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

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

Kim Sanders-Fisher

Usually the day after Prime Ministers Questions I try to devote my post to what was presented at PMQs, but Trojan horse Starmer squandered four questions nit-picking the police data loss, leading a particularly worthless exchange banter that helped the PM dodge critical responsibility. This was heartily praised by Tory shill Laura Kunnesberg on Politics Live. Tories have got manipulation of this ego-driven Labour Leader down to a fine art, to the point where I can imagine that the Priti Patel ‘leak’ was deployed to deliberately distract ‘forensic’ Starmer, sending him off into the redundant critique woods: the trap worked! The working poor desperately need the opposition parties to exert intense pressure on this selfish, elitist led, Tory cabal to shame them into maintaining the temporary £20 uplift to Universal Credit beyond the fast approaching end date in March. Frozen benefits and a decade of austerity have driven millions into poverty and destitution in the UK.

There are other legislative priorities over which the Captain of Capitulation has failed to apose this Tory Government. In a Left Foot Forward Article entitled, “Three proposed laws make a mockery of the PM’s claims about ‘Global Britain’,” former Green Party Leader, now a member of the House of Lords, Natalie Bennett elaborates on how, “Three proposed laws are going to see further damage to the UK’s global reputation.” She says, “A year ago, the government initiated the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, the largest of its type since the Second World War, and the way in which Boris Johnson can take the term ‘Global Britain’ deeper than a slogan. It has, inevitably and essentially, been delayed by Covid. That the author, historian John Bew, has a difficult job is a statement of the obvious. But he brings in his background the hope at least of some deeper thinking, some greater historical and evidence-based perspective, than we see in many government efforts at analysis.”

Exposing that fragile ‘past empire never foggotten’ ego of the UK Tory Government, Bennett elaborates on, “What the rest of the world thinks of us, when it thinks about us at all, is crucial as to what is possible in reshaping our place in the world. We’re not starting from a great place, a point powerfully made by Johnson’s predecessor on the front page of the Daily Mail today. From today, Boris Johnson is vying with Jair Bolsonaro as the most prominent remaining global leader of Trumpism, with the PM’s plan to reverse election promises on international aid. Plus, we have the continuing chaos of Brexit and the world-leading disaster of our Covid-19 death rates. The National Brand Index already has us ranked relatively low for governance.” Unlike the BBC and general Media hysteria over the newly anointed ‘Saint’ Biden I am not anticipating any radical policy making from the new US President who is a hawkish arch neo-con; I worry that he will drag us into another unnecessary war of aggression at some point.

With this new administration, I wish I could honestly believe that peace, equality and justice will overcome the global challenges we all face. Bennett paints a far more accurate picture of the UK’s place in the modern world, saying of Theresa May’s intervention that, “It presents an unduly glowing view of the UK’s historic position.” Bennett reveals that, “the reality is military adventurism in Afghanistan and Iraq, massive sales of arms into a world already choked with them, City corruption and tax-dodging, the failure to provide reparations for slavery and the treatment of the Windrush generation. All of that will come into new focus in the world of President Joe Biden. That makes it a particular pity that the delay in this review means we can’t be debating and engaging with the Integrated Review, as crucial Bills that will affect profoundly the world’s view of the UK are at or approaching the sharp end in parliament. Three proposed laws, if human rights and rule-of-law campaigners are defeated, are going to see further damage.”

Bennett focuses on three key pieces of Tory Government legislation, the first is the controversial “Spy cops bill.” She says, “To put them in order of state of progress towards law, I’ll start with the Covert Human Intelligence Sources bill, which has its Third Reading in the House of Lords on Thursday. My fellow Green peer Jenny Jones has described it as allowing police and intelligence spies to break the law with impunity. The Scottish Parliament, to its great credit, yesterday voted to refuse to allow it to apply there. The Lords have inserted some extremely modest improvements to the Bill, but that in no way rescues it from casting ignominy on the UK, and any place in the world as a bastion of the rule of law. Jenny Jones, backed by a handful of crossbenchers, Labour and Lib Dems, but not their parties, has set down a ‘fatal amendment’, to stop the Bill in its tracks. But that parliamentary action won’t succeed, unless Labour and Lib Dem parties line up to back her. This is blow number one to our international reputation.”

