Tag: Daily Mail

Ben Bradley issues humiliating public apology for defamatory comments about Jeremy Corbyn

I wrote a fairly comprehensive article this week about the outrageous allegations that were made by the right-wing press and some Conservatives that Jeremy Corbyn was a “Commie spy” and so on. Of course it was the usual ritualistic vile lie and smear tactic that the right-wing press have been doing since they succeeded with the fake Zinoviev letter in damaging the Labour party’s prospects at the election in 1924. The gutter press have been trying to stage manage our democracy by telling blatant lies ever since, with the same hysterical McCarthyist-styled headlines.

It seems the tabloids confuse ‘free speech’ with telling malicious lies and reducing politics to nasty rumour-mongering and smear campaigns. It’s a longstanding attempt to re-categorise the Left with negative attributes associated with them, that are directly harmful to them, while creating public fear. 

The media and politicians, however, have a duty to be more careful with their all too frequent use of inciteful language, and a democratic responsibility to ensure that they don’t construct and share fake news and lies – which reflects intolerance, arrogance and authoritarianism. Spreading fake news is being used to advance specific goals, influence political decisions and serve a narrow range of economic interests. It’s shameful verbal violence that is role-modelling despicable motives and behaviours by those in positions of power and influence.

Conservative MP Ben Bradley sparked outrage last week with a tweeted comment, claiming that Jeremy Corbyn had ‘sold British secrets to communist spies’. The tweet prompted a letter to Bradley from Corbyn’s lawyers, who insisted that Bradley issue an unreserved apology, and that he asks his followers to share it and make a significant donation to charities of Corbyn’s choice – or face court action.

Bradley deleted his malicious tweet.

He has also tweeted the following apology:

Bradley

The full statement says:

On 19 February 2018 I made a seriously defamatory statement on my Twitter account, ‘Ben Bradley MP (@bbradleymp)’, about Jeremy Corbyn, alleging he sold British secrets to communist spies. I have since deleted the defamatory tweet. I have agreed to pay an undisclosed substantial sum of money to a charity of his choice, and I will also pay his legal costs.

I fully accept that my statement was wholly untrue and false. I accept that I caused distress and upset to Jeremy Corbyn by my untrue and false allegations, suggesting he had betrayed his country by collaborating with foreign spies.

I am very sorry for publishing this untrue and false statement and I have no hesitation in offering my unreserved and unconditional apology to Jeremy Corbyn for the distress I have caused him.

Ever since Jeremy Corbyn became party leader, he has been utterly and outrageously smeared by the right-wing media. Theresa May made her disastrous decision to call an election, the right-leaning papers went to town in an all-out vicious campaign against Labour’s leadership.

Who could forget the Sun’s front page showing a picture of Corbyn inside a rubbish bin – so childish, it’s like kindergarten bullying. The Mail, meanwhile, showed Corbyn alongside shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and former shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott under the disgraceful headline “Apologists for Terror”. The Express told its readers: “Vote May or we face disaster”, as if it’s somehow appropriate for journalists to tell people in a democracy who they should vote for while telling atrocious lies about the opposition. 

However, I found it hilarious that both May and the right-wing press gangs so badly overestimated their own and the prime minister’s credibility and popularity.

It seems readers don’t make judgements purely on the basis of their preferred newspaper’s editorial line. The Conservative leader and her friends in the media wrongly assumed that vicious attacks against Labour’s leaders would be enough to secure a Tory win. It didn’t, because the public is all too aware now of the behavioural patterns and ideological headline habits of the attack dogs. The public recognises that tabloid press overconfidence has led to a complete lack of verisimilitude in screaming and often libelous headlines, seriously undermining public credibility. 

It’s not just that the right-wing rags are run by lying anti-liberals. Conservatism is pretty tame compared to some of the narratives these rags peddle to the public, veering further to the right of support for an authoritarian government, their final destination being in the realms of totalitarianism and fascism.

Image result for daily mail supported fascism

The smearing campaigns of the right-wing tabloids has a long and repetitive history. In September 2013 the Mail attacked Labour Party leader Ed Miliband for having a father – the Marxist academic, Ralph Miliband – who “hated Britain.” This was ironic on a number of levels. 

Firstly, a key piece of “evidence” for this allegation was the 17 year-old Ralph Miliband’s diary, where he speculated that the English are “perhaps the most nationalist people in the world,” which of course is something you could very easily conclude from the Mail’s longstanding editorial stance alone. However, Miliband was a staunch anti-Stalinist, so his political views are rather more like Orwell’s than Stalin. 

The Mail clearly isn’t afraid of afraid of being accused of hypocrisy, in the face of their own history of support for Adolf “the Great” Hitler and the National Front; Ralph Miliband, on the other hand, fled to the UK in 1940 to avoid anti-Semitic persecution, enlisted in the Royal Navy, and served in the D-Day landings. This prompted a particular public dressing down by Mehdi Hasan on the BBC’s Question Time programme, prompting the Mail to respond with vicious smear campaign against Hasan.

Then there’s the Sun.

This was the Sun‘s front page on 19 April 1989. The allegations were later proven to be entirely false, with the Sun later admitting their decision to publish the ‘allegations’ was the “blackest day in this newspaper’s history.” 

Despite the Leveson inquiry, following the News of the World scandal and the fallout that led to Sun staff being charged with conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office, unfortunately, the right-wing press have yet to learn the fundamental difference between ‘free speech’ and corruption, coupled with frequently published, disgraceful, malicious and intentional lies.

Last month, the Government launched a new unit to counter “fake news”. 

Downing Street told political reporters: “The government will respond with more and better use of national security communications to tackle interconnected complex challenges.

We will build on existing capabilities by creating a dedicated national security communications unit. This will be tasked with combating disinformation by state actors and others. It will more systematically deter our adversaries and help us deliver on national security priorities.”

Given that Conservative MPs have demonstrated just how freely they share disinformation when it suits them, it’s very worrying that the move to ‘systematically deter our adversaries’ seems to include codified totalitarian attacks on Her Majesty’s loyal opposition. 

 


 

I don’t make any money from my work. I’m disabled through illness and on a low income But you can make a donation to help me continue to research and write free, informative, insightful and independent articles, and to provide support to others. The smallest amount is much appreciated – thank you.

DonatenowButton

 

The Daily Mail is a far-right rag and an utter disgrace for meddling in the Human Rights of sick and disabled people

10177255_710935002309364_996655242459079802_n

I reported yesterday that the United Nations (UN) is investigating the UK government’s welfare “reforms” and the consequences of them for evidence of abuses of the human rights of sick and disabled people. The Daily Mail has preempted the visit from the special rapporteur, Catalina Devandas Aguilar, who is expected to visit the UK in the coming months to spearhead the ongoing inquiry into many claims that Britain is guilty of grave or systematic violations of the rights of sick and disabled people, by using racist stereotypes, and claiming that the UN are “meddling”. The Mail has blatantly attempted to discredit this important UN intervention and the UN rapporteur before the visit even takes place.

