared midway through the show – ensuring that any viewers who did as I expected would not have a chance to hear it.

The official BBC statement stops short of an apology too.

Labour has made an official complaint, which includes other incidents reported about the Question Time recording in which Ms Abbott appeared.

It has been claimed by audience members that Ms Bruce and another BBC representative told jokes at Ms Abbott’s expense before the show was recorded, apparently to turn opinion against her. It is believed that this was recorded but the BBC is refusing to hand over the material.

And a sound technician said Ms Abbott’s microphone was turned down so she would find it harder to make herself heard.

So the Labour Party still has many reasons to complain.

I’ve already said I hope this goes to court. The BBC has been involved in too many rows like this and deserves a bloody nose.

As for Ms Abbott? She has come out of this smelling of roses:

If this unsavoury incident results in a little more support for the UK’s first black female MP – who receives more hate messages than all the country’s other politicians put together – then I’d say it did some good.

That’s in spite of the efforts of Ms Bruce, Ms Oakeshott and the BBC itself.

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Question Time row: Labour complains as the BBC manages NOT to apologise

The Tory-supporting BBC has got itself into a real pickle after Question Time host Fiona Bruce and fellow panellist Isobel Oakeshott tried to gaslight Diane Abbott over poll results.

They claimed that Labour were trailing the Tories when the most recent poll (by Survation, and therefore reliable) put Ms Abbott’s party three points ahead. It was a blatant lie that many of us witnessed. If you didn’t, see my recent article.

Now, according to the Mirror, Labour has made a formal complaint to the BBC.

The paper claims Labour have complained that Ms Abbott was incorrectly challenged during the programme. The complaint is also said to mention the level of interruption Ms Abbott faced – panelists or Ms Bruce stopped her 21 times, whereas Tory Rory Stewart was stopped nine times and the SNP’s Kirsty Blackman eight times.

And social media claims, reported in my previous article, that a BBC team member made inappropriate comments to the audience about Ms Abbott and Labour leade Jeremy Corbyn are also said to be included in the complaint.

The BBC’s press team has responded to the row as follows:

Many of us have been having fun with it.

Some have pointed out that YouGov is a Tory operation run by Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi, thereby calling its results into question.

Journalist Steve Howell addressed the inaccuracies in the statement:

This Writer made a pertinent point about the dates of recent polls:

Here‘s Gurdeep Sahota: “You were sorry to hear her concerns, now say sorry to … Your statement says that you reject anyone was treated unfairly. Do you now accept that she was treated unfairly? Can you broadcast this on the next episode?”

Or how about Audrey: “I’m pretty sure that what you wanted to say is ‘It was Fiona Bruce’s job to rectify Isabel Oakeshott on this, and we recognise that she failed to do so. On hers, and the BBC’s behalf, we profusely apologise to Diane Abbott!'”

Ms Abbott herself has written a piece in the Independent, calling her treatment “a disgrace”. She tweeted:

In her article, she wrote: “Over a long political career I have appeared on BBC Question Time innumerable times, but I have never had such a horrible experience as I had in Derby last week.

“Fiona Bruce… does not appear to be well briefed. She got the polling for Labour vs Tory wrong. She (or her researcher) appears to have got their figures from a Conservative Central Office handout. Above all, it seems she is not afraid to appear unfair as a presenter.

“I was interrupted more than twice the number of times that Tory MP Rory Stewart was interrupted, even though he spoke more times than I and for a longer period overall. I was not allowed to respond to a blatantly abusive remark from the audience. I’m also told that she made unpleasant remarks about me to the audience, before the programme was actually recorded.”

Note that the BBC has issued a denial – but not of what Ms Abbott alleged. It denied that “any of the panel was treated unfairly either before or during the recording”. This could refer to personal treatment, not references made about them to third parties.

Ms Abbott also made a crucial point regarding race: “Who could blame any young Bame women with an interest in politics and a left-of-centre ideology seeing the way that I was treated on Question Time and deciding that politics is not for her?”

That would suggest outright racism on the part of BBC employees.

Or perhaps they are simply following the Conservative “hostile environment” agenda.

Needless to say, there has been a huge gammon-based backlash against Ms Abbott on the social media. I won’t quote any of them; you can find out for yourself if you can stomach that much salted meat.

On a personal note, as the journalist who first wrote that Ms Abbott had been gaslighted by the BBC, it was pleasant to see others in the mainstream pick up on that term and bring it to a wider audience than I have here.

So Biba Kang in the Independent (again), wrote: “They’ve chosen to weaponise the public conception of Abbott as “ill-informed”, and are peddling the widespread and deeply problematic narrative that people of colour, and black people in particular, are paranoid and angry without cause.

“This approach is an incredibly common way of dealing with accusations of prejudice. It’s essentially gaslighting: the process of psychologically manipulating someone, such that they doubt their own sanity. By telling Abbott that she has in fact been mislead by erroneous social media reports, the BBC are actively undermining Abbott’s own experience of events. People of colour will be familiar with this insidious technique being used to undermine their legitimate concerns.”

Hear, hear.

And Faisa Shaheen tweeted:

No – these people need to be stopped.

