Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019


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Kim Sanders-Fisher
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Boris Johnson needed to detract from the ongoing ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests, pretend he was taking the protesters grievances seriously and organizing a decisive plan of action, so he announced yet another inquiry to report on issues that have already been reported on time and time again. He is hoping that his “cross-government inquiry into ‘all aspects’ of racial inequality in UK” will appease the protesters with screeds of redundant duplicate paperwork that we all clearly recognize as just another massive kick into the long grass. According to the Telegraph, where Johnson planted his latest pearls of wisdom, “the new commission will report directly to Mr Johnson and also be overseen by equalities minister Kemi Badenoch.” Yep, that’s Boris the lifelong bigot and the same Badenoch that, “on ‘institutional racism,’ a phenomenon that affects minorities in Britain, she was reported as saying that she doesn’t recognise it and on the black community? She doesn’t believe that it really exists.”

An Article in the Independent notes that Labour Shadow Equalities Secretary, Marsha de Cordova, said: “We are in the midst of a global health pandemic that has sharply exposed deep structural inequalities which have long since needed urgently addressing. That the prime minister now says he wants to ‘change the narrative … so we stop the sense of victimisation and discrimination’ is condescending and designed to let himself and his government off the hook.” Boris Johnson’s article said that, “an independent chairman or woman would be appointed to oversee the body which would be comprised of people ‘with a mix of ethnic, social and professional backgrounds’.” Why would opposition parties be so sceptical? We have been here so many times before; exhaustive inquiries followed by reports that are either never publically available or are selectively amended, with recommendations that are never auctioned.
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According to the independent, the PM also used his Telegraph article to “defend the statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square, which some protesters want pulled down, and to warn against attempts to ‘photoshop’ Britain’s cultural landscape. He lauded Churchill as “one of the country’s greatest ever leaders”, saying it was the ‘height of lunacy’ to accuse him of racism. ‘I will resist with every breath in my body any attempt to remove that statue from Parliament Square, and the sooner his protective shielding comes off the better’,” said he, who relentlessly demonized a man of peace by slandering him as a dangerous terrorist! However, in full recognition of the veracity of Johnson’s bold promises there is scant concern over his will to “resist” anything if it poses a threat to his ambitions. Remember how he pledged to lie down in front of the bulldozers to “resist” Heathrow expansion? He was too cowardly to even face voting on the issue so he hastily scheduled a rapid overseas jaunt.

Although Johnson condemned the counter protesters who clashed with police in London on Saturday as “far-right thugs and bovver boys” saying there was, “nothing that can excuse their behaviour,” it is his uncompromising defence of Churchill that has brought the white supremacists onto the street using the feeble excuse of needing to protect this iconic racist. It is the job of police and security guards to protect any of the statues that might become a target for vandalism. The protective barricade hastily erected around Churchill will suffice without the unruly intervention of an angry militia focused on precipitating violent clashes with those whose responsibility it was guard the statue and keep the protests peaceful. Churchill’s statue could be far better protected in a museum where his contribution to our history both noble and frighteningly horrific can be presented in full and in context.

On Sunday Andrew Marr introduced MP David Lammy as, “at the forefront of the fight for justice for the Windrush and the victims of the Grenfell fire, he is now Shadow Justice Secretary.” Focusing initially on the demonstrations and the desecration of statues he immediately tried to nail down the Labour position on the Government’s latest intervention, asking Lammy “do you support fast track prosecution for people in these circumstances?” Lammy said, “the scenes were ugly and very, very threatening” he voiced his disgust for the person caught urinating on the memorial for PC Palmer, the officer who died in a terrorist attack near parliament, describing it as ‘utterly despicable’ causing pain to the officer’s family. On fast-tracking of cases Lammy pragmatically reminded Marr that there was a “massive backlog in the Justice system because of Coronavirus’” he also noted that the virus was in the prisons.

Marr’s second headline grabber also fell flat after he demanded to know if Labour supported tougher sentences for those caught desecrating war memorials. Lammy calmly informed him that the potential for a ten year sentence for vandalism or the desecration of war memorials with criminal damage already exists. Such announcements typify a Government desperate to appear strong and detract from their significant failures, of which there have been many in the past few months. Lammy said that, “We still only have in this country 1% of police officers that are black, 1% of judges that are black, 51% of (those in) our young offender institutions are from black, Asian, or minority ethnic backgrounds, languishing in those young offenders’ prisons.” He said. “Those are the serious issues that people want the government to deal with. Not statues, not Priti Patel, deal with the problems.”

