Friday, 29 November 2019

Climate Change, fossil fuels and human welfare

The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change stated that the climate is a non-linear, complex, chaotic system that cannot be predicted. Early this century it deleted that acknowledgement from its website, not because the science had improved so as to render the climate predictable, but because it is an inconvenient fact. Indeed, all the predictions produced by the climate models have been shown to be false: always in the same direction: they have invariably over-estimated global warming.

This consistent error is due to the fact that the models are based on the global warming hypothesis. They treat the hypothesis as though it is a fact and thus, regardless of the data, they produce the assumed result: global warming.

The global warming hypothesis holds that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes increased average global temperature. However, the data do not support the hypothesis. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, there has been a constant increase in carbon dioxide emissions. The level of carbon dioxide has risen from 0.029% to 0.04%. Yet the average global temperature has not consistently risen. There was a warming trend from 1910 to the early 1940s. There was a cooling trend from then until the mid-1970s. There was a warming trend from then until 1998. Since when there has been no statistically significant warming. These data show the hypothesis to be flawed.

When the data do not support the hypothesis, a scientist recognises that there is something wrong with the hypothesis. But that is not how the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change operates. They have turned this fundamental principle of the scientific method on its head. Every report from the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change asserts ever greater confidence in its predictions even though all its predictions have been proven false.

The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change is not a scientific body. Its reports are not disinterested science. Its reports are political instructions for policy makers. This is why its supposed science is not self correcting. It is why it ignores data that disprove the global warming hypothesis.

The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change is a political body. Its mandate is to promote the Climate Change narrative in order to justify supra-national control over energy that is not subject to the democratic pressures of nation states.

The large scale burning of fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution has provided humanity with the energy that has resulted in unprecedented improvements in human well-being. As a result, people live longer than ever before. They are wealthier, better educated, less violent. In fact, on any measure of welfare, there has never been a better time to be a member of our species. The Climate Change narrative threatens all this progress.

The Climate Change narrative requires that we stop burning fossil fuels. This is essential if we are to stop emitting carbon dioxide. If we stop burning fossil fuels all the improvements we have made since the Industrial Revolution will be reversed. Life expectancy would plummet. Disease would be rampant. Education would become a scarce resource for a privileged tiny minority. Crime would soar. Even if the global warming hypothesis were correct, there would still be no justification for the policy of ending the burning of fossil fuels. The fact that there is no cost benefit analysis discussion of the burning of fossil fuels in the political mainstream is itself evidence that the Climate Change narrative has nothing to do with science and everything to do with politics.

Monday, 4 November 2019

Deep state good, says corporate media

Deep state exists, says the corporate media. This recognition comes after years of denial. For many years the faux journalists in the corporate media have characterised anyone who dared to point to the existence of the deep state as a conspiracy theorist (which was nicely ironic in that the term was invented by the deep state - the CIA - as a method of discrediting its critics). Now, in a fit of collective amnesia, the corporate so called journalists have forgotten that the deep state does not exist and are declaring it does exist and it is something we should all be grateful for.

The complete about face on the deep state is like something straight out of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four. We are supposed to have no memory of all their previous assertions and are now supposed to believe that the new narrative has always been the narrative. For years they said the deep state was a delusion of conspiracy theorists. Now they seamlessly assert that the deep state is protecting the people and the constitution. It is the selfless work of patriotic people who work for the government and uphold the public interest, even, if necessary, by acting against the instructions of the elected representatives of the people. This is doublespeak on steroids.

The new deep state narrative was, unsurprisingly, launched by the Council on Foreign Relations. This new narrative is obviously a response to the threat that members of the US deep state perceive from the complete collapse of their Russiagate regime change operation and the likelihood of the exposure to criminal charges of many of the deep state actors in that plot. James Clapper, John Brennan, James Comey, and many others must be seriously worried that their attempt to firstly prevent Trump's election and secondly to overthrow the election result or so seriously undermine his presidency as to be able to force policies contrary to those he was elected upon on his administration.

In the US this scandal will doubtless focus on the anti-democratic nature of the plot against Trump's presidency. But the real crimes lie in the motivations behind that attack, specifically Trump's policy of wanting to engage in friendly relations with Russia, his desire to end the US illegal wars and regime change operations, his desire to bring home US troops, his view that NATO is obsolete. The attack on his presidency has prevented Trump from implementing these policy positions and thus resulted in the US continuing is illegal wars at the cost of untold lives and misery. The changed deep state narrative is an attempt to protect the deep state from being held accountable by recasting them as patriots doing their best to protect the country and the constitution from the harm that would have been done by a rogue president.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Gender is a social fact

The rise of the trans phenomenon is based upon the distinction between sex and gender. Whilst sex is recognised as a biological fact, gender is seen as being merely social, a convention, an arbitrary construct of human whim. This view reveals a shallow, superficial sociology, which has more to do with wishful thinking than any sociological analysis or theory.

Gender is a social fact. And like all social facts, whilst malleable, it is neither arbitrary nor subject to personal determination.

Society, any society, is composed of an interlocking set of social facts. Individuals do not get to choose those facts anymore than they get to choose the facts of nature. Rather, social facts predate any specific individual; all of whom are born into a pre-existing social order. Gender is just one of the sets of social facts that exist in society. And it is no more a matter of personal choice than any other set of social facts.

Take money for example. Money is a social fact. Just look at a bank note. On its face is clearly stated that it is plainly not money, but merely a promise to pay a particular sum of money on demand. Yet, if one were to take a bank note to the Bank of England and demand that the promise by honoured, one would very quickly be shown the door. No official of the Bank would accept that the bank note was not in fact money. Promissory notes are, as a social fact, money.

Even though money is a social fact no one pretends that he or she can simply decide: I am a billionaire. No one thinks that if they were to declare that they were a billionaire, everyone else would acknowledge them as a billionaire and treat them accordingly. Although money is a social fact, its facticity is denied by no one. Everyone recognises that no one can by merely personal preference alter the (social) fact of money.

The same is true of all social facts. I might, for example, prefer that I am a general, but just because I assert I am a general does not make me a general. In order for me to be a general other persons have to recognise me as a general. This list could be elaborated virtually infinitely. However, I think the point is clear. Social facts are created by society, and are not open to change by any particular individual - and this is why the trans movement demands that so called misgendering (that is being accurate) be criminalised, for in order for the trans movement to be successful other persons must recognise the changed gender as the gender.

The trans movement is based precisely on the notion that the social facts of gender can be changed at the will of any particular individual. This is more than a revolutionary doctrine; it is an anarchic doctrine, which potentially threatens to undermine the whole social order. When who one is socially can be changed by mere personal preference, the sets of interlocking social roles, facts and institutions are all radically put a risk.

