The Tory Propoganda Machine: “Strong and Stable”

It would appear that Theresa May’s election strategy is to repeat “strong and stable leadership” like a parrot, so that the gullible public will begin to accept it as fact.

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Since the announcement of the snap election nearly everything she has said has involved the words “strong and stable”. It’s getting to a point now that I’m dumbfounded the entire country isn’t laughing along with me at the utter ridiculousness of it all.

Today provided us with some of the strongest evidence yet that no matter what the question is, the answer is always the same:

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and the audio recording which can be found here.

Theresa May isn’t the only Tory prime minister to take advantage of the “strong and stable” soundbite. Some people may find her rhetoric quite familiar:

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and we all know how that situation played out!

The worst part is how demonstrably false this “strong and stable” rhetoric actually is.

After 9 months of refusal to hold a general election, she suddenly decides to announce a snap election, just three weeks after triggering the most complex and risky diplomatic negotiation the United Kingdom has faced in years. How is that stable? Her constant political flip-flopping and terrible timing doesn’t promote stability or strength to me.

May’s stance on the EU is just as unstable. During the referendum, she supported Remain, but when it was clear which position would give her the most power – she switched from Remain straight to Hard Brexit. Where is the principle? Where is the stability in a leader that will switch to the opposite side of a debate when it best suits her?

She consistently attempted to seize power from parliament when it came to triggering Article 50, yet did a complete U-turn on her decision when it became clear her actions were likely to be deemed unlawful by courts.

These are just a small fraction of the U-turning and flip-flopping that May does consistently. Four huge U-turns have happened in just the past month (National Insurance, snap election, “now is not the time”, energy caps).

As well as unstable, I would argue that Theresa May is a weak coward.

What strong leader refuses to take part in debates before an election? Surely she should want to demonstrate this strength she has? Why is she so terrified at facing the likes of Sturgeon and Corbyn in a debate?

Why is she so terrified of media scrutiny – launching her campaign privately in front of hand-picked Tory loyalists and media members she refused to take questions from?

She is not a strong leader, she is a weak leader. A leader who cannot face opposition, and cannot defend her track record of flip-flops and failures. A leader who must rely on the constant repetition of a meaningless soundbite to win votes, because she cannot win them on policy and competence alone.

Somehow though, millions of people have been completely taken in by the ridiculous rhetoric. They have been brainwashed into believing the completely false “strong and stable” claim.

These people are gullible, there is no other way to describe it. To accept something as true just because it is being repeated consistently, no matter how much this is contradicted by obvious reality, is being incredibly gullible.

Come on Britain, we’re better than this! If Theresa May is so strong and stable then maybe she should demonstrate it instead of just talking about it.

Some of the Most Ridiculous Anti-Corbyn Claims

Earlier in the week, Corbyn was lambasted by the media for “refusing to answer a question about Syria” at a conference about small businesses. This negative spin is  ridiculous, bordering on sheer lies. There is clear video evidence he did not refuse to answer any questions, and merely stated that he would answer the question later at a more appropriate time. The, clearly deaf, reporter kept insisting on derailing the business conference to talk about Syria, and Corbyn stood his ground receiving a round of applause from those there to talk about business.

The media has been so brazen that they’ve happily displayed this video alongside their ridiculous headlines about Corbyn “shouting down a reporter” and “refusing to answer questions”. They know the vast majority of their readers do not have the attention spans to actually watch the video for themselves, and will happily accept the headlines as truth.

The formidable media campaign against Corbyn and the Labour party has gone beyond mere bias, and into the realms of sinister propaganda. In this article, I’m going to show a mere handful of what I think are the most ridiculous and hilarious anti-Corbyn claims.

His “Despotic” Great-Great-Grandfather

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The Daily Express, after no doubt spending hours obsessively searching through Corbyn’s family history in an effort to discredit him, found and revealed that one of his ancestors was James Sargent – a “despotic” master of a Victorian workhouse. The article goes on to describe the horrors Sargent is accused of, while ensuring to mention regularly his connection to Corbyn.

