Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The AAV political stance


Because I am occasionally asked about my political affiliation (and more often have it crudely straw-manned as "communist" or "Labour party propagandist") I've decided to write this article in order to clearly define my political stance.

The first and most important thing to state is that I am not affiliated to any specific party. I would obviously never claim to be politically neutral, since I believe that the only true form of political neutrality is actually absolute apathy.

I'm not politically neutral, because I have (and promote) very strong political views.


Just as I refuse to constrain myself by assigning my political allegiance to one particular political party, I also try to avoid labeling myself as an adherent of any particular political ideology. Since I'm trying to explain my political views in a reasonably concise manner here, I will make an exception and crudely define myself as some kind of free-thinking, left-libertarian, social democrat.

I strongly oppose the three orthodox neoliberal parties (the blue meanie tories, the red neo-labour tories, and the yellow illiberal tories), which are clustered together in the opposite quadrant of the political compass to my own. I believe in equality of opportunity, individual liberty, democratic control over natural monopolies and strong regulation of markets in order to maximise competition and efficiency and minimise corruption and anti-competitive practices.

The three establishment parties have all enacted legislation that demonstrates their commitment to reduce equality of opportunity, to curtail individual liberties, to allow private interests to seize control of natural monopolies and to deregulate markets enabling all kinds of anti-competitive practices and economic inefficiencies.


The neoliberal policy of privatisation (supported by all three Tory parties) has nothing to do with reducing the size of the state, and everything to do with transferring as much taxpayers' cash as possible to unaccountable private sector interests, whilst ensuring that all of the risks are still borne by the taxpayer.

The Conservative party
The Conservative party are the worst of the three tory parties. They are led by a brazen liar and many of the current Tory ministers are the most malicious and incompetent people ever hold such positions, the worst examples being George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith.

The Tory party is almost entirely funded by a small cabal of super-wealthy individuals, and the policies they pursue are quite clearly aimed at serving interests of the wealthy establishment, whilst financially oppressing the poor and ordinary. Not only do they have a rotten agenda to serve the interests of the wealthy minority at the expense of the majority, they also use a lot of grotesquely misleading propaganda to justify it.


Another thing that is intensely irritating about the Tories is the pretence that they are adherents of the libertarian / small-state ideology. They are just as illiberal and authoritarian as the last Labour government (secret courts, internet snoopers charter, attacks on human rights, attacks on press freedom, gagging laws, ideological prohibitionism), if not more so.

The Tory party has always been the party of the establishment, and expecting anything other than a serve the rich, smash the poor agenda from them would be as naive as expecting a fair and balanced appraisal of the Israel-Palestine situation from the Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips.

It is incontestable that the Tory party are traditionally the the party of the establishment, however New Labour and the Illiberal Democrats are now almost indistinguishable in their desperation to serve corporate and establishment interests above the interests of the general public.

New Labour
The Labour party is now a hollowed out husk of the party it is supposed to be. After nearly two decades of Neo-Labourism, virtually all of the genuinely left-wing politicians have been cleared out, to be replaced by a bunch of  self-serving orthodox neoliberal career politicians. The Labour party no longer even pretends to fight for workers rights or social justice, instead adopting the Tory-lite position on virtually every conceivable issue. During their period in government they set in motion many of the coalition government's most unpopular policies. The origins of the privatisation of the NHS, Workfare, the privatisation of state education (academification), the horrific Atos Work Capacity Assessment regime, lumbering university students from poor and ordinary backgrounds with ludicrous debts, and the privatisation of the Royal Mail can all be traced directly back to Neo-Labour legislation.

The job they are doing as opposition to the Tory led government can't be described as inadequate, since in order to do the job of opposition inadequately, they'd actually have to oppose Tory policy, instead of mindlessly mimicking the Tories on nearly everything (and even deliberately colluding with Tories in order to retroactively penalise the innocent victims of Iain Duncan Smith's unlawful persecution campaigns).

The left-wing people and trade unions that still support and fund the Labour party are delusional. The party hierarchy has been usurped by people that actively oppose socialism, workers rights, social justice and equality of opportunity. That these labour voters and organisations keep on supporting and funding a party that works directly against their own interests can only be put down political tribalism so extreme that it is pretty much the same as political illiteracy.

Liberal Democrats
A good reason to never again believe
anything a Lib-Dem promises.
There really isn't much to say about this bunch of quislings other than "roll on 2015".

By lying to the electorate and then colluding with the Tories to bring some of the most illiberal and anti-democratic legislation imaginable (secret courts,  the gagging law, attacks on press freedom, absurd immigration rules that openly discriminate against British families), most of them have signed their own political death warrants. A measure of their own credulity is that if even half of their MPs survive the rout that is coming in 2015, the party leadership will desperately try to describe it as some kind of stunning electoral success.


The Lib-Dems are clearly their own worst enemies. Jumping into coalition with the Tories (instead of making them form a minority administration and then gleefully shooting down all of their rotten legislation) was a ludicrous strategic error.