The BBC has been self-regulating for far too long. I’m led to believe this is supposed to have changed recently but I see no evidence of any difference.

Perhaps it’s time the Corporation was taken to court over the damage it has been doing to the reputation – not only of prominent left-wing politicians like Ms Abbott – but of left-wing politics as a whole.

If Labour doesn’t get satisfaction from the BBC’s complaints department, then perhaps the party will take that option.

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Hypocritical Tories try gaslighting us with foodbank photocalls – but is something more serious behind it?

Tory porn: The ever-increasing food bank queue is entirely due to Conservative Party policies like Universal Credit and any claim to be concerned is the height of hypocrisy.

What is going on at the Trussell Trust?

Britain’s biggest food bank charity was once one of the wolves at the Tory government’s door; now it seems to be Theresa May’s poodle.

Has it been nobbled with another of the Tories’ famous gagging contracts, in which charities are blackmailed into promising not to criticise or embarrass the government or face the loss of funding? That seems possible – the Conservatives were threatening it, way back in 2014.

As Mrs May and her vile government of the privileged stares into the abyss being opened up by their failure of a Brexit deal, down which their support is likely to fall, it seems clear that they need to build up their profile if they are to have any chance at all in a snap general election.

So a series of photo opportunities in which MPs like Dominic Raab, Claire Perry, Ross Thomson and Stephen Crabb pretend to care about the people their policies have forced into food poverty – most obviously wherever Universal Credit has been rolled out – presumably seems a worthwhile wheeze. And Tesco seems to be getting a lot of free advertising from it!

We all need to be aware that they aren’t showing they care about us.

They’re taking the piss out of the poor – and they’re doing it to a script:

Click on the images in the tweet above to see a series of identical tweets from Conservative MPs working to that script.

But if they think we’re too stupid to see through this grotesque attempt at gaslighting, they need to think again. Witness:

Charlotte, who writes the Poor Side of Life blog which features true stories of people living at the sharp end of cruel Conservative policies that are geared towards harming the poor, also tweeted:

Hasan Patel told us:

Video legend EL4JC stated:

Ray Tallis pointed out:

Clare Hepworth directly addressed prime minister Theresa May:

She added, more generally:

Individual MPs came in for specific criticism, including Stephen Crabb:

Dominic Raab set himself up for particularly harsh – and totally deserved – criticism:

In response, David Schneider tweeted: “In predictable news, man who failed to realise we’re an island fails to realise connection between Tory policy and the poverty caused by Tory policy.

John Clarke suggested: “Alternative Headline: ‘Dominic Raab thanks turkeys for voting for Christmas!’ Dominic added: “Thank you, turkeys, I mean that most sincerely. No need for you to thank us humans for providing you with warm accommodation and a painless death at this time of year.”

Rachel Clarke (I have no idea if they’re related, although I doubt it) pointed to the facts: “Mr Raab, you cannot be unaware that the Trussell Trust’s own stats show >50% increase in food bank use in areas where universal credit was rolled out. Your policies have *created* this crisis and your faux concern is the height of hypocrisy.”

Libelling Tory misandrist Claire Perry, who falsely accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of anti-Semitism and regularly accuses men who take a different opinion from her own of “mansplaining”, was out opening a food bank in Devizes. She never thought for a moment that the opening of a food bank is no cause for joy. Fortunately James Colwell was available to explain – not “mansplain” – it to her:

https://twitter.com/J_A_Colwell/status/1069143080178200578

Dave Ward added: “Look at the state of this. A Tory MP smiles as she opens a foodbank. A true measure of an improving society would be closing foodbanks not opening them. They truly have no shame.”

Woflie wondered: “Doesn’t Claire Perry realise that every food bank that opens is proof that the Tory Government is failing? Is she really that stupid?”

Answers please to [email protected] on Twitter.

And Frances Ryan, who writes so movingly about the Tories’ benefit brutality, added: “Tories having a brilliant time at food banks is my new obsession.”

It was up to Steve Peers to make the obvioius overarching point – and he made it well:

“The only photo that could leave a positive impression is a Tory MP with a food bank closing due to a genuine lack of need for it.”

So these food bank photo op Tories have all failed.

Instead of making themselves look like champions of the people, they have drawn attention to their own heartlessness.

Related to this is the emergence of new Tory general election candidates. Put this together with the food bank photo opportunities and it suggess they have to be getting ready for something – right?

The Labour Whips’ Twitter feed came out with the obvious: “Nothing to see here, just Theresa May and the Tories getting ready for that General Election she says won’t happen…”

But here’s a thing: Commentators across the mainstream media are telling us that, even if Mrs May loses a vote on her rubbish Brexit deal, she won’t lose the “no confidence” vote that the Labour Party will inevitably demand afterwards.

If that were true, we would not be seeing this attempt to charm the public.

I would certainly advise constituency Labour parties to make sure they have a prospective Parliamentary candidate in place. If this means deselecting one of the centrists who have been such a hindrance to Labour since 2015, they need to get on with it now.

It would be grimly humorous if the Tory attempt at jollying up the public was what alerted us to their election plans.