The second to come under Bennett’s eagle eyed scrutiny, “Next up is the Trade Bill. This legislation, and exactly what our trade policies will be, is something the Integrated Review must surely address. We could, as I suggested to the government through an Oral Question last week, line up with the New Zealand-led Agreement on Climate Change and Sustainable Trade.” Bennett points out with hopeful optimism that, “We could become a leader on this, with a highly respected group of countries, in line with our position as the chair of COP26, and show the way towards trade that makes life better rather than trashing the planet and building poverty and inequality.” Bennett wrote about the goals of the “Agreement on Climate Change and Sustainable Trade” in an earlier Left Foot Forward Article. It offers real promise for a sustainable future, but will probably be rejected by this Tory Government.

Bennett highlights another point, “the immediate issue is with a proposed clause in the Bill, known as the genocide amendment, that aims to create a mechanism by which trade deals with countries engaged in genocide can be ended. It would be an innovative way to stand up to China’s treatment of the Uighur minority. It was beaten, very narrowly, on Tuesday night in the Commons, with more than 30 Conservative rebels. But the Biden administration has now lined up behind the classification of what’s going on in China as genocide. With it now entering ‘ping pong,’ potentially swinging between the Lords and Commons. There’s still a real chance of a victory here, something that would send a message about the UK’s attitude towards Chinese abuse of human rights and the rule of law, in Xinjiang province, in Hong Kong, and around the world. It would be a win for ‘Global Britain’.”

Lastly Bennett says, “Then there’s the Overseas Operations Bill, which has its Second Reading (first substantive debate) in the House of Lords today. No lesser body than the Equality and Human Rights Commission has described it as ‘harming the UK’s reputation as a global leader on human rights, and weakening our compliance with universal standards’. My inbox is full of briefings: cries of great distress from pretty well every human rights and rule-of-law campaign group you can imagine, and even many military sources opposed to this Bill. We’re at a crunch point. There’s a real risk that even should the Integrated Review come out with a truly transformatory, visionary plan for the UK to become a leading force for peace, democracy and living within planetary limits, we’ve already so badly fouled our own nest, damaged the world’s view of us, that it isn’t possible.”

Bennett points to, “The House of Lords, as the centre of political resistance in Westminster, is crucial in the coming days.” She rightly describes it as, “a strange situation, and a reminder that if we truly want global security, getting our own house in order, by making the UK a democracy, has to be high up the agenda.” While we seriously need the well informed input of certain extremely knowledgeable people appointed to the Lords to exercise a corrective balance preventing the Sovereign Dictatorship from warping UK legislation, this corrupt PM is fighting back by stacking the second Chamber beyond reasonable limits with his wealthy donors. The sheer scale of new appointees has swelled the House with the PM’s self-serving elitist supporters compliantly rubber stamping the agenda the Tories claimed with their fake ‘landslide victory in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. We must Protest, Challenge, Investigate and Expose the Corruption that produced this result and now allows the Tories to squander public money with impunity.

In the Canary Article entitled, “Contrary to what you might have read, many people in Cornwall oppose the G7,” Tom Anderson of the Shoal Collective, a cooperative producing writing for social justice and a world beyond capitalism, explains why growing local resistance is hardly surprising. He says, “It’s recently been reported in the mainstream media that the G7 summit will be held in Cornwall this June. The G7 leaders, of UK, US, Germany, France, Canada, Italy, and Japan, will be hosted at the four-star Carbis Bay hotel, complete with spa and beach access. Rooms cost up to £2,500. Media reports have, so far, uncritically focussed on how great the summit will be for Cornwall. But many local residents are angry that the summit has been dumped on their doorstep. The summit will be held just a mile away from St. Ives. Parts of St. Ives have the highest rate of child poverty in the country, with a staggering 36% of children in the town living below the poverty line. Cornwall faces some of the most extreme poverty in Europe.”