If I can change my gender by merely wishing it, why can I not change my age by merely wishing it? The response that age is a biological fact is only partially true, for age (just like sex and gender) is both a fact of biology and a social fact. In international law anyone under the age of eighteen is a child and anyone who is eighteen or over is an adult. Yet no one imagines that there is a fundamental qualitative change that occurs on a person's eighteenth birthday. The distinction is clearly social, albeit based on biology.

The trans notion of self identify is a radical threat to all social facts, for it denies the very facticity of the social order. Gender is a social fact, grounded on the biological fact of sex. The people who are pushing the notion that gender is a matter of personal choice are, doubtless, well intentioned, but their project threatens the very processes (the processes that create social facts) which hold societies together and make intersubjective meaning and understanding possible, the processes which ensure that social behaviour is predictable. Self identify is a road to anarchy.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Epstein and the media's changing narrative

On Saturday CNN reported that Jeffery Epstein had been found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. The report asserted that Epstein had been on suicide watch at the time of his death. By Sunday the corporate media had changed the story by asserting that Epstein had not been on suicide watch at the time of his death. This change was not reported as a correction to be original reporting; rather, it was presented as though it had been the story from the outset. This was just the first revision.

Next came the assertion that the video cameras (plural) had malfunctioned so there was no video evidence of what had happened. Then we were told that the correctional officers had been tired due to overwork and so had not periodically checked on Epstein in accordance with standard procedure.

On Monday, the Medical Examiner announced that an autopsy had been conducted but they were  unable to determine the cause of death. The faux journalists who work for the corporate media seemed to be completely devoid of curiosity as to why the Medical Examiner was unable to determine the cause of death of a man who had been found hanged in his prison cell.

The corporate media's (changing) story of Epstein's death seemed to be almost designed to create a storm of speculation, which is certainly what happened. One result of the storm of speculation was that President Trump retweeted a post that suggested that the Clintons might have been involved. This provided CNN, and other outlets, with a new angle to focus upon. Now the story became Trump was pushing a conspiracy theory and this proved he is unfit to hold office. Epstein's death faded into the background. The foreground was full of talk about how dangerous Trump is and how the twenty-fifth amendment should be implemented.

The Attorney General, William Barr, has ordered an investigation into the death of Epstein. Given that he was in jail and there were only a limited number of people with access to him, it should be relatively easy for the FBI to ascertain what happened and to do so in a relatively short space of time. I suspect that given the sensitivities issue and the biases of the FBI, the result of the investigation will be that Epstein committed suicide and that the MCC should review its policies and procedures. And the political media elite will heave a sigh of relief and simply say, "Nothing to see here, move along."

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Tom Watson: anti-Semtism blowback

Tom Watson, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, who has worked tirelessly to undermine Jeremy Corbyn, has found himself a victim of blowback.

Recently, Mr Watson demanded that any member of the Labour Party who was accused of anti-Semitism be immediately and automatically expelled from the party. Karma was not long in coming.

On Sunday, Professor Geoffrey Alderman wrote to the Labour Party's General Secretary, Jennie Formby, to formally complain about Watson. The professor cited Watson's Easter message, pointing out that it contained "the oldest antisemitic trope" - the allegation that the Jews were responsible for the torture and execution of Jesus.

Fortunately for Mr Watson, it appears that Ms Formby has decided to not follow Watson's advice, as he is still a member of the party.

The corporate media, which for years have been pushing at every opportunity the Labour-Party-is-anti-Semitic narrative, have chosen to completely ignore the accusation against Tom Watson, the second most senior member of the party. This would be completely incomprehensible if it were not for the fact that the whole purpose of the narrative is simply and exclusively to attack Corbyn and his supporters. Reporting that Watson had been accused of anti-Semitism would be completely counter to that purpose: hence the media pretence that it has not happened. By imposing this media blackout on what ought to be headline news, the corporate media clearly reveal their agenda in pushing this anti-Semitism scandal.


Friday, 19 July 2019

The witch finder tactic turned against a witch finder

Baroness Hayter compared Jeremy Corbyn to Adolf Hitler in the final days of the Nazi regime. She was immediately sacked from her position as Shadow Minister for Exiting the European Union. The Labour Party issued a statement describing her comments as deeply offensive, especially to Jews. The situation is imbued with irony on so many levels.

The Labour Party's response perfectly mirrored the tactic that Diane Hayter and her fellow travellers have consistently used against Jeremy Corbyn, and his allies, ever since he was elected leader of the party. The party took her words, wilfully misconstrued them, expressed outrage and responded punitively. This is precisely the tactic that Hayter et al have employed for years. They have pretended to see anti-Semitism, expressed outrage and demanded punitive action.

Now that this tactic has been employed against Diane Hayter, she and her supporters are apparently mystified that her words could have been misunderstood. She explains that she was not saying that Corbyn was like Hitler, but that like Hitler, Corbyn was not listening to information he did not want to hear.

Hayter's interpretation is of course entirely accurate. But it smacks of hypocrisy and double standards for her to offer the defence when she has repeatedly wilfully misconstrued the words of others, pretending that they constitute clear evidence of anti-Semitism, when the clearly do not.

Of course Hayter could have avoided this if she had not resorted to the use of figurative language (or trope, to use a term she and her ilk are especially fond of). If she had simply stated the Corbyn was not listening to message he did not wish to hear, it would have been completely uncontroversial. The fact that she did not stick to plain language, however, was no accident. She resorted to the Hitler trope because she wanted to implicitly accuse Corbyn of being anti-Semitic. She also avoided using plain language in order to hide her own malicious intent.

If she had simply said that Corbyn and his inner circle were not listening to messages they did not wish to hear, all she would have been accusing him of would have been groupthink. But pointing out that a party is engaging in groupthink isn't an accusation; it is a mere common place. All political parties are subject to groupthink. Indeed a political party that was not characterised by groupthink would be a political party being torn apart by internecine struggle. And this is precisely something she wish to avoid making plain, for she and the rest are tearing the Labour Party apart by engaging in internecine struggle. They do not accept the decision of the party to elect Corbyn as leader and are determined to overturn that decision, regardless of the cost. The accusations of anti-Semitism are merely the currently preferred tactic, the others having failed.

The sacking of Baroness Hayter is a step in a fight back. The use of the witch finder tactic is regrettable, but when the opposition is using this tactic, it may be the only effective tactic left.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

British concern for human rights: Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong

This week two events cast clear light on the British government's concern for human rights. The first was the government's response to the court of appeal's ruling that British arms sales to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are unlawful. The second was the government's response to the policing of the protests in Hong Kong. Both cases involved the issue of human rights. Yet the government took entirely inconsistent positions.