“Meddling” is a curious and interesting word to use, as oppose to “wrong” or, say, “inaccurate”. It implies that the government are already aware that their policies are in breach of the human rights of sick and disabled people, but that they simply don’t welcome independent and international scrutiny of the fact.

There was not a shred of concern expressed in the Mail article regarding the cruel treatment of sick and disabled people by the government. It wasn’t mentioned once that whilst sick and disabled people have been targeted by the government with cuts to their income that are disproportionately large, the millionaires of this country got a handout of £107,000 each per year, in the form of a tax “break”. That choice of policy was made intentionally and purposefully, designed to target the most vulnerable citizens – already amongst the poorest – for further cuts to their lifeline benefits. In 2012:

  • Disabled people (1 in 13 of us) bore 29% of all the cuts
  • People with severe disabilities (1 in 50 of us) bore 15% of all the cuts.

Further cuts to benefits since 2012 will make these proportions even larger now.

Thanks to the Centre for Welfare Reform for this info graphic.

The specialised rapporteur, sent by the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, will report back on a range of issues, including whether welfare cuts have harmed disabled people. This is because we are a voluntary signatory to the Convention on the rights of disabled person, and as such, we are expected to meet the international standards and the legal obligations in terms of the human rights of disabled people.

Tory MP Ian Liddell-Grainger last night described the inquiry as “the most absurd and offensive nonsense”.

As a sick and disabled person, I can confirm that Ian Liddell-Grainger is the one who is talking absurd and offensive nonsense. He added: “I am not an expert on disability rights in Costa Rica [the rapporteur’s country of origin], but I suspect Miss Devandas Aguilar might be better off focusing her efforts much closer to home. The UN should keep their noses out.”

Clearly Mr Liddell-Grainger doesn’t know anything at all about disbility rights or international laws. I’m sure his comments are uttered by every despotic minister that has ever faced an inquiry into their conduct towards others: “the UN should keep their noses out” echoes bullies and tyrants everywhere.

Not very encouraging comment, in terms of government response, openness, accountability,  transparency and democracy, then, bearing in mind that a UN inquiry is only ordered where the UN committee believes there is evidence of grave or systematic violations of the rights of disabled people. We are a very wealthy, so-called first-world liberal democracy, the fact that such an inquiry has been deemed necessary at all ought to be a source of great shame for this government.

Looking at some of the comments on the Daily Mail site, I can’t help wondering if some members of the wider public would still look the other way if the government rounded up the sick and disabled people of this country and shot them in front of TV cameras. The thing is, starvation through cutting off lifeline benefits, sanctions, stress through inhumane policies, invalidating someone’s experience of being seriously ill by constant re-assessment and telling them to work when they cannot, and shooting, they all result in death.

And dead is dead.

Eugenics by stealth is still eugenics.

Bystander apathy is complicity.

And people ARE dying as a consequence of this government’s policies.

Welfare reforms break UN convention

Amnesty International has condemned the erosion of human rights of disabled people in UK

A distillation of thoughts on Tory policies aimed at the vulnerable

Aktion Arbeitsscheu Reich, Human Rights and infrahumanisation

Despotic paternalism and punishing the poor. Can this really be England?

Stigmatising unemployment: the government has redefined it as a psychological disorder

Tory Fascist Lie Machine The Daily Mail Has Met Its Match

And not forgetting the fascistic Daily Mail’s involvement in attempting to discredit the left by publishing the fake Zinoviev letter – From Spycatcher and GBH to the Zinoviev letter – an emergent pattern and the real enemy within

Anyone wishing to make a submission regarding the inquiry may contact the UN here:

Catalina Devandas Aguilar
Special rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities
Address: OHCHR-UNOG; CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Email: sr.disability@ohchr.org

292533_330073053728896_1536469241_nPictures courtesy of Robert Livingstone

Health officials and sociologists voice concerns about the effects of tabloids on the general public

Image result for tabloids

 

Research has consistently shown that reading tabloid newspapers such as the Sun, Express and Daily Mail causes an obsession with borders, contagious fatalism, addictive irritable incoherence syndrome, an anxiety-inducing paranoia, a pre-occupation with foreigners and other people stealing tax payer’s money. It’s thought to be the fault of vagabonds, migrants, the EU and scrounging poor, everyone knows offshore banks and tax avoidance are run by the EU. A highly suggestible state results, presenting with swollen spite, distended misery guts, clinical resentment retention, rash folk devils and suppurating moral panic.

These symptoms usually precede the completely incapacitating open mouth of closed-mind syndrome, leading to premature, ejaculated brain death.

Sociologists have discovered that many unfortunate tabloid addicts have nasty outbreaks of brazen neighbours, usually from other countries, or with very dodgy disabilities. Some poor and self-rightously outraged readers even have suspiciously lazy single mothers, layabout, loutish students, suspected illegal foreigners wearing cunning disguises or daring unemployed bad sorts living right next door or just down the street. This is usually preceded by a malignant disdain that is difficult to contain.

Although there has been fierce debate about the aetiology of this condition, sociologists believe that it’s psycho-semantic. The cause also precedes the effects. In other words, it is the victims of these nasty epidemics of dodgy bad sorts that actually manifest those symptomatic phenomena, during fits of psycho-enigmatic, convulsive curtain twitching, whilst presenting further shocking symptoms of frank, febrile tutting. 

Health officials carried out research over many years, which revealed  that during the early stages of chronic tabloiditis, acute, screaming headlines bind to the victim’s brain and dopamine receptors, releasing a surge of bile and some other unidentifiable, free-floating, profuse bitter stuff. This has the unfortunate effect of oxidising the part of the brain ordinarily used to rationalise and the nubbin in the noggin that usually facilitates discernment. The deadly process also affects the vocal chords, leaving the poor patient with an over-developed sense of indignance and a hyper-reactive moral outrage. This culminates in excessive sweating, incoherent shrieking and convulsive knee-jerk responses.

The most alarming health survey reports have revealed that the process involves rapid shrinkage and withering of the gland that regulates reality uptake – the part of the body that scientists call the “getagrippe.”  This reduces the reader to thinking in unsound soundbites, leading to a terminal condition called “end-stage pernicious gullibility.” Once patients reach this stage, there is little hope for them. They tend to rapidly succumb to the malignant “cuttingyournoseofftospiteyourface” syndrome.

For example, many patients suffer a dreadful condition involving hallucinations that it’s better to have no welfare, human rights or NHS rather than have other people using them. In particular, patients tend to stipulate that unless they alone need to use tax-funded public services, they should be blown up or demolished, so no-one else can use them. Some have resorted to self-lobotomising, whilst other hopeless cases mimic end-stage Rumplestiltskinism.