Addressing the report, Corbyn mentioned he had never heard of him before, and added “I want to take this opportunity to apologise for not doing the decent thing and going back in time and having a chat with him about his appalling behaviour”.

His Communist Bicycle

In 2015, the Times reported that Corbyn had taken a taxi, forgoing his “Chairman Mao-style bicycle”.

I don’t need to express how ridiculous this statement is, it is just purely ridiculous. The fact any journalist thought that would be anything other than laughable is almost unbelievable.

Corbyn responded, “Less thorough journalists might have referred to it as just a bicycle, but no, so we have to conclude that whenever we see somebody on a bicycle from now on, there goes another supporter of Chairman Mao”

Eating Veteran’s Sandwiches

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Version after editing by Guido Fawkes

The Guido Fawkes blog inaccurately reported that Corbyn had taken sandwiches meant for veterans at a memorial service. Guido Fawkes reports that “according to respected photographer Steve Back, Jeremy Corbyn took two free lunch packs meant for veterans at today’s Battle of Britain event at St Paul’s”.

A photo later emerged showing volunteers clearly handing the sandwiches to Corbyn. The volunteers even posed for a photo with Corbyn. To confirm the matter even further, a spokesperson for Costa said the bags were available to all veterans and guests at the service.

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Guido Fawkes later provided a small apology at the end of the article, and edited the article to absolve responsibility by further noting it was based on an eye-witness account. The article still has a clear anti-Corbyn spin.

These are only a handful of the finer examples of anti-Corbyn spin that the mainstream media has produced – but there is significantly more. The vast majority of media stories about Corbyn are either deliberately negative, full of spin and rhetoric, or misrepresent his policy/views.

Wether you agree with Corbyn or not – a fair press that gives us a balanced view of the facts is vital for a functioning democracy. Nobody should be happy to be lied to, or misled.

You may fundamentally disagree with Corbyn but you have the right to make that decision based on truth and fact; not to be led into that decision by hard-right, billionaire media tycoons.

The Failed “War on Drugs” – Time for Change

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The international, US-led, ideological “war on drugs” has been an utter failure and it is about time the UK joined a growing number of nations in taking a scientific, evidence-based approach to dealing with the inevitable use of psychoactive substances.

The authoritarian idea of controlling the behaviour of the public by criminalising mind-altering substances has a long history; which has resulted in public health crises, mass incarceration of otherwise law-abiding citizens, immense black markets, violent drug gangs, deaths and even genocides. These are only few examples of the devastating and far-reaching consequences of the drug war.

Even the United Nations Office on Drug Control admits that international drug control has resulted in the creation of “a criminal black market of staggering proportions” which has become a fundamental threat to global security.

Criminalising drug use does not prevent its use, it just hands the market to criminals. Drugs sold have no age restrictions, no ingredient-labelling, no instructions and no health advice. Drugs created on the black market are notably impure, and it is never truly possible to know what you are buying.

Most of the health-risks can be directly attributed to the fact drugs are illegal. People who overdose do not seek medical help quickly enough due to the fear of the legal consequences. Substances are adulterated by dodgy dealers, and they are made in unsafe home-laboratories. People are poorly educated on how to safely use these substances and what the safe limits are.

Not only does the drug war have such severe repercussions – it has been a catastrophic failure. It has failed to eliminate drug-use. It has failed to eliminate the production and supply of drugs. It has failed to protect the health of the public. After many decades it has completely failed in achieving what it was supposedly meant to achieve.

The world is starting, slowly, to wake up to this issue. The number of countries liberalising drug laws is increasing, especially in regard to cannabis. In these countries where drug laws have been liberalised, drug use has not soared.

Portugal is one of the most prominent examples of succesful liberal drug laws. 15 years ago, Portugal decriminalised all drug use. As a result of this, they have made considerable financial savings, public health has improved, crime has dropped and there has been no significant increase in drug use.

Other notable examples include the Netherlands, the United States, Uraguay, Canada and Switzerland.