As Marr made a pitch on behalf of the ‘don’t touch Winston Churchill brigade’ my hackles went up; the current protests targeting this controversial former Prime Minister mark one of the extremely rare occasions when the well documented atrocities of Winston Churchill have been aired and openly debated. Lammy tried not to offend those who saw this notoriously bigoted British icon as a war hero, while still managing to attract enough attention to his controversial past to fuel online research; he pointed out a few of the most serious strikes against Churchill without elaborating on the brutal details. Thankfully, people can now discover the truth online or by visiting alternative news outlets. Don’t let Johnson’s propaganda spin detract from the horrific truth of Churchill’s rabid racist ideology. Fervent critics call for our public spaces not to be dominated by the ongoing glorification of Churchill. I would prefer not to have a “blue bigot” bank note offered as legal tender and occupying my purse as I consider Churchill an affront to humanity!

On the Marr show Lammy made an important point when he said of Boris Johnson, “He’s never tweeted eight times in a day on Coronavirus, he’s never tweeted eight times in a day on the Windrush review or what he’s going to do about it, or on the review that David Cameron asked me to do on disproportionality in the criminal justice system and what he’s going to do about it.” Lammy said, “This feels to me like a bit of a deflection. Let’s get to the action, let’s have some substance, let’s do something about these historic injustices that still exist in our country.” David Lammy called on the Government to “deal with the substance” around racism and not focus on individual Ministers experience of racism, which must have referred to Priti Patel who had created a recent furore in the Commons by donning the victim badge to negate opposition arguments on neglect of racial issues. This is why when the PM launches another review to add to the stack of ignored review data and recommendations, we all know it is a worthless exercise.

On Friday’s Newsnight Kirsty Walk stated, “George Floyd’s death has amplified the debate around structural racism here in the UK raising voices hitherto ignored and kicked off a nationwide conversation about memorials and monuments to men steeped in slavery or whose views on race were, according to Boris Johnson unacceptable to us today. He was referring specifically to the statue of Winston Churchill in parliament square which has been boarded up on the orders of London mayor Sadiq khan because of fears of further vandalism. The prime minister said it was absurd and shameful that the statue had to be protected this way. Both men are asking people not to protest not only because of Coronavirus, because also the danger of violence.”

We are all eager to see what action will be taken? Will these protests make more of a difference than just the relocation of a few offensive statues? Kirsty said, “This afternoon activists and anti-racisms campaign groups erected a billboard listing more than three thousand names of people they say whose deaths were linked to racism. The names are arranged to spell out ‘I CAN’T BREATH’ the words uttered by George Floyd just before he died.” Kirsty was joined by “David Olusoga Professor of Public History at University of Manchester and Ndidi Okezie Chief Executive of the charity UK Youth.” I an effort to explore what might be accomplished by this latest wave of protests Kirsty asked renowned historian David Olusoga, “beyond the protest at the statues and debates about statues beyond the broader protest; in history what protests have actually effected change and how has that happened?”

Olusoga replied, “Protests and direct action, and I’m afraid violence, have often effected change and have often been the catalyst for change, but that’s only ever really worked when there’s been a willingness to have conversations and compromise and when there’s been statesmanship, when there’s been leadership from Government. I think we have a lot of those elements in place, we have a catalytic event that shocked millions of people in many countries across the world; I think we a quite remarkable moment of willingness to debate to discuss to reframe new ideas. You use the phrase structural racism in your introduction; that phrase people have been using it for many, many years and it’s been dismissed by many people. What I think were lacking is leadership from Government.”

Kirsty turned to Ndidi to ask, “just before we talk about that leadership and how to effect change, just in terms of the kind of galvanizing on the passion of young people, were you surprised even by just how many young people were energized by what was happening?” Ndidi replied, “Honestly I wasn’t surprised at all. I think history’s shown us that young people have always been the most powerful forces in social change and this particular atrocity was remember like a grenade that was thrown in the midst of weeks of lockdown; reality that young people are going to be the most impacted by Covid 19, that black, Asian and ethnic minorities communities have been disproportionately impacted by and through Covid and in the midst of that already challenging context we watched a man being murdered in the most caviller of manners and so for me it was clearly the straw that broke the camel’s back and honestly young people are telling us and making it clear that enough is enough.”