On Monday, in response to the court ruling arms sales to Saudi Arabia unlawful on the ground that the British government had not taken into account the use of such arms to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law, the government disagreed with the court's judgement and stated that it would seek leave to appeal. Yet the notion that the arms had not been used to commit such violations was not just false, but blatantly so. The Saudi led coalition waging war on Yemen has killed approximately one hundred thousand people, the vast majority of whom being civilians. The Saudis have targeted schools, markets, residential areas, funerals and weddings. The Saudis have even more lethally imposed an economic blockade upon Yemen, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths from malnutrition and preventable diseases. Nevertheless, the government incredibly asserts that its sales of arms has not resulted in human rights violations and British corporations should be allowed to continue the multi-billion pound business.

On Wednesday, the British government announced that the way the police in Hong Kong had responded to protests violated the human rights of the protesters and that the government would therefore stop the sale of crowd control materials to Hong Kong. It is worthy of note that not a single person died as a result of the protests. Indeed, if one compares the policing of the protests to other protests around the world, the Hong Kong police appear to have behaved relatively normally. In fact, in comparison to say the police response to the Gillet Jaunes in France, the Hong Kong police were remarkably restrained. A similar comparison could be made in relation to the Spanish police's response to Catalans voting for independence. Yet the British government has never felt moved to condemn such policing. Indeed, it has supported the French and Spanish governments in these clear cases of excessive use of force.

The contrast between the two cases is remarkably revealing. In the space of two days, the government denies that a genocidal war that the United Nations judged to be the worst humanitarian catastrophe in modern history involves violations of human rights, and condemns as violations of human rights a policing operation that would pass as normal in country after country across the globe. What this double standard throws into stark reveal is the fact that for the British state human rights are nothing more than a rhetorical weapon with which to attack its enemies.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Michael Gove, cocaine, double standards and hypocrisy

The public admissions by Michael Gove that he took cocaine have caused much media interest and comment. The focus has been firmly confined to how it might effect his bid to be the next leader of the Conservative Party and thus prime minister. All this coverage has completely ignored the fact that Gove has confessed to a serious criminal offence, punishable by up to seven years' imprisonment.

If the police were to charge Gove and the Crown Prosecution Service were to bring a prosecution, Gove would have no defence. The only issue before the court would be the sentence. Gove would, as a result of his public confession, only be able to offer a plea of mitigation, a request for leniency, after the conviction and before the pronouncement of the sentence. Yet no one in the political media elite seems to be aware of this legal fact. As far as the political media elite are concerned, the issue is simply a matter of politics: will it affect his chances of being elected leader of the Tory party?

The double standards and hypocrisy of the elite could not be more blatantly displayed. Whilst Gove was taking cocaine, he was simultaneously publicly denouncing such behaviour. As Education Secretary he presided over a regime that excluded teachers who had a history of taking illegal drugs. Yet, there is no question in the minds of the political media elite of holding Gove to account, either in terms of the criminal law, nor in terms of maintaining professional standards. There could hardly be a clearer case of the law applying only to some. Apparently, it is perfectly acceptable for the elite to impose laws and standards on the rest of society, whilst having complete immunity for themselves.

Such double standards bring the law, politics, the corporate media, indeed the whole of the establishment into disrepute. If senior politicians can break the law with impunity, why should anyone else be bound by the rules? This is hardly a rhetorical question. Yet it is one which is not even being asked, let alone answered.

Monday, 15 April 2019

The war on freedom of expression: the arrest of Julian Assange

Julian Assange was arrested last week. He was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy by the police. According to Prime Minister Theresa May, he was arrested on the grounds of bail violation and an extradition request from the American government. Assange later appeared before a magistrates' court, where the district judge, demonstrating his impartiality, described Assange as a narcissist. The arrest of Julian Assange is part of a much larger war on freedom of expression, and especially, the war on any attempt to challenge official narratives.

The US charge against Assange does not even make sense. The US allege that Assange conspired with Bradley Manning (as he then was) to hack a US Department of Defence computer. This charge is undermined by the fact that Manning had first tried to release the documents to the New York Times and the Washington Post. Neither outlet was prepared to publish these damning documents. Manning only then provided WikiLeaks with the documents. This sequence shows that Manning was in possession of the documents before any contact with WikiLeaks, which disproves the allegation. Furthermore, the US charge would require Manning to give evidence against Assange, but it is clear Manning is unwilling to do so. Manning is in fact being held in indefinite detention precisely because he has refused to provide any such testimony. The imprisonment of Chelsea Manning (as she is now) should in itself be a scandal. Manning is being held in indefinite detention until she provides a US prosecutor with testimony to indict another person. When prosecutors can use such tactics, no one is safe.

It is clear that the US charge against Julian Assange is simply a trumped up charge designed to provide the verisimilitude of due process, when the motive is really revenge for his publication of evidential proof of US war crimes.

The US persuaded Ecuador to go along with this travesty by a mixture of money and diplomatic support. Following a visit by Mike Pence, Ecuador received ten billion dollars in loans from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other international financial institutions dominated by the US. Ecuador also received ringing endorsements from western political leaders and much praise in the western corporate media. In return, Lenin Moreno revoked Assange's asylum and the Ecuadorian ambassador in London invited the police into the embassy to arrest Julian.

The British government went along with Washington's plan without any such obvious inducements. However, some members of parliament, whilst keen to participate in the persecution of Assange, were somewhat squeamish about being seen to be involved in such a blatant attempt to criminalise the publication of accurate information. Instead, they called for Assange to be extradited to Sweden on the basis of allegations of sexual misconduct, even though the Swedish prosecutor dropped the case years ago and there is no such extradition request. Whilst this move is patently absurd, it has not only the benefit of enabling them to pretend they are not persecuting Assange for journalism, it also enables them to attack Jeremy Corbyn as someone who is a supporter of sexual predators, an entirely new smear in the library of baseless smears against the Labour leader.

In the midst of all this propaganda, the facts that the documents WikiLeaks published revealed are silenced. The shocking images of helicopter gunship shooting down civilians are not shown in the television broadcasts on the story. This silence speaks volumes. Those who are participating in the persecution of Julian Assange are intent on silencing any and all challenges to the official narratives. They are engaged in a war on freedom of expression.

Friday, 5 April 2019

Soldiers shoot Jeremy Corbyn image

A video of British soldiers using an image of Jeremy Corbyn for target practice was posted on the Internet. The political media elite are outraged. The soldiers have been condemned by parliamentarians, government ministers and journalists. The Ministry of Defence issued an immediate statement. The ministry stated that the action was a clear violation of its standards and was unacceptable. There have been calls for the soldiers to be disciplined for conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline.

