Category: British Politics (Page 2 of 4)

UKGE2017: Tory night of fiasco

Britain went to the polls on Thursday, June 8, 2017, and received a hung Parliament in return. Prime Minister Theresa may had called the snap election back in April, in order to shore up what she saw as her lack of legitimacy due to her having slipped into the role of Prime Minister almost de facto following the six-way shootout following the Brexit decision in 2016 which led to then PM David Cameron resigning.

Initially, the polls showed that the Tories had an astonishing 20-24 point lead over the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn. The Tories were seen as the party that would deliver Brexit in a ‘strong and stable’ manner, and May seemed like a safe pair of hands with which she would lead the country through the undoubtedly turbulent years ahead. Meanwhile, the Labour Party was led by a man who’d never held a senior ministerial position before and had had a nasty habit of being overly friendly with terrorists, theocratic regimes and Marxist revolutionary governments, all of which ought to have sunk his electoral hopes without much of a trace.

Indeed, this was what looked like the most reasonable outcome. And then came the disaster of the Tory manifesto release, with its messy roll-out, uncosted nature, vague promises and various pledges to remove provisions for elderly people as well as what became known as the ‘Dementia tax’. The so-called Dementia tax was an effort to address the spiralling costs of social care in modern Britain and mandated that older people with assets of £100,000 or over, for example in property, could use those to pay for their care. The downside was that many people would then be unable to leave anything in an inheritance to their descendants.

To say this did not go down well was an understatement. 

Read More

UKGE2017: Corbyn provides hope for the future

“For the many, not the few”.  A motto that almost half the country clang onto, some of which are people living in destitute, encased in the vicious circle of poverty which the Conservative party has contrived. The hope that Jeremy Corbyn had beamed from his manifesto benefited British people who were most in need, and a way out to break the cycle and an opportunity to get themselves back on their feet.

Under the 90’s Tory government, with John Major at the helm, I was a kid living on the tenth floor flat in one of East London’s many council estates, which were constantly featured on the 6 O’clock news for whatever crime had been committed. I was raised by a lone parent, my miracle mother, whom not only managed to survive on such a small amount of money, (we had £15 a week for food) but had to endure the constant abuse and degradation from MPs and the tabloids for being a single parent (obviously a choice she freely made…. Oh wait…) and we were all engulfed in the same vicious circle that the Tories had created; punished for not working, but no help or opportunity available to get out there at work. Childcare was a fortune, adult education was limited and the lack of working rights made working mothers life impossible to balance.

Then in 1997 Labour was voted in, and despite the questionable decisions Tony Blair made in regards to the wars we were plunged into, that government did a lot for my family and my childhood. My mother wasn’t siting in our 2 bedroom flat in Leyton enjoying being on benefits, scrimping and saving and struggling everyday while enduring hatred. When the opportunity arose thanks to changes Labour made, she went out and studied law. Then when Cameron was voted in, it again affected my adult life. Shockingly diagnosed with multiply lifelong conditions, which cause pain, fatigue and mobility issues at a mere 24 years old, I was unable to work, and was left to fend for myself. The austerity cuts killed people with disability, the stress made me want to kill myself. The stress that the cuts caused was unbearable, more unbearable then the constant pain I was in. I didn’t ask for this. As a person who had worked since she was 16 years old and studied, I did not see my life trapped in another Tory snag,

Like my mother I got myself out of that circle, but with no help from the people who serve us.

Today, after years of unnecessary austerity, the top earners paying less tax than me, disastrous campaigns from May and Corbyn taking the polls by storm, we still have the conservatives leading by vote. Me and every other labour voter are asking ourselves, why? 

Read More

London Burning: Latest terror attack is “Fourth Gen Warfare”

At 10:30 pm on Saturday, June 3, London witnessed the latest in a string of jihadi terror attacks that have so far hit Afghanistan, Iraq, and Manchester. ISIS has also taken over the town of Marawi in the southern Philippines, showing that as its central state is rolled back inch by inch it has the potential to expand elsewhere.