Another symptom is that patients become clinically cynical. These poor victims become increasingly intolerant of everyone else, especially anyone claiming benefits, who chaf their considerably swollen sensibilities. This common reaction is a severe allergic response to others, along with a strong dose of feverish outrage manifested in the obsessive compulsive thought that anyone else should be punished regularly with public floggings, being hung, drawn and quartered and no supper. Or anything. 

Once a person is in a super state of autoimmunity to others, (a condition that some in the government Nudge Unit call “Pavlov’s delight”) the body rejects the spleen, which exits the body through the bile duct and vents. Transplants have been unsuccessful, with issues around host and grafting and NHS tourism, leading to further rejection, atrophic anomie and gonadotrophic adenoids, empathy deficiency heart failure syndrome, brought on by persistent exposure to viral epidemics of the protestant work ethic.

The patient becomes fixated on what they think everyone else has, particularly the poor, and it’s always thought to be a lot more than what the patient has, though this is usually fueled by short bursts of media stereotypes, acute delusions of impacted resentment with profuse sub-arachnoid diarrhoea, spasms of inferiority complexes and feverish exaggerations, culminating in the fatal vomited outcry of “they’ve got a flat-screened TV, an iPhone, and two scruffy kids and a packet of fags that I paid for, the cheeky scrounging b*stards.”

It’s a pernicious, humourless disease that leads to rapid degeneration and further distress through pustular outbreaks of inflamatory comments, extensive diversionary metastases, profound rectal aphasia and ultimately, to a terminal and toxic irrelevance leaking like pus from the brain and mouth. The patient is usually unaware that he/she is mortally offensive to other people at this stage. Painful class envy and terminal false consciousness follow, inevitably.

The contamination was believed to have originated from 2010, when an acute case of Murdochitis broke out and spread to other media. Some sociologists pin-pointed David Cameron’s government as the main source of the outbreak, though many public health officials have argued that Cameron’s lot were merely the original carrier of the deadly bug.

Evidence suggests that even some of the working class on the left of the political spectrum are succumbing rapidly to chronic, deteriorating narksism. This is usually characterised by a pitiful and repetitive cry of “Blair blah blah red Tory. That Nigel Farage speaks his mind.” Unfortunately, Nigel Farrage’s mind causes further contamination, which requires radical treatment in cultural isolation units, but there is currently no cure for having associated symptoms like phobias of God’s wrath and gay rain flooding.

Many narksists have succumbed to the terrible agony of massively enlarged bolsheviks. There’s been a reported number of tragic suicides associated with the condition, and so far, thirty people have been found hung by the baubles on christmas trees after their extreme state of delirium had inexplicably led them to vote for turkeys. What a terrible way to go.

There is no cure for these epidemics, and officials don’t think there is any hope for sufferers in sight until at least 2020. Then there’s a small chance of putting them out of our misery.

Iain Duncan Smith has denied that there is any cause for concern, and today, determined to demonstrate tabloid safety, he ate a full Daily Mail in front of cameras in a public place. Despite growing contrary evidence from experts in their field, government advice, meanwhile, is to keep taking the tabloids.

No automatic alt text available.

 


I don’t make any money from my work. But you can contribute by making a donation and help me continue to research and write informative, insightful and independent articles, and to provide support to others, if you like. The smallest amount is much appreciated – thank you.

From Spycatcher and GBH to the Zinoviev letter – an emergent pattern and the real enemy within

File:MI5 crest and logo.png

A scene from Alan Bleasdale’s perceptive GBH, a much misunderstood, darkly comedic series from 1991. Some felt that Bleasdale was attempting to discredit the militant left, but what he portrayed is an infiltation of the Labour Party by MI5, ordered by the Conservative government at the time. Their aim was to recruit, manipulate and indoctrinate local “young bulls” with quasi left-wing ideology to have them assist, unknowingly, in destablising and discrediting the Labour Party in its entirety.

The far-right, racism and social conflict always bloom and flourish under Conservative governments.

Fueling social tensions, MI5 agents provocateurs were prepared to manipulate the ethnic communities to foster social division, in the hope of causing riots and ultimately, the hardened right-wing thugs (MI5 were eventually revealed as the real thugs here) dismissed the minority groups as collateral damage, a callous, calculated move that was deemed necessary to destroy the Labour Party.

MI5 staged a series of violent racist assaults on the city’s ethnic minorities, using hired local hardcases posing as police officers. They “made things happen.” Ultimately to preserve the status quo. In the drama, it’s eventually revealed that the plot to destablise the Left involves Britain’s entire intelligence community.

Some commentators at the time felt that Bleasdale was portraying the end of socialism, but if he was, it was ultimately at the hand of the Tories – the real enemy within – not the militant left. 

I watched the mini series again recently, and it made me think of the Zinoviev letter – one of the greatest but almost forgotten British political scandals of last century – it was forged by a MI6 agent’s source and almost certainly leaked by MI6 or MI5 officers to the Conservative Party, according to an official report published in 1999.

Britain’s most senior security and intelligence officials discussed the smearing of the Labour party just as it was emerging as a major political force according to previously secret documents.

The potential repercussions of attempts by the intelligence agencies to damage the Labour party were debated at length by the little-known Secret Service Committee, later research – now released at the National Archives – shows.

Of course it was not the only time Britain’s intelligence agencies were implicated in attempts to destabilise a Labour government. A group of right-wing intelligence officers attempted to destabilise Harold Wilson’s administrations in the 1960s and 70s.

One newly released document at the National Archives is a minute of the Secret Service Committee, dated 11 March 1927. It quotes Sir William Tyrrell, top official at the Foreign Office, referring to a conversation he had with the prime minister, Stanley Baldwin, about politically inspired leaks by the police special branch as well as the security and intelligence agencies.

Baldwin’s main concern, said Tyrrell, was the fear that the political work done at Scotland Yard might at any moment give rise to a scandal, owing to the Labour party obtaining some “plausible pretext to complain that a government department was being employed for party politics.”

On October 8, 1924, Britain’s first Labour government lost a vote of confidence in the House of Commons. The next day the Foreign Office was evidently sent a copy of a letter, purportedly originally sent from Grigori Zinoviev, the president of Comintern, addressed to the central committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain. The letter urged the party to stir up the British proletariat and the military in preparation for class war.

On October 25 the letter appeared in the heavily Conservative-biased Daily Mail just four days before the election. The political and diplomatic repercussions were immense.

The Daily Mail published a series of sensationalist headlines:

  • Civil War Plot by Socialists’ Masters
  • Moscow Order to Our Reds
  • Great Plot Disclosed Yesterday
  • Paralyse the Army and Navy
  • Mr. MacDonald Would Lend Russia Our Money

Here is the entire fake Zinoviev ‘letter’:

Very secret

Executive Committee, Third Communist International.

To the Central Committee, British Communist Party.