Another marker of the mindblowing stupidity of the Lib-Dem leadership is the treatment of what used to be one of their core demographics, the student lobby. Not only did they break their pledge to oppose any hikes in tuition fees, they actually voted through imposition of the highest tuition fees in the entire world for study at public universities! They've also signed off on huge higher education funding cuts and they've agreed to let the Tories financially oppress millions of ex-students by retroactively hiking the interest rates on their outstanding student loans, so that the student loan book can be sold off to their corporate mates (at a significant loss to the taxpayer).


If they're willing to attack probably their main demographic in return for a tiny taste of second hand Tory power, this just goes to show how utterly unfit they are to be given any responsibilities at all. The sooner they return to the status of hopeless unelectable also-rans the better.

UKIP
UKIP are right about one thing. The EU is a vastly inefficient, anti-democratic technocracy. The danger of course is that loads of people will vote for them on the basis that they are right about the EU without bothering to research any of their other policies, or the way the party is funded.

UKIP are as mad as a box of frogs and so right-wing that they make fringe Tory party lunatics like John Redwood appear almost normal. Their manifesto is crammed full insane right-wing fantasies, and their representatives (including sleazebags like Neil Hamilton) are a bunch of raving nutjobs.


The idea that supporting UKIP is some kind of "protest vote" against the orthodox neoliberal establishment is mindless idiocy. UKIP are like the orthodox neoliberal establishment, but on steroids.

If you are not the kind of person that is so right-wing that the Tory party look like a bunch of "commies" in your delusional worldview, please (for the sake of the rest of us, if not yourself) do some cursory research into UKIP policies (such as a flat tax so that millionaires pay the same income tax rate as ordinary people, the abolition of inheritance tax for children of millionaires, a bribery scheme so that the wealthy can push in at the front of NHS queues, mass privatisation of NHS services, doubling of the already enormous amount spent on keeping people in jail, spending countless billions on new nuclear weapons systems, introduction of state censorship in schools...) before you go out and vote for them.


SNP and Plaid Cymru
I'm not a resident of Scotland or Wales, so I can't vote for either of these parties. However, they occupy territory a lot closer to my own on the political compass, so I'd endorse voting for them as preferable to voting for the extreme-right authoritarian parties of the Westminster political establishment.

The Green Party
The Green party are the only left-libertarian party with a representative in parliament. The Green MP Caroline Lucas is brilliant, she works tirelessly and always votes on the side of social justice. The Green Party manifesto is actually pretty good, and is probably pretty much what I imagine the Labour party manifesto would have looked like, had they not been infiltrated and usurped by a bunch of self-serving orthodox neoliberal corporate shills.

Green Party


The new left
I am interested in "new left" developments such as Left Unity and The People's Assembly. Anything that improves political engagement as these campaigns are doing, can't be all bad. If you are sick of the lack of political diversity offered by the neoliberal pseudo-economics fixated establishment parties, I suggest you try and get involved with some of these grass-roots movements.

I think that the various left groups (including the Greens) desperately need to affiliate into a broad anti-neoliberalism, anti-austerity coalition (something like Syriza in Greece) in order to give the electorate a single alternative to the cosy establishment orthodoxy.

Defining the common ground amongst these disparate groups is obviously easier said than done though!

Useful links:
People's Assembly
Left Unity
Socialist party
Individual politicians
Although I endorse no particular political party, I will endorse some specific politicians judged on their work rate and their voting record. As I mentioned earlier, I think the Green MP Caroline Lucas is brilliant, tireless and full of integrity; an embodiment of what all politicians should be. There are a few decent Labour MPs remaining, including Dennis Skinner, John McDonnell, Iain Mearns, Grahame Morris and Michael Meacher.

If I had to pick a Tory MP I don't utterly despise it would be David Davis, who does seem to have some very strong libertarian principles (he was one of just five Tory MPs to rebel against the party leadership to vote against the introduction of secret courts).

Voting Advice
If after this you're still confused about my political stance, I'll boil it down a bit further into some voting advice.

If you are dissatisfied with the current political system (expenses scamming, out-of-touch politicians, lack of integrity, brazen lies, corporate backhanders, dodgy donations...) then don't vote for any of the three establishment parties that have turned a blind eye, or even actively encouraged this revolting behaviour (unless you strongly approve of their candidate as an individual MP).

UKIP are certainly not an alternative, they are like the current lot but even worse. If you are a tiny-minded reactionary, that believes that arguably the most right-wing Tory party in history is too "leftie", and wants to vote for a shockingly right-wing party, don't go in for half measures and vote UKIP, just bite the bullet, admit to yourself that you're a raving extremist, and vote for the BNP.

If you want to see the system changed for the better, you should vote for an alternative party of which there are many. I understand that the current anachronism of an electoral system is hopelessly rigged against minor parties. However if you refuse to vote, or you vote for one of the establishment parties, you're essentially endorsing the status quo. Unless millions of us start to vote alternative, we'll be stuck indefinitely with the current bunch of self-serving, expenses scamming, orthodox neoliberalism fixated corporate shills.




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