This incident exemplifies the warped values of the elite. They send our soldiers to foreign lands to fight illegal wars of aggression and celebrate. But when a few paratroopers in Kabul fire wax bullets at an image of a politician, they jump up and down with moral outrage. John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, declaimed he was horrified. Theresa May, the Prime Minister, condemned the behaviour as unacceptable. Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary, assured parliament that the incident was being investigated. Apparently, shooting an inanimate object is beyond the pale.

Whilst the hypocrisy of the elite is beyond belief, the howls of excoriation also reveal a complete lack of empathy. These British soldiers were sent to a foreign land to fight an illegal war of aggression. They were told they were going to protect the people. But they found the people do not want them. Indeed, they found some of the people were trying to kill them. They found little in the way of recreation - because people were trying to kill them. So they decided to make target practice a little more interesting by shooting the image of the VIP rather than the images of the assailants - for a laugh; a touch of light relief in the midst of a sea of boredom punctuated by moments of stress, fear and anger. And the political media elite demand an investigation, although they have already judged the behaviour to be completely unacceptable.

This rush to condemnation means it will be impossible for these soldiers to be treated justly. They are already publicly accused by the Ministry of Defence of conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline. This is a charge that the witch-finders would have well appreciated: it is an accusation that is itself proof. Indeed, it is an outrage that this military law still even exists. What is and is not contrary to good order and military discipline is clearly a subjective judgement. There is no way a soldier can defend himself from such a charge when it is made by the Prime Minister, the Defence Secretary, the Ministry of Defence, a general in the field and a host of corporate journalists. The accusations prove that the behaviour is contrary to good order and military discipline. It is legal equivalent of a tautology.

The values of the elite are so warped as to defy rational explanation. How can shooting an inanimate object by worse than illegally invading and occupying a foreign country? If anyone knows the answer, do tell.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Brenton Tarrant, the corporate media and censorship

Brenton Tarrant shot and killed forty-nine people on Friday in Christchurch. The corporate media love this story. News programmes have been dominated by the story. However, it is not the facts of the case that they are particularly concerned to report. Rather, their interest is in the narratives they can spin.

Brenton Tarrant is, according to the corporate media's so called journalists, a white supremacist. He live-streamed his attack. He had published a manifesto on the Internet prior to the attack. He used rifles for his attack. He was influenced by things he had read on the Internet. These few characteristics make the story endlessly fascinating for the corporate media. These details allow them to push their propaganda against freedom of expression, especially on social media. These details allow them to push their propaganda against dissenting views. These details allow them to push their propaganda against citizens having the right to bear arms. These details allow them to push their propaganda against any criticism of Islam. These details allow them to push their propaganda against Donald Trump and all the politicians they characterise as populists.

The use of this tragic event for propaganda purposes is not an aberration: this is normal practice for the corporate media. Exploiting tragic events is their stock in trade; their standard operating procedure.

In all the noise and emoting around this story, one theme is central: their fear of freedom of expression, especially on the Internet. Journalists, pundits, politicians and various forms of experts are rolled out demanding censorship of the Internet. Within hours, video of the attack was taken down. Within a day, Tarrant's manifesto was taken down.

The censorship of the manifesto is significant. It was his rationale for his actions, in his own words. And that is precisely what the corporate media did not want anyone to know. The last thing they want is someone else being able to define the narrative. In their view there is only one legitimate narrative: and it is theirs. The idea that people should have access to primary sources and be able to make up their own minds on the basis of the facts is something the whole of the elite agree should never happen. When WikiLeaks published Democratic Party documents Chris Cuomo told CNN's viewers that it was illegal for them to look at the documents and they could only know about them from the media. Bare-faced lying is also a norm in the media.

I read Tarrant's manifesto before it was taken down. There is nothing in it to justify the corporate media's assertion that he is a white supremacist. It would be more accurate to characterise him as a segregationist. His concern is with mass migration of Muslims into lands occupied by Europeans and people of European descent. His fear is that such migration will inevitably result in the host society having its culture and traditions undermined and eventually replaced. His fear is that the newly arrived will destroy the indigenous culture (apparently the irony of an Australian of European descent holding this view is lost on Tarrant).

Tarrant's manifesto contains other material that would fit uncomfortably with the corporate media's narrative. For example, he claims Candace Owens as a source of inspiration. She is what in the corporate media's racist world view is called black; an unlikely hero for a white supremacist. Tarrant also compared himself with Nelson Mandela. He did this in acknowledgement that his attack would be an act of terrorism. The point he was making was that now that the ANC's struggle has been won, Mandela is no longer regarded as a terrorist. The notion that terrorists are only terrorists when they are the losers but are heroes and emancipators when they are the victors is not a discussion the media wish to see discussed: it would raise far too many uncomfortable issues. No in the media wants to talk about Jewish terrorism, for instance.

The major problem for the corporate media with Tarrant's manifesto is simply that it sounds far to reasonable, too rational, too dispassionate. This is, of course, the exact opposite of the corporate media portrayal. Clarissa Ward (who infamously pushed jihadi propaganda for CNN) has appeared on television, waving the manifesto, claiming it is a deranged, hate-filled rant. There are many criticisms would could make of the manifesto, but deranged and rant are so far off the mark as to render the language meaningless.

The corporate media are afraid of Tarrant. They do not want anyone to hear his voice, his narrative. And so they immediately demanded that his words be removed from the Internet. And this is what they do to anyone who expresses a competing narrative. They describe themselves as liberals in favour of freedom of speech, but their consistent practice is to push for ever more censorship. They not only regret the passing of the days when they were the gatekeepers of public discourse, they are determined to re-establish that hegemony.

I am reminded of Pastor Neimoller's words. "First they came for the Communists, And I did not speak out, because I was not a Communist." Today they censor Brenton Tarrant, and they know you will not speak out. Yet if the right to freedom of expression means anything, it means the right to say things that are disagreed with.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Democracy dies when the losers refuse to accept the result

It was Harold Wilson who famously stated that a week is a long time in politics. This week must have seemed like an eternity to Theresa May. On Tuesday, parliament again voted down her Withdrawal Agreement. On Wednesday, parliament voted against leaving the European Union without a deal. And on Thursday, parliament instructed the government to seek an extension to Article 50. Three resounding defeats on the government's flagship policy.