Presidium, September 15, 1924. Moscow.

Dear Comrades,

The time is approaching for the Parliament of England to consider the Treaty concluded between the Governments of Great Britain and the S.S.S.R. for the purpose of ratification. The fierce campaign raised by the British bourgeoisie around the question shows that the majority of the same, together with reactionary circles, are against the Treaty for the purpose of breaking off an agreement consolidating the ties between the proletariats of the two countries leading to the restoration of normal relations between England and the S.S.S.R.

The proletariat of Great Britain, which pronounced its weighty word when danger threatened of a break-off of the past negotiations, and compelled the Government of MacDonald to conclude the treaty, must show the greatest possible energy in the further struggle for ratification and against the endeavours of British capitalists to compel Parliament to annul it.

It is indispensable to stir up the masses of the British proletariat to bring into movement the army of unemployed proletarians whose position can be improved only after a loan has been granted to the S.S.S.R. for the restoration of her economics and when business collaboration between the British and Russian proletariats has been put in order. It is imperative that the group in the Labour Party sympathising with the Treaty should bring increased pressure to bear upon the Government and Parliamentary circles in favour of the ratification of the Treaty.

Keep close observation over the leaders of the Labour Party, because these may easily be found in the leading strings of the bourgeoisie. The foreign policy of the Labour Party as it is, already represents an inferior copy of the policy of the Curzon Government. Organize a campaign of disclosure of the foreign policy of MacDonald.

The I.K.K.I. (Executive Committee, Third [Communist] International) will willingly place at your disposal the wide material in its possession regarding the activities of British Imperialism in the Middle and Far East. In the meanwhile, however, strain every nerve in the struggle for the ratification of the Treaty, in favour of a continuation of negotiations regarding the regulation of relations between the S.S.S.R. and England. A settlement of relations between the two countries will assist in the revolutionising of the international and British proletariat not less than a successful rising in any of the working districts of England, as the establishment of close contact between the British and Russian proletariat, the exchange of delegations and workers, etc., will make it possible for us to extend and develop the propaganda of ideas of Leninism in England and the Colonies. Armed warfare must be preceded by a struggle against the inclinations to compromise which are embedded among the majority of British workmen, against the ideas of evolution and peaceful extermination of capitalism. Only then will it be possible to count upon complete success of an armed insurrection. In Ireland and the Colonies the case is different; there is a national question, and this represents too great a factor for success for us to waste time on a prolonged preparation of the working class.

But even in England, as other countries, where the workers are politically developed, events themselves may more rapidly revolutionise the working masses than propaganda. For instance, a strike movement, repressions by the Government etc.

From your last report it is evident that agitation-propaganda work in the army is weak, in the navy a very little better. Your explanation that the quality of the members attracted justifies the quantity is right in principle, nevertheless it would be desirable to have cells in all the units of the troops, particularly among those quartered in the large centres of the country, and also among factories working on munitions and at military store depots. We request that the most particular attention be paid to these latter.

In the event of danger of war, with the aid of the latter and in contact with the transport workers, it is possible to paralyse all the military preparations of the bourgeoisie, and make a start in turning an imperialist war into a class war. Now more than ever we should be on our guard. Attempts at intervention in China show that world imperialism is still full of vigour and is once more making endeavours to restore its shaken position and cause a new war, which as its final objective is to bring about the break-up of the Russian Proletariat and the suppression of the budding world revolution, and further would lead to the enslavement of the colonial peoples. ‘Danger of War’, ‘The Bourgeoisie seek War’, ‘Capital fresh Markets’ – these are the slogans which you must familiarise the masses with, with which you must go to work into the mass of the proletariat. These slogans will open to you the doors of comprehension of the masses, will help you to capture them and march under the banner of Communism.

The Military Section of the British Communist Party, so far as we are aware, further suffers from a lack of specialists, the future directors of the British Red Army.

It is time you thought of forming such a group, which together with the leaders, might be in the event of an outbreak of active strife, the brain of the military organisation of the party.

Go attentively through the lists of the military ‘cells’ detailing from them the more energetic and capable men, turn attention to the more talented military specialists who have for one reason or another, left the Service and hold Socialist views. Attract them into the ranks of the Communist Party if they desire honestly to serve the proletariat and desire in the future to direct not the blind mechanical forces in the service of the bourgeoisie, but a national army.

Form a directing operative head of the Military Section.

Do not put this off to a future moment, which may be pregnant with events and catch you unprepared.

Desiring you all success, both in organisation and in your struggle.

With Communist Greetings,

President of the Presidium of the I.K.K.I.

ZINOVIEV

Member of the Presidium: McMANUS

Secretary: KUUSINEN

Some historians say that the letter aided the Conservative party in hastening the collapse of the Liberal party which led to a decisive Conservative victory. Curiously, a now familiar tactic.

Others say the letter was an example of Conservative deceit, which in 1924, enabled Britain’s Conservative party to cheat their way to a general election victory. Personally, I’m inclined to believe the latter. It’s not as if the Conservatives have a history of democratic engagement, transparency, accountability and honesty, after all.

The faked letter came at a sensitive time in relations between Britain and the Soviet Union, due to the Conservative opposition to the parliamentary ratification of the Anglo-Soviet trade agreement of 8 August 1924.

The publication of the letter was severely embarrassing to Prime Minister James Ramsay MacDonald and his Labour party. The chance of a victory was dashed as the spectre of internal revolution and a government oblivious to the red peril dominated the public consciousness, via the media.

MacDonald’s attempts to establish doubt regarding the authenticity of the letter were catastrophically in vain, hampered by the document’s widespread acceptance amongst Tory government officials. MacDonald told his Cabinet he “felt like a man sewn in a sack and thrown into the sea.”

New light on the scandal which triggered the fall of the first Labour government in 1924 is shed in a study by Gill Bennett, chief historian at the Foreign Office, commissioned by Robin Cook in 1998.

Bennett’s investigation implicates Desmond Morton, an MI6 officer and close friend of Churchill who appointed him personal assistant during the second world war, and also points to Major Joseph Ball, an MI5 officer who joined Conservative Central Office in 1926. Ball later went on to be one of the earliest spin doctors – for the Tories.

The exact route of the forged letter to the Daily Mail will probably never be known. There were other possible conduits, including Stewart Menzies, a future head of MI6 who, according to MI6 files, admitted sending a copy to the Mail.

In summary, the letter was purported to be from Grigori Zinoviev, president of the Comintern, the internal communist organisation, called on British communists to mobilise “sympathetic forces” in the Labour Party to support an Anglo-Soviet treaty (including a loan to the Bolshevik government) and to encourage “agitation-propaganda” in the armed forces.

As stated, on October 25, 1924, just four days before the election, the Mail splashed headlines across its front page claiming: Civil War Plot by Socialists’ Masters: Moscow Orders To Our Reds; Great Plot Disclosed. Labour lost the election by a landslide.