Kirsty addressed David to ask, “we talk about and when you talk about, dealing with structural racism and you talk about leadership whose responsibility do you think it is, where does the responsibility lie for making these changes, for actually making fundamental changes?” Olusoga said, “well I think there’s lots of examples of leadership there’s institutions that are changing our policies, doing audits of how their policies may, in all sorts of ways that aren’t obvious, effect and impact on the lives and the life chances of black people. You can see whole industries, the publishing industry and the television industry, beginning to have conversations that they have struggled to have. Where there isn’t leadership is from Government!”

He said, “This is a moment for statesmanship; this is a moment for a Government to step forward and try to lead truth and reconciliation. Truth in terms of looking into our history and trying to devise a new history that can make sense for the country that we have, and reconciliation in terms of trying to defuse the situation. None of that is forthcoming and I have to say, and I say this as someone who has no party political affiliations, …we have a prime minister whose uniquely unable to do this, because this is a man, and this was said before he was elected, who has used racial slurs to describe people in this country, he has described black people as ‘piccaninnies with watermelon smiles’ he hasn’t got the moral authority to discuss these issues and lead this debate.”

In that case she turned to Ndide to ask, “Who do you think people would trust if you don’t think the trust is there in Government and perhaps people you do think the trust is there in Government? Who do you think you would trust to make practical changes to society?” Ndidi replied, “Honestly from what we’re hearing I think… it’s a very interesting point about who do you trust…. Who’s accountable for making this change but what we’re hearing is that young people are telling us loud and clear that they want to be heard they want to be heard about their experiences. When we say the George Floyd murder, UK Youth, my organization we were just inundated with young people who were saying where can we talk, where can we share our experience because clearly no one, people don’t really understand. So our immediate response to that was to launch the Young and Black Campaign. Which is literally snippets of young people talking about what it is like to grow up young and black in Britain.”

Kirsty asked David, “What happens when you have this conversation is an opportunity to share more equality who gives up the power, who shares the power, how does that change? Where do you shift, how do structures shift to make sure that it’s a much more equal conversation?” Olusoga responded, “Well I think this is a generational issue and I think there is a generation who are willing to are willing to restructure society who are willing to share power who don’t want to live in a society where the shape or the value of their parents there radically different from their grandparents and they’re willing to have these radical conversations.”

He said, “What’s the most striking thing for me about the past three weeks has been the level of reading and debate and conversations young people passing reading lists around on twitter and on instagram. If you try to go online now and buy a black British history book on racism written by a black British author you won’t be able to because they’re all sold out and they’re being bought by black and white people and they’re having discussions and inter generational discussions its led by young people and its perfect timing as well lockdown means people have a chance to read.” He added that, “…young people are being thrust to the forefront of these demonstrations. Young people have rightfully taken their place leading demonstrations leading political activism as indeed they often have.”

This is an interesting concept that while cooped up during lockdown young people have had the time genuinely become better informed about history and about issues of injustice. Their hectic lives scrambling between zero hours contract jobs did not permit much more than short attention-span sound bites of the type so well suited to propaganda peddlers like Cummings and serial liars like Boris Johnson. They are discovering that a lot of what they learned about our glorious British Empire cantered on greed and exploitation that is nothing to be proud of. Perhaps Covid 19 has allowed the time for young people to realize that they are the target of exploitation now, but by becoming better informed and committed to use their future vote they can change their life chances. The most effective way to combat military grade PsyOps is with real knowledge of the facts because propaganda thrives on ignorance. A full investigation of the December vote would expose the fake Tory ‘landslide victory;’ they couldn’t repeat it now!

Those who voted for Brexit to return to a nostalgic past, elderly and vulnerable are the ones dying in greatest numbers. The hateful anti-migrant sentiments are being drowned out. The powerful image of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protester carrying an injured white opponent to safety did more to decimate the racist agenda of the counter-protest thugs than any battle of words or fists. Johnson has placed himself firmly in defence of a notorious genocidal racist; a perfect personality match for his white-supremacist leanings with the racist street thugs on his side. Johnson’s chaotic handling of the Covid crisis with its high death toll has drained support; his inability to fire Cummings despite his unforgivable breach of the lockdown that confined us all has lost the PM another whole swath of former supporters. This is not down to loyalty, it’s driven by fear; the PM is under serious threat because Cummings knows enough about the Covert 2019 Rigged Election to bring down this Government. DO NOT MOVE ON!