At anytime in previous parliamentary history such defeats would have brought down the government. However, the Fixed Term Parliament Act allows Theresa May to cling to the trappings of power. Yet it is obvious to all that she is no longer in control of events. Indeed, on Thursday members of her own Cabinet defied a three line whip and did not resign, repudiating the doctrine of collective responsibility. Worse still, she is now having to work against her constantly reiterated (more than one hundred times from the despatch box) assertion that the country will leave the European Union on the 29th of March and having to ask the European Union for more time.

Even worse, this new policy position that parliament has forced on the executive is utterly incoherent, as it does not specify the purpose nor the duration and the European Union has repeatedly made it clear that they would only consider a request for an extension if there is a clear purpose. This lack of clarity can only cause further uncertainty and confusion. If the request is for a short extension, it would only be granted if the European Union were assured that the current Withdrawal Agreement would be accepted by parliament - something parliament has repeatedly declined by massive majorities to do. Any other reason for an extension would require a much longer delay, which would mean that the United Kingdom would have to participate in the European parliamentary elections - something wanted by neither the European Union nor the United Kingdom.

These three days of government defeats in the House of Commons have shown that parliament is strong enough to prevent the executive from governing but too divided to wrest control and direction of the executive from the government. This outcome is a direct result of the clash between direct democracy and representative democracy which was set in train by David Cameron's decision to hold a referendum on the issue of membership of the European Union. When he made that decision, he was sure that the result would be Remain. If he had been right, there would have been no problem. But the people ignored all the warnings and exhortations and voted for democracy: a result that is unacceptable to the elite. But the political class cannot just simply and plainly tell the people their votes count for nothing: it would strip away the image of consent and reveal the stark truth that parliamentary democracy is merely an illusion.

The actions of parliament this week have partially stripped away the mask. The events of the next two weeks will determine whether or not the mask will be discarded completely. The only way to prevent that disillusion would be for the country to leave on the 29th of March, the current legal default. Theresa May could still bring about that outcome, but only if she is prepared to defy both parliament and her own Cabinet. Will she? I doubt it.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Javid exploits May's correlation gaffe

Last Friday night a seventeen year old girl, Jodie Chesney, was stabbed to death in a leafy London suburb. The political media elite immediately went into moral panic mode. In the midst of this moral panic Theresa May asserted that there is no "direct correlation" between the numbers of police officers and violent crime. Politicians, senior police officers and the corporate media all immediately poured scorn and contempt upon her assertion. Yet, the prime minister is undoubtedly and obviously correct.

For decades crime, including violent crime, has been declining. Yet over the same decades the number of police officers has risen and fallen. Any dispassionate analysis of the figures would lead to the conclusion that there is no direct correlation between the number of police officers and the incidence of criminal acts. Crime clearly has causes that are at least partially independent of the number of police officers.

Yet, the prime minister's claim is being treated with withering contempt, as though it is the height of foolishness, by the elite. News programme after news programme is filled with supposed experts, and people who obviously have no expertise, asserting that there is an obvious (albeit unexplained - indeed, completely contradictory rationales are offered) link between the number of police officers and the rate of violent crime. However, if this constantly repeated assertion were correct, the statistical evidence would show declining crime consequent to increased police numbers and increasing crime consequent to reduced police numbers: there is no such statistical evidence.

This lack of evidence is, however, completely unimportant, as the "debate" is not about evidence. It isn't even a debate. It is, in fact, a moral panic. The death of Jodie Chesney was only one in a series of such incidents, but it triggered the moral panic because her death showed the elite that it could affect them (rather than just poor people). This triggered an emotional response and ensured that thinking by the elite on this subject was now confined to the level of intuition. In this context, merely pointing to disconfirming evidence is, at best, proof of idiocy and, at worst, downright evil.

Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, who is doubtless well aware that there is no direct correlation between police numbers and crime, has decided to side with the herd and repeatedly asserts that there is a link, even though his government has been responsible for reducing police numbers by more than twenty thousand.

Javid is obviously positioning himself for a bid to be the next leader of the Conservative Party. He is using the tried and tested law and order card, making a direct appeal to the members of the party across the country. He knows they will, just like the corporate media so called journalists, be taking that view that more police officers would mean less crime. He knows that they will not be considering the statistical evidence and would dismiss it out of hand even if it were presented to them. He knows May's accurate assertion was a serious political gaffe and, out of ambition to be the next leader, he is prepared to exploit that gaffe for all it's worth.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

May and Corbyn try to hold their parties together

Today Theresa May yet again returned to parliament to make a statement on her deal to leave the European Union. And, yet again, she was unable to announce any progress. Instead, she announced that the government would put her deal back to parliament in the middle of March - the deal that was supposed to have been decided upon by parliament back in December.

However, she did present parliament with some variations. She promised to allow parliament to vote, not only for her deal, but if they voted it down, they could also vote on leaving without a deal, and, if they voted against doing so, they could vote to instruct the government to seek an extension of Article 50, so as to delay our leaving. This was a massive concession to the Remainers in parliament, as could be seen from the fact that Oliver Letwin immediately after the debate posted a tweet saying the Cooper/Letwin proposed bill, which would seek to ensure the government seeks a delay, is no longer necessary.

The prime minister's change of position was clearly motivated by the public threats of members of her government to resign if leaving the European Union without a deal was to become government policy or even merely an inevitable consequence of not being able to secure a parliamentary majority for her deal. Yet, from the sequencing she set out, it is clear that she was determined to use this u-turn that her own ministers had forced upon her as leverage to force Leavers to vote for her deal, regardless of the concessions that she might be able to squeeze from the European Union.

Theresa May was also assisted by the Labour Party leadership in this tactic. They had announced last night that they would now support a second referendum. Whilst this move by the Labour Party is unlikely to be capable of commanding a majority, it can only act to put further pressure on those who wish to leave. Thus, the effect of the changes in positions by the two front benches has been to strengthen the Remainers and to frighten the Leavers with the prospect of our remaining in the European Union.

For Theresa May, this is a high risk tactic. She is risking creating a civil war within her own party. The Remainers in her parliamentary party are a small minority. Even more significantly, the Remainers are a tiny minority in her party in the country. A failure to deliver (and in the near future) our exit would almost certainly make it impossible for her to govern.

Similarly, Jeremy Corbyn's change of position is one that has been forced upon him in an effort to maintain party unity, but equally runs the risk of causing a serious split in the party. Whilst the majority of the Labour Party, both in parliament and the country, are Remainers, this is not the case with Labour voters. Many Labour members of parliament represent Leave constituencies and all of them were elected at the last general election on a manifesto that promised to respect the result of the referendum. Thus, in trying to hold his party together, Corbyn is risking alienating his electoral base and ensuring that Labour lose the next general election - something his enemies, all of whom are Remainers, in his own parliamentary party would consider to be a price worth paying, as they would assume that they would then be able to be rid of him.