Ms Bennett said the letter “probably was leaked from SIS [the Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6] by somebody to the Conservative Party Central Office.” She named Major Ball and Mr Morton, who was responsible for assessing agents’ reports.

“I have my doubts as to whether he thought it was genuine but [Morton] treated it as if it was,” she said.

She described MI6 as being at the centre of the scandal, although it was impossible to say whether the head of MI6, Admiral Hugh Sinclair, was involved.

Ms Bennett also said there was “no evidence of a conspiracy” in what she called “the institutional sense.”

Of course not. Such an act of deceit couldn’t possibly have been intended to damage the Labour party.

However, sarcasm aside, there was no evidence that refuted such a conspiracy either. The security and intelligence community at the time consisted of a “very, very incestuous circle, an elite network” who went to school together. Their allegiances, she says in her report, “lay firmly in the Conservative camp.”

Ms Bennett had full access to secret files held by MI6 (though some have been destroyed) and MI5. She also saw Soviet archives in Moscow before writing her 128-page study. The files show the forged Zinoviev letter was widely circulated, including to senior army officers, to inflict maximum damage on the Labour government.

She found no evidence to identify the name of the forger. The report says there is no hard evidence that MI6 agents in Riga were directly responsible – though it is known they had close contacts with White Russians – or that the letter was commissioned in response to British intelligence services’ “uneasiness about its prospects under a re-elected Labour government.”

The report does not tie up loose ends. But by putting a huge amount of material into the public domain, it at least allows people to make up their own minds. Important questions remain, and may always go unanswered – such as who actually forged the letter.

However, even if Ms Bennett is right in her suggestion that MI6 chiefs did not set up the forgery, her report claims that MI6 deceived the Foreign Office by asserting it did know who the source was – a deception it used to insist, wrongly, that the Zinoviev letter was genuine.

Ms Bennett claims that we cannot conclude the scandal brought down Ramsay Macdonald’s government, which had already lost a confidence vote and Liberal support on which it depended was disappearing.

“In electoral terms,” she says, “the impact of the Zinoviev letter on Labour was more psychological than measurable.”

I don’t agree. The despicable faked letter was an act that was intended to harm the party’s popularity and undermine public trust, AND to have a psychological impact. 

The media has always exercised enormously heavy influence on voters, I find it a little odd that such a connection was deemed insignificant. Especially given the wide use of black propaganda, very evident at the time.

Besides, this isn’t an isolated event, and there does appear to be an established relationship between Conservative governments and the Secret Service staging persistent attempts at “destabilising,” discrediting and smearing the left. And the media.

Fast-forward to more recent events, and low and behold, the mainstream media are still feeding us the fear-mongering and pseudo-warnings of an “evil Communist threat” in the form of Ralph Miliband, and his “influence” on his son, “Red Ed,” claiming that the Labour leader’s policies are founded on a “legacy of evil and a “poisonous creed.” That’s once again according to the very pro-establishment, corrupt Daily Mail, of course. (See also: Tory Fascist Lie Machine The Daily Mail Has Met Its Match.) Same old tactics.

The Comintern and Soviet government vehemently and consistently denied the authenticity of the document. Grigori Zinoviev issued a denial on 27 October 1924 (two days before the election), which was finally published in the December 1924 issue of The Communist Review, considerably well after the MacDonald government had fallen.

Zinoviev declared:

The letter of 15th September, 1924, which has been attributed to me, is from the first to the last word, a forgery. Let us take the heading. The organisation of which I am the president never describes itself officially as the “Executive Committee of the Third Communist International”; the official name is “Executive Committee of the Communist International.” Equally incorrect is the signature, “The Chairman of the Presidium.” The forger has shown himself to be very stupid in his choice of the date. On the 15th of September, 1924, I was taking a holiday in Kislovodsk, and, therefore, could not have signed any official letter. […]

It is not difficult to understand why some of the leaders of the Liberal-Conservative bloc had recourse to such methods as the forging of documents. Apparently they seriously thought they would be able, at the last minute before the elections, to create confusion in the ranks of those electors who sincerely sympathise with the Treaty between England and the Soviet Union. It is much more difficult to understand why the English Foreign Office, which is still under the control of the Prime Minister, MacDonald, did not refrain from making use of such a white-guardist forgery.”

 

Bugger, secret service spies are “weirdos who have created a completely mad version of the world that they then impose on the rest of us.” Adam Curtis

Sounds like a very Conservative mindset to me. I think that it’s a fairly safe and balanced conclusion that the Intelligence Services lack diversity, with a strong tendency to recruit staunch establishmentarians.

Again, the Zinoviev letter is by no means the only attempt by the security and intelligence services to destabilised a Labour government.

Peter Wright, a former MI5 officer, showed in Spycatcher, a candid autobiography, how elements in his agency worked against the Wilson government in the 1970s.

Despite the Thatcher government’s attempts to prevent publication, the book gained worldwide attention. MI5’s own archives have shown there was a “permanent file” on the Labour leader throughout his time in office. He is the only serving prime minister to have a permanent Secret Service file.

MI5 opened the dossier in 1945 when Mr Wilson became an MP after communist civil servants allegedly suggested he had similar “political sympathies.”

His file was so secret that he was given the pseudonym Norman John Worthington.

Sir Michael Hanley, MI5 director general from 1972, went to even greater lengths to conceal its existence by removing it from the central index, meaning any search would result in a “no trace.”

Personal permission from Sir Michael was required to access it.

This is backed up by corroborating interviews with senior figures at the time.

These events unfolded at a time when the establishment, from the intelligence services down to parts of Fleet Street, were paranoid about the “threat of communism.” So paranoid it seems, they were prepared to believe a prime minister of Britain was an active Soviet spy.

At a time of continuing Cold War tensions, industrial unrest was rife, the country had suffered power cuts and a three-day working week and in 1975 the government was being warned privately that the consequences would be severe if it could not curb inflation.

Whilst some on the hard left believed revolution was imminent, former military figures, angry at the extent of union control, were building private armies, in preparation for the coming conflict, according to the then BBC investigative journalist Barrie Penrose. (Penrose co-authored The Pencourt File with another journalist, Roger Courtiour.)

Meetings with Wilson were secretly recorded in 1976 by both the journalists (Penrose and Courtiour) weeks after his shock departure from Number 10.

“Wilson spoke darkly of two military coups which he said had been planned to overthrow his government in the late 1960s and in the mid 1970s,” Penrose writes.

Wilson told the journalists they “should investigate the forces that are threatening democratic countries like Britain.”

In his book, Peter Wright also outlines a plot to force Wilson’s resignation by MI5 agents who were convinced he was a Communist spy. Wright’s account is often dismissed as an exaggeration, but fresh evidence of plots surfaced in 2006.