The attack on London Bridge saw 7 people killed by being run over by a white van or stabbed by the three terrorists who then went on a stabbing rampage that ended in Borough Market. British armed police arrived on the scene in 8 minutes from the time of the alert, where they shot all 3 men dead, who were wearing what turned out to be fake suicide vests.

The attacks struck at another landmark in the capital of the West’s home to parliamentary democracy; London Bridge is a landmark with deep historical significance, and to launch an attack on it was an attempt to reach the same level of psychological impact as that on Westminster Bridge back in March. Borough Market is a popular tourist and local attraction and is always full of people. If the attackers had managed to obtain AK-47’s or another similar firearm, or indeed if they’d actually had real suicide vests, the death toll could have been catastrophic. As it was, the country is grateful that they only had a vehicular missile and blades to finish the job. That is what we’ve come to in the West.

What we are seeing is, as Maajid Nawaz and others have described, a full blown global jihadist insurgency. The jihadists have taken their campaign of terror beyond mere terrorism and have elevated it to the levels of highly decentralised, insurgent, Fourth-Generation Warfare.

Read More

Where (rarely) even Jeremy Corbyn is right…

With British politics reaching its crescendo and the Labour party narrowing Tory lead to five points, it is time for some home truth. Jeremy Corbyn gave a speech where he alleged to have claimed that terrorism in Britain is a direct response to British foreign policy. The result was as you expect from liberal media. From false accusations to blatant lying, to character assassination, Corbyn was portrayed as a combination of Gandhi and Laden. As pacifist and apologist as Gandhi, as vicious and Islamist as Laden. He was portrayed as being incompetent and conniving and dangerous at the same time.

 

Except, none of that is even remotely true. I am no great fan of either Corbyn or May, and I find both of them disingenuous, but for the sake of balance, Corbyn deserves credit where he is right. His claim that his words were twisted and misrepresented makes sense. And frankly, I have never seen two points, which in recent days, I have found myself quietly agreeing with the Labour party and Corbyn himself. For all his faults, let’s hear him out and let’s have the truth out in public. 

Read More

The British Bataclan and Western passivity

On Monday, May 22, an Islamist jihadist blew himself up at the Manchester Arena, at the end of an Ariana Grande concert. He killed 22 people, mostly young teenagers, one only eight years old. Most of the concert attendees were teenage girls, who the bomber may have seen as a legitimate target because of their femininity–the same way Islamists pour acid on women. Police and counter-terrorism operations are still ongoing as of this writing, while the terror threat has been raised to critical and there are now soldiers on Britain’s streets.

Given my dissertation focuses on ISIS-inspired Islamist terror attacks in Europe 2015-16 it now looks more relevant than ever, and not in a good way.

Theresa May’s speech after the attack was mostly good, but she didn’t name the ideology of Islamism. As a result, she risks falling into the same trap as Obama in not naming the ideology behind these attacks. She risks handing the narrative to those who will use it for their own malevolent ends by insisting that it’s the fault of all Muslims.

Read More

Labour’s manifesto and Marxism’s rotten heart

After the shambolic leak of Labour’s draft manifesto, Comrade Corbyn launched the party’s manifesto to the public in Bradford on May 17, to rapturous applause from the party faithful. As one would expect from Corbyn and his team’s track record as apparently cuddly socialists, it’s an incoherent grab bag of policies designed to massively expand the role of the state in people’s everyday lives, supposedly in an aim to help people, all the while chipping further away at the now rather eroded foundations of freedom and liberty that British society was founded on.

Not only was the leak shambolic, but the big release was also as full of holes as Corbyn’s cardigans. His spending plans would cause the UK’s debt to explode by £250 billion (US$325 billion) and would see the government aiming to spend an extra £48.6 billion (US$63 billion) per year. Indeed, the chaotic nature of the unveiling was elevated to levels of parody by the fact that even though the manifesto – titled “For the Many, Not the Few” (ruin for the many, not Corbyn’s nomenklatura few) – claims to use an economic model entirely devised by world-leading economists, the policy of a levying a tax on offshore company property actually relied in part on a database created by the current events and satire magazine Private Eye.