The paradoxes are the inevitable result of the clash between representative democracy and direct democracy that was unleashed when David Cameron decided to call the referendum on the issue of the European Union: an issue that does not neatly fit into the traditional party politics. The referendum was bound to create serious problems for both the Conservatives and Labour. But the political elite were sure that Remain would win and the problem would be shelved for at least a generation. However, once Leave won the vote, it was inevitable that the issue would be all consuming. And so it has proved to be.

It is three years since the contest was set in motion and, throughout those three years, the political elite have been obsessed by the issue. Even now, a mere month before we are scheduled to leave, there is no certainty about what will happen, other than the arguments will continue.

Monday, 18 February 2019

SDP MkII

This morning a group of seven members of parliament announced their resignations from the Labour Party. They cited concerns about leaving the European Union, anti-Semitism, Jeremy Corbyn and the failure of the major political parties to listen to the electorate as their reasons. The rationale was that mixture of the truth and dishonesty that so often characterises contemporary political discourse.

The concern about leaving the European Union, for example, is both true (they are all Remainers) and highly misleading, as they all stood on a manifesto in the 2017 general election that promised to respect the 2016 referendum decision to leave the European Union. The expressed concern with anti-Semitism is even less truthful, as they all know that it is a confected issue, which was created after Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the Labour Party as part of an attempt to over turn that decision. Indeed, all seven of these members of parliament have constantly opposed Corbyn and have engaged in the repeated attempts to institute a party coup. But even more disingenuous is the claim to be concerned about the failure of established parties to listen to the electorate. All of these members of parliament have consistently ignored the wishes of the electorate. They have supported wars of aggression and regime change operations. They have sought to deny the result of the referendum. They have consistently supported the neoliberal globalist agenda. And now, having resigned from the Labour Party, they refuse to resign from parliament and stand in by elections, denying the electors the opportunity to either endorse or reject them. On this latter point, it is noteworthy that whilst they all claim there is a demand for a re-run of the referendum, they all claim that the last thing the electors want is another election. The special pleading and motivated reasoning could hardly be more blatant.

This move by these members of parliament is highly reminiscent of the breakaway of the gang of four back in the early 1980s. However, there are significant differences. The gang of four were high ranking members of parliament, with substantial following. They had a great deal of money. They immediately established a new political party, the SPD, and they had a coherent manifesto. This new version has none of these advantages. The only thing it has going for it is the corporate media's anti-Corbyn stance, which will doubtless ensure that the seven can be sure of as much air time and news coverage as they could wish for. This was, of course, something that the SDP also enjoyed. Yet it did them no good at all.

The prospects for this new Independent Group, as the seven are styling themselves, look decidedly bleak. The notion that there is significant support for them inside the Labour Party or the wider electorate is little more than wishful thinking. Whilst there is significant scepticism and even hostility towards the established political parties, these seven are actually the embodiment of the reasons for such hostility. The policy positions they support are precisely the policy positions that the vast majority of the electorate reject. This can be seen clearly, and ironically, in the fact the policies of Jeremy Corbyn, which they are so implacably opposed to, are precisely the policies that approximately seventy percent of the electorate support.

Whilst the future is unknowable, it nevertheless seems highly likely that after a short period of media limelight, the breakaway seven will find the move has effectively ended their political careers, condemning them to irrelevance and impotence.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Cabinet papers

Yesterday in parliament was, as a number of members of parliament noted, rather like groundhog day. Yet again the House of Commons was being asked to endorse the government's plan for leaving the European Union. On this occasion, the government motion merely asked the House to reiterate its position of the 29th of January. And so, with minor variations mainly for reasons of stylistic variation, the same set pieces were once more rehearsed.

However, there were some significant changes to this drama. Firstly, due to the way the government motion was worded, which incorporated, not only its own previous motion and the amendment it had supported, but also the Spelman motion (which opposes leaving without a deal), which it had opposed, the government secured its own defeat. Secondly, and much more significantly, Anna Soubry moved an amendment that would have required the government to publish papers the Cabinet had discussed on the impact of leaving the European Union without a deal. At the conclusion of the debate, the minister asked Soubry to withdraw her amendment on the basis that the government would publish (against all precedent) the said papers. Soubry agreed.

When Soubry had moved the amendment, she made it clear that she knew at least the gist of what the papers concluded and the gist of the Cabinet discussion and that a number of members of the Cabinet had called for the papers to be made public. This astonishing revelation was met with remarkably little comment from the rest of the House. And indeed, the corporate media seem to be remarkably incurious about how a backbencher had access to the proceedings of the Cabinet.

Nor do I know how Soubry knows what happens in the Cabinet. However, such access could only be as a result of a leak from a member of the Cabinet. The obvious suspect would be Amber Rudd (a Remainer). Yet Rudd is loyal to Theresa May and it is unthinkable that she would leak to Sourby (an arch, some might even say, hysterical Remainer) without at least the tacit approval of May (a Remainer), which leads to the inevitable conclusion that the prime minister is actively undermining the constitution, specifically Cabinet government, collective responsibility and privilege in order to exert parliamentary advantage. The advantage for Theresa May in having these papers published would be to frighten both Leavers and Remainers into voting for her Withdrawal Agreement.

There are a number of ironies in this tactic; not least of which is the use of Soubry by the government to push Remainers into voting to leave the European Union, which is precisely the opposite of what Soubry wants.

I have never been particularly impressed with Theresa May's skills as a politician. But, if my speculations about the Soubry amendment are correct, it seems May is actually student of both Machiavelli and Sun Tzu, which causes me to doubt my specualtions.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Venezuela: the situation looks bleak for the people

The disinformation explosion on the issue of political situation in Venezuela is surely so caricatured as to be self-defeating. The political and media elite seem to be incapable of discussing this issue without resorting to blatant lies and hypocrisy. These are so obvious that anyone who is even half-awake cannot help but notice.

A concern for human rights, democracy and the rule of law are asserted as a justification for an illegal regime change operation to overthrow a democratically elected government, which risks the unleashing of a civil war that would inevitably result in mass violations of human rights. Yet, this is precisely what politicians and journalists are daily trying to sell to their domestic audiences.

The narrative of the US and its allies is beyond absurd. Its antimonies are so obvious that one can only assume the narrative is not even intended to persuade. The ruling class apparently no longer even care whether or not their lies are believed. The only purpose such blatantly absurd propaganda can serve is to provide a clear demarcation between those who support the rulers and those who oppose them.