Penrose says that witnesses confirm such plotting “wasn’t in the fevered imagination of an embittered ex-PM.”

Writing about the drama documentary The Plot Against Harold Wilson, shown on BBC Two at 21:00 on Thursday 16 March, 2006, Penrose concludes:

“You may ask, at the end of the programme, how much of it can be believed. My view now, as it was then, is that Wilson was right in his fears…. in answer to the question ‘how close did we come to a military government’ I can only say – closer than we’d ever be content to think.”


Harold Wilson, Aneurin Bevan, Ian Mikardo, Tom Driberg and Barbara Castle of the Keep Left Group (1951)


A very British Coup

Chris Mullins, a former Foreign Office minister and author, writes:

“By the time A Very British Coup was published, in 1982, the political climate was even more propitious. Prompted by the imminent arrival of cruise missiles, CND demonstrations were attracting crowds in excess of 200,000. The establishment was getting so twitchy that, as we later learned, Michael Heseltine had set up a special unit in the Ministry of Defence to counter the impact of CND.

The US was getting a relapse of McCarthist twitchiness too. When A Very British Coup was published I was editor of the political weekly Tribune, and we were selling the book by mail order through the paper. A few days after the first advert appeared we were intrigued to receive an order from the US embassy. We duly dispatched a copy and waited to see what would happen next. We did not have to wait long.

An invitation arrived to lunch with the minister, the most important man at the embassy after the ambassador. He even sent his bullet-proof Cadillac to Tribune’s modest headquarters in Gray’s Inn Road to convey me to his mansion in Kensington.

At first I assumed that I was one of a number of guests, but no: there was just the minister, two of his colleagues, an Asian butler and myself.

“Why are you interested in a minnow like me?” I inquired.

“I reckon,” he drawled, “that you are among the top 1,000 opinion formers in the country.”

“Well, I must be about number 999.”

“The other 999 have been here too.”

A year or two later I received from an anonymous source an envelope posted in Brussels. It contained an internal US state department memorandum addressed to US diplomats in London listing a number of questions they were to put to “authorised contacts” in London regarding the balance of power within the Labour party and opinion regarding the US bases in general and the impending arrival of cruise missiles in particular. Although, in retrospect, we can see they had no cause for concern, there is no doubt that alarm bells were ringing in Washington.

A Very British Coup attracted attention elsewhere too. It was helpfully denounced in the correspondence columns of the Times, and as a result sales in Hatchards of Piccadilly almost matched those at the leftwing bookshop Collets. (When it comes to selling books, a high-profile denunciation is worth half a dozen friendly reviews and I have always done my best to organise one).

Thereafter interest might have faded, but for events conspiring to make it topical. In August 1985 the Observer revealed that an MI5 officer, Brigadier Ronnie Stoneham, was to be found in room 105 at Broadcasting House. His job? Stamping upturned Christmas trees on the personnel files of BBC employees he deemed to be unsuitable for promotion. Students of A Very British Coup will know that my head of MI5, Sir Peregrine Craddock, was also vetting BBC employees. What’s more, he also had a spy on the general council of CND – and in due course the MI5 defector Cathy Massiter revealed that there had indeed been such a spy. His name was Harry Newton.

Finally, in 1987 Peter Wright, a retired MI5 officer, caused a sensation with his claim that he and a group of MI5 colleagues had plotted to undermine the Wilson government. Suddenly the possibility that the British establishment might conspire with its friends across the Atlantic to destabilise the elected government could no longer be dismissed as leftwing paranoia.”

The Enemy Within.

Margaret Thatcher branded Arthur Scargill and the other leaders of the 1984-5 miners’ strike the enemy within. With the publication of Seumas Milne’s bestselling book a decade later, the full irony of that accusation became clear. There was an enemy within. But it was not the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) that was out to subvert liberty. It was the secret services of the British state – operating inside the NUM itself.

Seumas Milne reveals the astonishing lengths to which the government and its intelligence machine were prepared to go to destroy the power of Britain’s miners’ union. Using phoney bank deposits, staged cash drops, forged documents, agents provocateurs and unrelenting surveillance, MI5 and police Special Branch set out to discredit Scargill and other miners’ leaders.

Now we know that the Tory prime minister intended to extend the charge of seditious insurrection, not only to left wing Labour councils in Liverpool and London resisting cuts in services, but against the Labour party as a whole.

Planted tales of corruption were seized on by the media and both Tory and Labour politicians in what became an unprecedentedly savage smear campaign. This is one of the UK’s most important postwar class confrontations.

Seumas Milne has highlighted the continuing threat posed by the security services to democracy today.

Milne describes the Conservative government’s systematic resort to anti-democratic measures to break the resistance of Britain’s most powerful union: from the use of the police and security services to infiltrate and undermine the miners’ union to the manipulation of the courts and media to discredit and tie the hands of its leaders.

He says:

“A decade after the strike, I called the book I wrote about that secret war against the miners The Enemy Within, because the phrase turned out to have multiple layers of meaning. As the evidence has piled up with each new edition, the charge that Thatcher laid at the door of the National Union of Mineworkers can in fact be seen to fit her own government’s use of the secret state far better.

It wasn’t just the militarised police occupation of the coalfields; the 11,000 arrests, deaths, police assaults, mass jailings and sackings; the roadblocks, fitups and false prosecutions – most infamously at the Orgreave coking plant where an orgy of police violence in June 1984 was followed by a failed attempt to prosecute 95 miners for riot on the basis of false evidence.

It’s that under the prime minister’s guidance, MI5, police Special Branch, GCHQ and the NSA were mobilised not only to spy on the NUM on an industrial scale, but to employ agents provocateurs at the highest level of the union, dirty tricks, slush funds, false allegations, forgeries, phoney cash deposits and multiple secretly sponsored legal actions to break the defence of the mining communities.

In the years since, Thatcher and her former ministers and intelligence mandarins have defended such covert action by insisting the NUM leaders were “subversive” because they wanted to bring down the government. Which of course they did – but “legitimately,” as Scargill remarked recently, by bringing about a general election – as took place in the wake of the successful coal strike of 1974.

In reality, as 50 MPs declared when some of these revelations first surfaced, Thatcher’s government and its security apparatus were themselves guilty of the mass “subversion of democratic liberties”. And, as the large-scale malpractices of police undercover units have driven home in the past couple of years, their successors are still at it today.”

See also:

Wilson, MI5 and the rise of Thatcher – Lobster

Bugger – Adam Curtis

How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations – Glenn Greenwald

Controversial GCHQ Unit Engaged in Domestic Law Enforcement, Online Propaganda, Psychology Research – Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Fishman

inconImage courtesy of Robert Livingstone

 


I don’t make any money from my work. I am disabled because of illness and have a very limited income. But you can help by making a donation to help me continue to research and write informative, insightful and independent articles, and to provide support to others. The smallest amount is much appreciated – thank you.