Alongside these more progressive countries, there are unfortunately 33 that have a death penalty for drug offences.

The war on drugs is ideology driven – it is an authoritarian policy, designed to ensure control over citizens. Any arguments to say the war on drugs is about health and public safety can be struck down by simply pointing out the staggering impurity of drugs created by dodgy, violent criminals.

It is in the interest in public health and safety to educate people about how to safely use these substances and to regulate the production and supply of these substances to ensure purity.

It is time the UK took a more rational, evidence-based approach to substance use – an inevitability, proven by even the harshest anti-drug policy’s inability to curb it. It is time the UK joined the ever-increasing number of countries that are reaping the benefits of more liberal drug laws.

It is time the UK took notice of how damaging the consequences of the black market are and joined other countries in championing an evidence-based approach to drug policy.

Welfare Cuts to the Disabled, Bereaved & Disadvantaged – The Cameron Legacy

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Last week Theresa May’s government carried on with the attack on the poor, disabled and disadvantaged began by Cameron and Osbourne’s ideological austerity. This attack, as with most others, is targeted toward the weaker and poorer of society.

This move was defended as a cost-cutting measure, using the poor as a means to save money, yet not only have the Tories decided to further impoverish many disadvantaged British citizens, they are simultaneously introducing income tax cuts that will mainly benefit those with wealth.

According to Resolution Foundation, 80% of these tax giveaways will go to the richer half of households, while the poorest third will shoulder 67% of the cuts to support.

The fact the Tories keep cutting from the lowest tiers of society to introduce new tax cuts to the highest tiers of society should be of no surprise to anyone now, since Cameron announced austerity in 2010 the government has repeatedly done exactly this.

What is at least somewhat surprising is the callous nature of these cuts and who they are targeted toward.

Such as mourning families. Previously, if a parent was to die families would receive financial support to help raise the child until they turned 18. This has been the case, in some form, since 1946.

Under the new cuts, instead of receiving financial support until the child turns 18, families will now receive support for no longer than 18 months after the parent has died. This is a loss of tens of thousands of pounds for some bereaved families.

Also, despite massive protests and reports from the UN that the UK is conducting a systematic violation of disabled rights, the Tories are continuing with their abhorrent attacks on disabled people.

Now, an estimated 500,000+ disabled people will have £29.05 less per week if they’re deemed fit for ‘WRAG’ (work-related activity). Obviously this assessment is not completed by a doctor or medical professional, but an automated system conducted by an office worker.

As well as targeting the disabled and bereaved, the Tories have also decided the best way to save money is to potentially force thousands of young people onto the streets. Jobseekers aged 18-21 will be blocked from gaining Housing Benefit, which is always paid directly to the landlord. Many young adults are now faced with the inability to pay their rent, and potentially homelessness.

I like to think the conservatives can’t truly understand the effects these cuts will have on people’s lives because they live in such a small bubble of privilege; but considering how many advisors they have, how many protests have occurred and how the media have (generally) responded I think that may be wishful thinking.

It’s far more likely they know exactly the suffering and hardship these cuts will bring, and they simply think the pitiful money saved (to be handed to the wealthy in tax cuts) is more important.

Deaths, homelessness, suffering and poverty. This is Cameron’s legacy, and May is more than happy to carry on.

Corbyn is Right About the Media and Their Response Serves to Demonstrate That

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You have probably seen the headlines and posts trending on Facebook this morning:

“Jeremy Corbyn loses temper and blames media for dire poll ratings”

“When asked if he was the problem with Labour, Mr Corbyn snapped”

So, let’s have a look at this footage.

“You’re obsessed with this question, if I may say so – utterly obsessed with it.

We have a very strong opposition in Britain, if you bothered to report what we’re doing.

If you bothered to report what Jon Ashworth is doing on the health service, if you bothered to report what Angela Rayner is doing and saying on schools. If you bothered to report what the Labour Party is actually saying.