According to the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, France and others, they have the right to decide who is the president of Venezuela. Yet, these same governments have for years consistently condemned Russia for allegedly meddling in the domestic politics of another country. And the same corporate news media organisations that have pushed that narrative are now equally assiduously pushing the narrative that meddling in the domestic politics of a foreign country is a good thing to do. Apparently, no one is supposed to notice the contradiction. And if anyone is tactless or honest or principled enough to do so, they are immediately vilely abused as Chris Williamson discovered in the British parliament when he had the audacity to point this out in the House of Commons.

Nor is anyone supposed to notice that these same governments and same corporate media organisations provide fulsome support for countries that do not have any respect for human rights, democracy or the rule of law. Their support for the barbarous regime in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an obvious example. If the United Kingdom is really concerned about human rights, democracy and the rule of law, how can it support the House of Saud? The question answers itself - it couldn't. Yet it does. And this too is supposed to go unnoticed.

However, none of this is new. The same people peddled not dissimilar lies to justify previous regime change operations. The public were told that President Assad was a monster; that Gaddafi was a potential genocidal maniac; that Yanukovych was a murdering dictator. The propaganda was used to justify support for jihadists, the bombing of Libya back to the Middle Ages, and the organisation of a violent coup d'etat by neo-Nazis, who immediately unleashed civil war upon their fellow citizens. All of which happened in the last decade. Yet the public are not supposed to remember. They are assumed to have the memory capacity of the proverbial goldfish in a bowl.

The US uses the same playbook over and over again. It demonises the leader of the target country. It imposes economic sanctions to create domestic discontent. It covertly funds and organises domestic opposition. Its corporate media amplify the propaganda and demands that something must be done. Allies are conscripted to beat the drum. If the government is still standing, the military are despatched. And no one is supposed to notice the misery and mayhem; but, if they do, it was a price worth paying.

The situation in Venezuela is now approaching the end game. All the pieces, long prepared, are now in place. An obscure opposition figure, Juan Guadio, has been proclaimed the president by the democratic fiat of the US government. However, the actually elected president, Nicolas Maduro, is still standing, so the US has stated that military options are on the table. CNN has manufactured news of military defectors calling for US arms.

The situation looks bleak for the people of Venezuela. The only allies the Venezuelan government has in the region are Bolivia, Nicaragua and Cuba. When President Assad beat off the US and its allies, he did so by the direct, military support of Russia. Whilst Russia is providing Venezuela with diplomatic support, it is highly unlikely that it could do more and, without serious outside support, it is difficult to see how the Venezuelan government will be able to fend off the US and its allies indefinitely. As John Bolton, the US National Security Advisor, has made clear, US oil companies want control of Venezuelan oil fields: and whatever American corporations want is generally provided by the US government.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

May unites her party, for now

Two weeks ago Theresa May suffered the worst defeat of any government in British parliamentary history. Her Withdrawal Agreement was resoundingly rejected by parliament. Yet last night she brought the draft deal back to parliament and with the help of an amendment, which called for the so called Backstop to be removed, managed to turn her defeat into a victory. The result means that she now has to return to the European Union and request substantive changes to the draft and return to parliament in a further two weeks.

Theresa May also won other victories in parliament last night. The amendments to her motion, from Dominic Grieve and Yvette Cooper, that sought to enable parliament to take control over the executive on this issue were defeated. The amendment that had called for a so called People's Vote wasn't even tabled, as it supporters knew they could not win. And only the ineffective Spelman amendment, which expressed the view that a no deal exit should be avoided, was passed.

In the space of two weeks, without anything changing, May has managed to move from defeat, a resultant no confidence vote and the potential downfall of her government, to being able to command a majority and appearing to be in command of events.

This change of fortune is, however, more apparent than real. The change demanded by the parliamentary vote is unlikely to find much favour in the European Union. Indeed, within minutes of the votes, Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, made it plain that the European Union would not consider changing the draft agreement. This position was echoed by the European Commission and by the capitals of Paris and Dublin. It was also underlined by the Brexit Steering Group of the European Parliament.

So Theresa May has managed to gain another two weeks' breathing space. But this is merely kicking the proverbial can down the road. Yet it is a road that suits her, for the clocking is ticking, and as we move ever closer to the 29th of March, the panic and hysteria of all those who wish to avoid leaving without a deal grows ever more intense, as the passing of the Spelman amendment showed. A cynic might say that May is attempting to use the threat of leaving without a deal (the legal default position) in order to force the European Union to compromise and to force parliament to vote for her deal.

Commentators in the corporate media immediately interpreted the votes in the House of Commons as making leaving the European Union without a deal as less likely. However, the Confederation of British Industry this morning advised its members to step up preparations for a no deal outcome. And this assessment seems much more realistic. It is unlikely that the European Union will provide May with the concessions she needs to get the deal through parliament. It is equally unlikely that May will pivot towards a so called softer Brexit (ie, leaving in name only), as it would destroy her party's ability to govern. The only other alternatives require either an extension to article 50 (which would require the unanimous consent of the other 27 member states) or its revocation: either of which would result in civil war in her party.

Theresa May is confronted by an insoluble puzzle. There simply isn't anything she can do that will be acceptable to both the European Union and to a majority in the House of Commons without destroying her own government. This has been obvious ever since her Chequers proposal, and her strategy ever since has been to delay and run down the clock: a strategy that inevitably leads to the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without having agreed a deal.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Historic defeat for May and the Withdrawal Agreement

Last night the government suffered an unprecedented defeat. Theresa May's withdrawal agreement with the European Union was voted down by a majority of two hundred and thirty. The size of the defeat would have brought down any previous government. Yet without even a moment's reflection, Theresa May made it clear that she intended to carry on.

Theresa May has proved to be a remarkably resilient prime minister. Again and again, she has brushed aside events that would have brought down any other prime minister and government. Only last month, brushed off a vote of no confidence in a her leadership of the party. Whilst it is true that technically she had won the vote, she only did so because of the convention that all members of the government have to vote for the leader. A similar result had famously brought down Margaret Thatcher.

Whilst May brushed off the biggest defeat in history as though it were nothing more than a minor set back, it is not the end of her troubles. Later today she faces a vote of no confidence in her government. Downing Street and the corporate media are all pushing the line that she will win the vote. The basis for this judgement is the assumption that her own party will vote for her (in preference to the fear of Jeremy Corbyn, who they affect to see as a dangerous Marxist) and the DUP will (albeit somewhat ironically) vote for her because her withdrawal agreement has been defeated, removing their fear of the Irish Protocol.

The prediction that May will win the confidence vote may well be correct (although it would only require a handful of abstentions in her party to bring her down). Yet it is bizarre that a government that cannot command a majority in the House of Commons and cannot get its flagship policies through the House can struggle on from one crisis to another as though nothing of significance has happened. Worse still, it seems obvious that the government does not have the creative capacity to think of any way of leaving the European Union that could command a majority in the House.