Anderson highlights the fact Cornwall, “…prior to Brexit received European funding due to the levels of deprivation residents face. Meanwhile, local people are priced out of the property market due to the prevalence of second homes and holiday lets. In fact, Cornwall has the highest number of empty and second homes in the country. The business media is already crowing about how the summit will be good for the local economy. For example, the Proactive Investors website wrote earlier this week: Boris Johnson bringing the leaders of the industrialised world together on Cornish soil will no doubt be a temporary shot in the arm for the local economy, and present an opportunity for local businesses to sign banner deals. However, it seems likely that this supposed ‘shot in the arm’ will only be for elite venues like the Carbis Bay hotel. For ordinary people in Cornwall, the summit means a potential occupation by thousands of police and military personnel. Freedom of movement is likely to be significantly restricted for locals.”

Anderson reports that, “As an event that, in the past, has boasted of 2,400 delegates from all over the world, the summit will clearly bring significant additional risks of spreading coronavirus (Covid-19). The area, having previously had a low infection rate, is now struggling with increasing transmission rates that rival London in some areas. The Canary spoke to a local resident living a matter of miles away from the Carbis Bay hotel who is dismayed at the proposed summit: Contrary to what you might have read in the local and national press, many people in Cornwall oppose the G7. This has been dumped on our doorstep without community consultation and we’re the ones who’ll have to live with the consequences, including a massive police and security operation on our doorstep; an operation which will undoubtedly cause massive disruption to local people.”

Anderson points out the huge wealth disparity that will be overlooked by this event, saying that, “Cornwall is one of the poorest places in Europe. Behind the facade of beautiful vistas, there is deep poverty. Residents are supposed to be grateful that the G7 will bring money into the area. But it won’t bring investment that will make any meaningful difference to people’s lives. It won’t make a difference to young people who are priced out of the area by second home owners or households struggling to pay the bills or feed their kids. There is no infrastructure in Cornwall. There is one hospital with ICU capacity that is struggling with the pandemic and struggles in the summer. The last thing we need is the world descending on Cornwall, especially in the middle of a pandemic.” This could present a real problem by increasing the spread of Covid in an area particularly ill equipped to deal with it.

Anderson warns of, “An army of police” descending on the area to deal with the required security. They report that, “The 2005 G8 (which was the current G7 plus Russia) summit at Gleneagles in Scotland cost £90m, with £72m spent on a massive police presence at the event. 10,000 police officers from all over the UK were drafted in to provide security for the event. The military was deployed too, with riot police flown in on Chinook helicopters. Undercover police were deployed to spy on anti-capitalist protesters. Similarly, the 2013 G8 summit in Northern Ireland saw 8,000 police officers deployed, together with mobile water cannons. A four mile long fence was erected around the summit venue. The costs of the 2013 summit totalled £82m, less than half of which was spent within the local economy. Local businesses in Fermanagh, where the 2013 summit was held, said that the event was ‘devastating’ for local tourism, and complained about restrictions on their movement during the summit.”

Anderson and the Canary offer an accurate description of these sumits as, “A forum for domination by the most wealthy and powerful, saying that, “In the late 1990s and early 2000s, summits like those of the G8 drew the attention of global anti-capitalist movements. Meetings like the 1999 Seattle World Trade Organization meeting became flashpoints between anti-capitalist rioters and the police. In 2005, the G8 came to Scotland, and UK anarchists and anti-capitalists mobilised against it. The Dissent network wrote at the time: G8 stands for group of eight nations. It is an exclusive grouping of the political leaders of eight specific countries. It is not an institution, it has no constitution or charter, and it has no permanent secretariat or headquarters. These are of course the world’s most industrialised, wealthy and powerful States.”