Policy proposals include free childcare for all 2-4 year olds, a fat-cat tax on city banks and the super-wealthy that would be worth 2.5% of incomes over £330,000 (US$428,000) and 5% of incomes over £500,000 and a raise in the corporate tax from 19% to 26%, nationalisation of the railways and water industries, re-nationalisation of the postal service, and a new 45p tax threshold for incomes of £80,000 (US$104,000) a year and over and 50p on incomes of £123,000 and over, which would affect 1.3 million people who would end up paying £5,300 (US$6,900) more in tax. According to IFS estimates, the tax burden could increase to 37% by 2022 under a Labour government, dragging us back not the 1970’s but the 1950’s, when Britain was a bombed out shell living on debt and US subsidies. Labour says all its plans for spending, borrowing and taxing are fully costed, but as Matthew Lynn points out, this view seems to belong in another reality.

To conclude the economic arguments against the Labour manifesto, none of Corbyn’s sums add up. Because of the reasons already discussed, the Labour tax plans would actually bring in less tax revenue, and would only raise £20bn-£30bn, leaving a potential shortfall of £28.6 billion (US$37 billion), to be covered by guess what? More borrowing.

The fact is, higher tax rates and stifling economic intervention would lead to poorer economic growth, which in turn would result in lower revenue and adding to the shortfall. One can see how £250 billion more in debt suddenly looks frighteningly realistic.

Read More

Careful of labels: The Tommy Robinson vs Quilliam story

On May 2, the Quilliam anti-extremist organisation in London was the site of an altercation between Quilliam members and Tommy Robinson, formerly of the English Defence League, and a cameraman. Tommy now works for the British branch of Ezra Levant’s right-wing Canadian news network, Rebel Media.

Tommy had gone to the offices of Quilliam to complain about an article in The Guardian newspaper by Quilliam’s researcher named Julia Ebner, about the rise in right-wing extremism in the UK, and how it and Islamist extremism feed off each other. This broad point is often well made and cogently put by Quilliam members like Maajid Nawaz, Adam Deen and Haras Rafiq who is Quilliams’ CEO. It is a convincing case for how extremism on all ideological fringes breeds a mirror image reaction on the opposite fringe.

The issue Tommy had with the article was with this specific paragraph, with the most contentious section highlighted:
That the far right has moved from the fringe into the mainstream demonstrates the massive support that white supremacist movements have attracted from digital natives. Their online followership often exceeds that of mainstream political parties: with over 200,000 followers, Tommy Robinson’s Twitter account has almost the same number of followers as Theresa May’s.

Tommy decided to confront the article’s author by going to see her at Quilliam’s London headquarters. As seen in the video uploaded to Rebel Media’s Youtube channel, Tommy tried to gain access to the building, was asked by Adam Deen if he had an invitation, and when he said he didn’t was asked to leave. Tommy then proceeded to interrogate Deen about whether he thought he was a white supremacist.

Once he was on his own, he re-entered the ground floor lobby, and given no-one was around, decided to go downstairs to see who he could find. Having done this, he ran into the various staff members and researchers who make up the Quilliam team, found Julia in a small conference room with other members, and proceeded to shove his microphone in their faces, while his cameraman filmed them all. A scuffle ensued when Deen tried to stop the incident by apparently grabbing Tommy’s microphone and recording equipment attempting to stop the cameraman filming. Tommy spoke to Haras Rafiq, and the police who were called then escorted Tommy and his cameraman off the premises.