This impasse means that the legal default position - that the United Kingdom leaves the European Union on 29th March without a deal - is the most likely scenario. This is especially ironic, as of all the possible options, it is the one that has the least support in parliament. Yet, it is probably the only way this weak government can still implement the decision of the 2016 referendum.

Leaving without a deal is, of course, precisely the worst possible outcome in the view of the elites, both in this country and in the European Union. Thus, the hysteria and panic are ramping up. There are constantly reiterated assertions that parliament must not allow a no deal. There are constant demands that the government must rule out no deal. There are constant demands that there must be a people's vote. There is an air of unreality to all these shrill demands. The corporate journalists, the pundits and the politicians making them generally do so without any indication of what they would involve.

The call to re-run the referendum, for instance, is made without any apparent recognition that it would require the government to initiate it, or that it would take six months or so to organise, or even what the question on the ballot paper would be (although they obviously want remain). Similarly, those demanding that parliament rule out a no deal do not seem to appreciate that parliament does not have the capacity to do so, as it would require the government to bring forward the necessary legislation. And those who demand that the government rule out no deal do not seem to understand that the government was elected on a manifesto that promised to implement the result of the referendum and that they are therefore demanding that the Tory party commits political suicide. Indeed, the only way to prevent the country leaving without a deal would be for the remainers to capture the executive.

According to Sky News sixty-one percent of people think the country is in crisis. Frankly, I doubt it: but answers depend on how you ask the question. However, what I do not doubt is that the political elite is in crisis. It is a crisis of its own making. Parliament delegated the decision as to whether to leave the European Union to the people, fully expecting the decision to be  remain. The people decided otherwise, and ever since, the political elite have been grappling with the insoluble problem of how to appear to leave whilst actually remaining. There simply is no solution to this problem, and as the March deadline draws ever closer, the panic and hysteria rise ever higher.

It is an open question how far their desperation will drive them. The Speaker of the House, John Bercow, has already shown that he is not above overthrowing the constitution. Doubtless others in parliament will be tempted down the same path. Indeed, there has already been mutterings of using an all party backbench committee to capture control of the executive, which would be a truly revolutionary move.

The clash between direct democracy and representative democracy set in train by the result of the referendum is testing the constitution to the limit. Should the political elite fail to implement the result of the referendum even greater tests may follow.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Do they even listen to themselves?

Anna Soubry, a member of parliament famous for emotively insulting Leavers, was called a Nazi by some people outside the House of Commons on Monday. The political media elite, of course, immediately denounced the insult as unacceptable. However, they were not content to leave it at that and have talked themselves into a hypocritical hysteria.

John Bercow, the Speaker of the House, demanding that everyone use moderate language and conduct debate and the expression of differences of opinion in a respectful manner, denounced protesters as fascists. He also took the opportunity to write to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to demand that policing practices in parliament and its environs be changed. This was a clear attempt to use his public office to interfere with the operational independence of the police. A fact that was apparently lost upon both him and the House of Commons.

Government ministers have also chimed in, calling the people who insulted Ms Soubry morons and thugs. Again with the caveat that everyone should use moderate and respectful language.

In the wake of this political moral panic, where members of parliament, such as Stepehen Doughty, are darkly referring to the murders of Jo Cox and Police Constable Keith Palmer, to attacks on public service personnel, to racist and misogynistic attacks especially on the Internet, the corporate media are demanding the police do something, regardless of the law.

The Metropolitan Police were forced by this chorus of moral indignation to issue a statement. They said that they took the matter very seriously and were investigating to see if any crimes had been committed. To see the absurdity of this, one only has to reflect on the fact that daily the Metropolitan Police fail to investigate known actual crimes because they apparently lack the resources. However, they can devote both investigative and preventative resources to the problem of people using mean words.

As one listens to all this, one has to wonder if they even listen to themselves. Whilst demanding that everyone uses moderate, respectful language, they use the most inflammatory language and demonise people who are guilty of nothing more than exercising their fundamental human right to freedom of expression. This is the path to censorship and totalitarianism.

Indeed, the censorship has already begun. One of the people who called Soubry a Nazi, James Goddard, has had his Facebook and Paypal accounts deleted. The corporate media are casually referring to him as far right, as though the label somehow proves he is not entitled to an opinion. And this is, of course, by now the standard operating procedure of the neoliberal globalists. Dissent that cannot be ignored is firstly demonised and if that does not succeed, it is censored.


Thursday, 3 January 2019

Obesity is a disease, claim health experts

The Royal College of Physicians has called for obesity to be classified as a disease. This is yet another example of the health industry's attempts to medicalise everything. It is equally yet another example of the elite's desire to make words mean whatever they want them to mean.

The Royal College of Physicians' rationale for classifying obesity as a disease is based on the idea that it has a genetic basis. This is, of course, true. All human conditions have a genetic basis: they would not exist if there was no genetic basis. If you did not have the genetic basis for breathing, you would not be able to breathe - and so on. There is a genetic basis to all life, and to all the forms it takes both in terms of species and in terms of individuals. Claiming that something has a genetic basis says nothing. To assert that obesity has a genetic basis is nothing more that a sciency sounding tautology.

In 1980 ten percent of the British adults were obese. Today, the figure is thirty percent. The increase is not due to some (mysterious) change in the genetic make up of the British people. It is due entirely to changes in behaviour. The rise in obesity is directly correlated with changes in diet and decreasing levels of physical activity. The fact is that we live in an obesogenic environment. Work is far less physically demanding than it used to be. Travel is much more likely to be a non-phyiscal activity. Much leisure time is spent watching screens. Foods are cheap and plentiful. Corporations spend billions marketing foods that are high in calories and low in nutritional value. People consume calories that they do not use and those unnecessary calories are converted into fat: a process that inevitably over time leads to over-weight and ultimately obesity.

To describe this process as a disease is to seriously abuse the language. This abuse of the language runs the risk of encouraging people to think that the condition is not a result on their behaviour, but an unfortunate affliction over which they have no control. It denies agency and disempowers people. The desire to classify obesity as a disease is doubtless well meaning, but it is dishonest, false and risks making the problem worse by inculcating a sense of fatalism in people who are obese or at risk of becoming obese.

The problem of the rise in the prevalence of obesity is not a medical problem. It is a social problem. It stems from the way society is organised. As such, the solution is not to medicalise obesity, but to introduce social policies that promote a healthier lifestyle by removing, or at least reducing, the obesogenic aspects of the environment.