DonatenowButton

Budget 2015: cuts to make Daily Mail readers wince, but not just yet

9686687899_74d73c6216_oPicture courtesy of Robert Livingstone.

Article by Michael Kitson, University of Cambridge

George Osborne is preparing to deliver the first Tory budget since 1996. He will proclaim the success of the government’s “long-term economic plan” and will use this as a platform to launch a radical reduction of welfare expenditure. But repeatedly extolling the success of your long-term economic plan does not mean that you have one. And an economy that in the first quarter was growing at a sluggish annual rate of 2.2% per head – after a deep and protracted recession – is not an indicator of sustained economic revival.

There are two main components of the government’s economic plan. First, to decrease the budget deficit and eventually move it to surplus – with the fiscal burden being borne by cuts in government spending. Second, to reduce the size of the state in the British economy. This is not an “economic plan”, it is a political agenda based on a doctrine of faith.

The focus on fiscal austerity has meant that monetary policy (interest rates and quantitative easing) has been the main stimulant to the economy. Thus, private sector debt is considered good and desirable whereas public sector debt is bad and harmful.

This makes little economic sense; what is important is the appropriate balance between borrowing to consume and borrowing to invest. In a period of cheap money, it is no surprise that consumers are buying new cars in record numbers (85% of which are manufactured abroad); the problem is that the state is not investing in the infrastructure that the economy needs.

The growth record

The supporters of austerity have argued that the return of economic growth is justification for the policy. This argument is full of holes. The anti-austerity group never argued that the economy would remain in a permanent recession – their concern was that recovery would be delayed and the downturn would cause long-term damage. The normal path for an economy that suffers a shock is that it bounces back with a period of rapid economic growth. The bounce-back has been feeble in the UK and growth has yet to get back to trend.

Furthermore, the most important indicator of prosperity is GDP per capita, and as shown by the red line in the chart below, this is still below the level achieved in 2008. This reflects the UK’s productivity problem. As the liberal economist Paul Krugman observed:

Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it is almost everything. A country’s ability to improve its standard of living over time depends almost entirely on its ability to raise its output per worker.

Although it will probably receive a lot of lip service in the budget, there has been no coherent plan to raise productivity in the UK.

ONS, Quarterly National Accounts, Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015

The retreat of the makers

The UK remains an unbalanced economy: regional disparities have widened since the early 1980s and this process was not halted by the financial crisis. The government has proclaimed that it is putting the power into the “Northern powerhouse”. But regional policy in the UK is piecemeal and parsimonious; and you do not build a powerhouse by postponing infrastructure spending in the North.

Support for industry is another area where soundbites trump substance. The chancellor has called for “a Britain carried aloft by the march of the makers”. But as the chart below shows, although there has been a recovery of the service sector, the manufacturing sector remains smaller than it was before the financial crisis.

The coalition government revived the notion of “industrial policy” to support the manufacturing sector; but this was a Vince Cable initiative which is not being pursued by the current government – which is instead implementing major cuts at the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, the department responsible for business support and innovation.

ONS, Quarterly National Accounts, Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015

Of course, it is often argued that manufacturing does not matter any more as we are a service-based economy. Services will continue to provide most of the jobs and most of the output of the economy. Where manufacturing plays a crucial role is as an important source of exports: to help address the deficit that the chancellor rarely talks about – our massive and persistent trade deficit with the rest of the world.

The size of the state

An important part of the long-term political plan is to reduce the size of government – to wield the axe to what the Daily Mail refers to as the “the bloated overweening state. This is a big challenge as the size of the state (as a share of GDP) has increased in all advanced economies since World War II.

This has not been due to some statist plot, but reflects the implications of prosperity. As economies have grown and the standard of living and life expectancy have increased, there has been expanding demand for health, education and pensions. And much of this demand has been met by the state and funded by tax revenue. These are the largest components of government expenditure in the UK; and if the chancellor is serious about reducing the size of the state this is where his axe will have to eventually fall.

Hitting benefit claimants in the meantime is an easy target – and, after all, not many of them are likely to vote Conservative. But large-scale cuts to school budgets, the NHS and state pensions may even make some readers of the Daily Mail wince.

The Conversation

Michael Kitson is University Lecturer in Global Macroeconomics at University of Cambridge.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

The ultimate aim of the “allthesame” lie is division and disempowerment of the Left.

1796655_294409220710133_3373329_n

The speech-writer for David Cameron in the run-up to the 2010 general election, Ian Birrellseems to have finger in every lie on behalf of the Tories. He’s the contributing editor of The Mail on Sunday, whilst writing columns regularly in several other papers. He’s been published in The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Daily Mail, The Financial Times, The Times, The Observer, The London Evening Standard, The Sun, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, Prospect, New Statesman and The Spectator.

On the 2nd January, Birrell cobbled together a somewhat strange and hugely speculative article in the Guardianclaiming that “a Tory-Labour unity coalition may be the only way forward after 7 May” and the two parties have more in common with each other than with the insurgents. A national government would prevent a constitutional crisis.”

There are no quotes or citations, just an unsubstantiated comment: “But most people in Westminster privately predict a hung parliament.”

As I said, entirely speculative, seemingly without an aim.

Birrell also claims there was “a brief flicker of unity” between the parties during the Scottish referendum. That’s a neat side-stepping of the fundamental fact that Labour, like most socialists, have always been internationalists, which has absolutely nothing to do with the Tories’ position on Scottish independence at all, and everything to do with Labour’s core values. It’s also a claim frequently made by the Scottish Nationalists –  Labour “sided with the Tories.” Anyone would think that the Scottish National Party want to undermine support for the Labour Party in Scotland…

There is of course a subtext to Birrell’s article. It is a piece of propaganda. The subtext is “the mainstream political parties are all the same.”

The “allthesame” myth came straight from Tory HQ. The BBC’s Tory correspondent Nick Robinson admitted live on air that Cameron’s best chance of winning the next election is if people believe politicians are “all the same.” That is very clearly not the case. I think this is a major ploy aimed at propagandarising an exclusively class-based identity politics, to target and fragment the “working class left.”

It purposefully excludes other social groups and also sets them against each other, for example, working class unemployed people attacking migrants – it really is divisive, anti-democratic, and quite deliberately flies in the face of Labour’s equality and diversity principles. That’s the problem with identity politics: it tends to enhance a further sense of social segregation, fragmentation and it isn’t remotely inclusive.

Of course it also enhances the tropes “outoftouch” and  “allthesame.” It’s a clever strategy, because it attacks Labour’s equality and inclusive principles – the very reason why the Labour movement happened in the first place – and places restriction on who ought to be included.

Think of that divisive strategy 1) in terms of equality; 2) in terms of appealing to the electorate; 3) in terms of policy. Note how it imposes limits and is reductive.

It also demoralises and confuses people.