Let me be plain. This was absolutely unacceptable conduct on Tommy Robinson’s part. He violated Quilliam’s security, and the organisation has now had an emergency relocation to new secure premises. He trespassed without permission, and intimidated members of their staff. This, despite all his protestations, made him look like the aggressor rather than the victim, the opposite of his aim. Also, he lost credibility in insisting he’s not an extremist when he copied tactics used by Islamist and other far-right organisations like Al-Muhajiron and Britain First. Added to this, the reaction of members of Quilliam’s staff, who understandably felt surprised and threatened was non-conducive to de-escalating the potential for physical conflict, as their snatching of the microphone and other film equipment only made the situation worse.IMG_0139

That said, let’s consider why Tommy was there, while in no way offering it as an excuse for his actions. Maajid Nawaz and Haras Rafiq have gone on record and repeatedly stated that they do not believe Tommy is a white supremacist, and that the article, which they had no editorial oversight over, was not intentionally worded to portray him as such. That’s all very well, but as Andrew Neill said on the BBC’s Daily Politics, the sentence structure and its chronology strongly implies that Tommy is a white supremacist. Despite Maajid Nawaz’s protestations to the contrary, there is no getting around this. Apparently English is Julia Ebner’s 3rd language, so it is perhaps understandable that her wording could be considered a little awkward in places. However, this is also little comfort as it shows the laxness of the editorial process both within Quilliam up to this point and at The Guardian. 

Read More

No, British National Anthem is not promoting any far-right ideology

Back in October, a Student Union leader of King’s College London wrote a Facebook post, saying he thought the National Anthem should be banned because it promoted far-right ideology, white supremacy and xenophobia. He also said that nation states are a really bad idea.

First, why does this trivial issue occupy someone in a position like the vice president for welfare and community at the KCL SU? Surely this post requires a lot of time? Doesn’t he also have some studying to do?

Anyway, I disagree entirely with Mr Abdullahi’s premise and argument. As such, in response to his use of his right to free speech to criticise what he sees as an out-dated institution, I’ll use my right to free speech to rebut him.

His entire position seems to revolve around the fact that he finds the anthem racist and a remnant of the British Empire. It also apparently empowers far-right nationalists who glory in the old and timeworn idea of the nation state.

First of all, if Mr Abdullahi had actually looked into the history of the national anthem, he might find that it was written during the Jacobite rebellion in the 1740’s. If anything it is an anti-Scottish anthem more than anything else, as it was penned in reaction to Bonnie Prince Charlie storming south to retake the English throne for the Stuart dynasty.

Incidentally, if he wants to see examples of national anthems with less than savoury lyrics maybe he should look at the Chinese, the Mexican, the Algerian, the Turkish and the Vietnamese national anthems. These have some blood curdling lyrics that make Britain’s look meek in comparison.

The second issue with Mr Abdullahi’s misguided comments concern his “f*** the nation state” statement. By this comment, I guess Mr Abdullahi is against all forms of national sovereignty and identity. In other words, he seems to want to live in the world of John Lennon where there are no countries and we are all just one big happyfamily.

I’ve got bad news for him: the nation state is arguably the single biggest protection against external and inter-tribal violence in the history of humanity.

Read More

My latest post at National Interest

fe9f7be4-0fef-4a50-8500-a2e66b0b4e1d

You’re sick of hearing about what should be done in Syria, aren’t you? So am I.

Here, read what we should do.

Hypothesis testing about the 2016 elections

As a political scientist, there’s nothing like testing theories. One of the prevalent theory is that in a Western liberal democracy, to win a general election, you have to be the closest candidate to the center. Ever since Reagan won over, with the Democrats flocking towards him, and Thatcher did the same in UK, it has never been proved wrong.

Recently, these two new charts came to my notice, from YouGov.

Parties leaders left right spectrum-01

Tony Blair man of the people-01

Since Blair, Labour never won the election, because the Tory candidate was closest to the center.

2016, is a unique year, in both UK and US, and it is perhaps the golden opportunity to find out, if this hypothesis is true. Corbyn is hard left and Trump is hard right. According to this hypothesis, they will never win, and in this case the candidates closer to center, Hillary Clinton in US, and Theresa May in UK will sweep the polls.

We shall find out if that theory is universally true.

Excited?

Page 2 of 4

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

Get the most important and interesting articles right at your inbox. Sign up for B+D periodic emails.