Anderson explains how, “The G8 began as a group of six countries at a time of significant global economic insecurity in the 1970’s. The leaders of these countries would argue that they gathered, as the leading nations, in order to manage this crisis in the interests of global stability. A stability that of course ensured that they retained their power, with their interests at the heart of the global agenda and this has meant the nudging of the global economy in a direction which reinforces the supremacy of private and corporate interests over democratic and collective ones. (e.g. favouring privatisation, deregulation, capital mobility and the erosion of sovereign control over domestic economies) The membership of the g8 has evolved over time to include the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia [until 2017], Canada and the president of the European Union.”

Anderson further reveals how, “The scope of the topics of discussion have also evolved from the first, supposedly one-off meeting that focussed on macro-economic policy. Now issues of security, trade, relations with developing countries and other transnational issues and even domestic issues, such as employment have been discussed. It is important to be clear that the G8 Summits are not a policy-making forum. They are a time for the leaders of these states to network and build relationships. They are a time to discuss complex international issues and crises, to allow for a more powerful collective response. The co-ordination of these nations and their unequal influence over international institutions such as the WTO, IMF and G20 ensures that their interests dominate the world order.” In essence the summits are heavily focused on sustaining control of the levers of excessive profiteering at the continued expense, subjugation and exploitation of struggling developing countries in the global south.

Anderson points out that due to this ongoing injustice, “As such the G8 Summits have always been a focus for protests and counter summits. The G7 stands for exactly the same thing as the G8 did back then. It’s a meeting of the leaders of the world’s most powerful nations, designed to maintain our unequal global capitalist system, where a handful of leaders in the Global North dominate the Global South, as well as the rest of us. The local resident we spoke to said that people have started organising against the summit, although any protests will be dependent on the situation with the pandemic: Local people will resist and we are mobilising against the summit. The fightback is just beginning. Any protests will be pandemic dependent, but as local people we will make sure that it is known loudly and clearly that the G7 is not welcome here. The way the G7 summit has been forced upon the people of Cornwall, during a global pandemic, is a microcosm of our unjust global capitalist system.”

According to Anderson this is, “A system where the most powerful can turn people’s lives upside down without consultation. Where the police and military are drafted in to protect the few, while ordinary people are forced to navigate security checks and police checkpoints. A system where the fact that extreme poverty exists alongside wealth and luxury is seen as normal. All of this is just another reminder that we need to build a truly democratic alternative to our current system, one where ordinary people have autonomy over their own lives. This democracy does not exist within the walls of Westminster, and it certainly won’t be found at the four-star Carbis Bay hotel. The seeds of it can be found right now in the ways that our communities support each other and continue to defend themselves against capitalism, and it can be seen in the revolutionary struggles being waged globally. If we are ever to move beyond this unjust global system, we must build our power from the bottom up, until it can truly challenge theirs.”

The facade of respectability allowing Boris Johnson to parade in the ‘Emperors New Clothes’ to impress the most powerful world leaders in the exclusive G7 club ignores the stark reality of the Tory austerity agenda that’s punishing the poor to an even greater extent during the shambolically managed Covid crisis. If Bernie Sanders had taken the position he rightfully deserved as President of the US, he would prioritize eliminating the grotesque inequality that cripples the lives of 99% of Americans just as it exploits the equivalent population here in the UK. The truly shameful criticism from the UN Rapporteur following his analysis of our vanishing social safety net with regard to the disabled and most vulnerable, the fact that UNICEF has needed to intervene to feed children in one of the richest countries on earth, must be urgently addressed. Instead the worthless BBC and alt-right Media tout elite preening events like the G7, while propogating the ‘lev…up’ lie as the PM ‘Decimates Down’ with his Tory boot stomping hard on our necks! DO NOT MOVE ON!