The Tories set this strategy up in the media, UKIP have extended it further and the minority rival parties, including the Green Party and the Scottish National Party have utilised the same rhetoric tool: all of these parties frequently use the term “liblabcon”for example. That’s a sort of cognitive shortcut to what has been tacitly accepted, apparently, as a “common sense” view that partisanship amongst the mainstream parties is dead. I’ve written at length about this process of “normalisation” –  how social conservatism and neoliberalism have been absorbed culturally, and how this serves to naturalise the dominance of the Right and stifle the rationale for critical debate here – Manufacturing consensus: the end of history and the partisan man.

Be prepared for much more of this propaganda tactic: the Right are engaged in an all out war.

Firstly they know that Ed Miliband has edited their script, abandoning the free-market fundamentalist consensus established by Thatcherism in favour of social democracy.

Secondly, the right-wing media barons who set the terms of what is deemed politically palatable in Britain have never forgiven Ed Miliband for his endorsement of Leveson, which they believe is an unacceptable threat to their power.

Thirdly, they know Labour under Ed Miliband may well actually win the 2015 election.

It doesn’t take much effort to work out that the two main parties in competition have nothing in common at all. They debate oppositionally in parliament. Cameron attacks Miliband at every opportunity and on a very personal level, quite often. It’s plain, if you listen to the parliamentary debates, that neither man can stand what the other represents.

And how would the Tories and Labour reconcile their fundamental differences regarding human rights, the European Convention On Human Rights (ECHR) and the European Union? How about the bedroom tax? The National Health Service? Taxation? The welfare reforms? Equality? These are issues on which the two rival parties will never be able reach a consensus.

10635953_696483917087806_7307164383030383606_n

It’s quite difficult to assert that there are significant differences between the parties, because of the constant repetition of the “allthesame” lie. It has become almost like a comforting, lulling mantra and a shortcut from cognitive dissonance. People often get quite angry when confronted with evidence that challenges this soundbite. But policies provide very good evidence, they are scripted from ideologies and are statements of a party’s intentions.

Ed Miliband has been cautious in making policy promises and has said that he won’t pledge anything that he may not be able to deliver. Here are Labour’s key policies to date, each has been costed and evidenced.

The thing about policies that have been passed into law is that they can be verified on the Parliamentary website and elsewhere. How many of you reading this think that Blair was a “Thatcherite”? I’m not a Blairite. I do like Miliband, who is a very different leader than Blair was. Miliband denounced New Labour in 2010. His stance on Syria in 2013 draws a clean line under the Blair approach. Yet Blair is still being used as a stick to hit the Labour Party with.

The claims made in lying articles in the media and the often inaccurate and distorted claims of fringe party supporters are based on a propaganda technique called transfer and association, which is a method of projecting negative (or positive) qualities of a person, entity, object, or value (an individual, group, organisation) to another in order to discredit it (or sometimes, to make the second more acceptable, this tactic is used in advertising a lot.)

It evokes an emotional response, which stimulates the target to identify with recognised authorities. But that stick is hitting a closed door now. Newsflash: Blair hasn’t been party leader for some years.

I worked on compiling a list of New Labour’s policies, and despite Blair’s faults, there really were some outstanding achievements, such as the Equality Act, the Human Rights Act, various animal welfare laws, Every Child Matters and the Good Friday Agreement. I have listed New Labour’s achievements with a comparable list of the Coalition’s “memorable” moments, too. If you hated Blair, and see him as some sort of high priest of neoliberalism, it’s probably even more important that you read this. I promise it will help you to understand cognitive dissonance, at the very least, and perhaps to appreciate the importance of evidence and critical thinking: Political parties – there are very BIG differences in their policies.

And this, for some balance and perspective: Thatcher, Mad Cow Disease and her other failings, the Blair detour and déjà entendu, Mr Cameron.

The “allthesame” lie is a way of neutralising opposition to dominant ideas. It’s a way of disguising partisanship and of manipulating and reducing democratic choices. It’s nothing less than a political micro-management of your beliefs and decision-making.

It also reduces public expectation of opposition and in doing so it establishes diktats: it’s a way of mandating acceptance of ideology, policies or laws by presenting them as if they are the only viable alternative. And those that refuse to accept the diktats are enticed by the marginal parties who offer much, safe in the knowledge that they won’t have to rationalise, evidence, cost or deliver those promises. This also plays a part in diluting viable opposition, because the smaller parties tend to employ the same strategy to gain credibility and support – negative campaigning and repeated lies and soundbites.

Lynton Crosby, who has declared that his role is to destroy the Labour Party, rather than promote the Conservatives, based on any notion of merit, is also all about such a targeted “divide and rule” strategy. This is a right wing tactic of cultivating and manipulating apostasy amongst support for the opposition. It’s a very evident ploy in the media, too, with articles about Labour screaming headlines that don’t match content, and the Sun, Mail and Telegraph in particular blatantly lying about Labour’s policy intentions regularly.

Propaganda isn’t always obvious, and that’s how it works. We need to be very mindful of this.

Ultimately, the only party that will gain from any of this negative campaigning approach and divisive propaganda is the Tories. And that is who we should be collectively opposing.

The Tories launched their election campaign a couple of days ago, and already, it’s obvious that the entire campaign is founded on attempting to undermine Labour’s  credibility by telling lies about their economic management – The Tory election strategy is more of the same: Tories being conservative with the truth.

Contrast the Conservative with the truth approach I’ve discussed here with Miliband’s consistently genuine approach to politics – Ed Miliband: Labour election campaign will be one of hope, not falsehood.  

Whatever party you support and regardless of whether or not we agree on the issues I raise, my key aim, whenever I write, is to inspire a sense of responsibility and some critical thinking. That helps to reliably inform our decision-making.

I won’t apologise to my critics for being a Labour Party supporter, but I will always provide evidence and analysis to support and justify my own views and I will always be happy to engage in dialogue, provided that it’s a respectful and polite exchange. No party is above criticism, quite rightly so, as politics has to be an accountable, reflective and responsive process. That’s what democracy is about.

There is, however, a big difference between genuine criticism, on the one hand and propaganda and lies on the other, which are being masqueraded as “criticism.” If debate isn’t established on a genuine, critical exploration of evidence and establishing truths, then it’s not debate: it’s simply indoctrination.

Related

Don’t believe everything you think: it’s almost election time.

From  Psycho-Linguistics to the Politics of Psychopathy. Part 1: Propaganda

Ed Miliband is the biggest threat to the status quo we’ve seen for decades.

Once you hear the jackboots, it’s too late.

The moment Ed Miliband said he’ll bring socialism back to Downing Street.

Ed Miliband’s policy pledges at a glance

Miliband is an excellent leader, and here’s why.

Cameron’s Nudge that knocked democracy down: mind the Mindspace.

403898_365377090198492_976131366_nThanks to Robert Livingstone for the excellent memes.