It’s your responsibility to make sure that the opposition voice is heard as well as the government’s voice. It’s your failings.”

The thing is, he is absolutely 100% correct.

As several studies have shown, there is a continual media bias against Corbyn and the Labour party. One such study, conducted by the London School of Economics, showed that just 11% of all newspaper articles about him accurately described any of his policies. In the Daily Mail, this figure was just 0%.

Jeremy Corbyn is entirely right that if Labour is heading for a disastrous electoral defeat, the media is, at the very least, partly to blame (let’s give the Blairites their credit for helping to destroy the Labour party at every turn too).

If Labour is heading for a disastrous electoral defeat, it is because the news reporters aren’t doing their job of reporting the news.

Wether or not you support Corbyn is irrelevant – we, as a public, deserve to be correctly informed. We all have a right to the correct and full information to make our political decisions. The media plays an important role in that process; and their blatant, shameless bias is an insult to the public and to democracy.

The greatest (and most frustrating) part of this is the media’s response. How would you expect the media to respond to accusations of a bias against Corbyn and the Labour Party?

With a hell of a lot of biased spiel, focusing entirely on ‘Corbyn losing his cool’ and only vaguely mentioning the actual subject matter of his argument. The hypocrisy is outstanding – let’s be honest with ourselves, if this had been May, she wouldn’t have ‘lost her cool’, she would have been ‘assertive’ and ‘iron-willed’.

Their response literally only serves to prove him right, but because of the immense power the media has over public opinion, I feel many will not see through it. Many will buy into the rhetoric that Labour is failing because of Corbyn, and his entirely correct, well-justified argument was just him ‘losing his cool’.

Crippling Austerity, Financial Cuts … Yet £490mill To Change The Passport Colour!

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The Tories have been pushing an ideological austerity onto the public since they first gained office. If you were to listen to the Tories, the country’s financial situation is so poor we are on the verge of collapse, and the only way to rescue our land from financial ruin is to impose austerity.

To a Tory government austerity has a very simple meaning; cuts, cuts and more cuts. Cuts to vital public services, cuts to welfare systems and cuts to the poor. Oddly enough it also means cutting the taxes of the richest members of society.

This Thursday is to bring more cuts to spending, which were actually announced years ago by David Cameron and George Osbourne. Abhorrent cuts to disabled people, bereaved widows/widowers, low-income families and young people.

If you were to listen to Tory platitudes and rhetoric, you’d be led to believe that these cuts are vital. We are skint, and we need to start “living within our means”.

We are however one of the richest country’s in the world, and austerity is obviously an ideological choice targeting the poor. If it were anything other, why are the poor and disadvantaged the most targeted by these cuts? According to Resolution Foundation 80% of the tax cuts coming into force this Thursday go to well-off households, while 67% of benefit cuts fall on the poorest third:

What shocks me more considerably is the sheer brazenness of it. To claim we are so desperately in need of extra money that we must cut funding for the disabled and force young people out of their homes, while also giving millions worth in tax cuts to the richest of our society, is utterly ridiculous.

To make matters worse, we have recently heard that one of the first ideas that has been put forward upon triggering Article 50 is that our passport will now be changed back to its original blue colour!

We have just triggered Article 50, we are going to be leaving the EU and the single market; there is so much to do, so much to work out and so much to be organised. So naturally, the absolute highest priority should be changing the colour of our passports …

What’s that? It’s going to cost £500million!

In the same week that they remove Housing Benefit from 18-21 year olds – saving just £25 million in the first year, rising to £40 million by 2020 – people cry that we have enough money to spend £500 million changing the colour of our passports!

The money we save from taking this benefit away doesn’t even cover 20% of the cost of making our passports blue …

It makes me genuinely exasperated and angry to think that there will be 18-21 year olds struggling to pay rent, potentially faced with losing their homes and with nowhere to go being forced into the streets – just to chip in to the cost of making our passports blue.

Great Britain. The country where disabled people die, young people become homeless and parents starve to feed their kids; to pay for the colour-change of a passport.