This could be the UK’s last ‘real’ election. Prepare for the worst.

We should be concerned about the possibility that the UK is about to have its last real general election for some time.

Let’s speak plainly. This UK election is a farce. Theresa May’s campaign consists of three words. Labour are only campaigning to save seats. Meanwhile, the Lib Dems are treading water because May’s timing is perfect. The Brexit catastrophe hasn’t hit and the pain hasn’t been felt.

There is no groundswell of pro-EU support. People are still considering voting Labour as if they’re any better than the Tories on Brexit. People such as Ian Dunt have pointed out the similarity of Labour policy on Brexit to the Tories, so I won’t dwell on it. But if anyone is voting Labour to protect the country from the enormous damage Brexit is about to wreak, they’re ignoring reality.

So, instead, let’s talk about the media. I know some people object to that as a catch-all term. But can we please agree it’s justified right now?

Theresa May is saying time and again that she intends to use the majority she wins at this election as a mandate for Brexit negotiations. So far, the might of the UK lobby has failed to extract any kind of candour or honesty by May on any aspect of those negotiations. That’s because they aren’t asking. Their ‘coverage’ involves waiting for policy announcements while pointing out awkward campaign incidents.

Unlike many I don’t believe that this is conspiratorial. The UK news media is about entertainment, just like the US media. And just like the US media, it means the important stories aren’t being covered, while froth and bullshit top the ratings.

The result will be a general election held in the dark with citizens lacking the information they truly need to make informed decisions. And yet this is so much better than where we are likely to end up.

I’ve written sufficiently on the threat posed by Theresa May to our country. You can see that here: https://twitter.com/tallgeekychap/status/855344386086973440 My point is that she *is* about to be given free rein. She is abusing her power even during this campaign: https://twitter.com/tallgeekychap/status/859403567203004417

The combination of news organizations gagging to do May’s bidding for access and influence (most of them) and creeping repression of the others will lead to an even more lopsided political media than we have now. And it’s already basically heavily weighted in the Tories’ favour.

The Tories have regularly shown since 2010 they are willing to game the system in their favour. With their newly minted 150+ majority, they will push through boundary reform exacerbating their in-built electoral advantage under FPTP. They are also likely to revisit attempts to cut opposition funding, originally introduced in November 2015: https://www.theguardian.com/…/osborne-accused-of-despicable…

We should all watch out for anything related to ‘cutting the cost of politics’. This is code for ‘giving the government more power’. And we should all be aware that Parliament is unlikely to lift a finger to oppose any of it. It didn’t when given an unexpected chance to redeem itself on Article 50, so why would it when it’s stacked to the gills with Tory lackeys?

To sum up: May will have no Parliamentary opposition. She’ll have no media opposition. Institutional opposition (courts) is limited at best. If what’s happening in the US is any guide, it’s time to start thinking about worst-case scenarios, and preparing for them. And it’s also worth noting that all the worst-case predictions in the US have been covered in barely four months.

So think bigger. Look at how Putin and Erdogan have operated. Don’t look at previous experience from within the UK. It’s insufficient.

Five years is an awfully long time. 2022 is an awfully long way away. The UK is going to look awfully different.


This was also published on Twitter here and on Facebook here.

Why Theresa May should scare you

Looked at objectively, Theresa May is very clearly a political leader who, given free rein, would be a dictator.

Her history as Home Secretary is one of increasingly authoritarian rhetoric and policy, summarised by the “Go Home” vans.

Since becoming PM, govt proposed lists of foreign workers, forcing out foreign doctors, removing troops from international human rights law.

They’ve introduced a two-child policy on child tax credits, forcing women to prove they have been raped to receive their rightful benefits.

They’re bringing back grammars; introducing army cadet units at state schools. Because selection and militarism are academically important.

They’re preventing universities from accepting international students. And they’ve utterly failed to protect EU citizens’ rights.

She failed to condemn a Tory councillor’s petition – tho his local party suspended him – which tried to make opposing Brexit “treason”.

She failed to condemn front pages denouncing judges as ‘enemies of the people’ and Remainers as ‘saboteurs’.

She has consistently derided phantom ‘elites’ for trying to undermine ‘the will of the people’, despite being a Conservative Prime Minister.

In short, she’s presided over a government that has stolen UKIP’s clothes: https://twitter.com/oflynnmep/status/783313098505584641

Her speech announcing the general election doubled down on all this. If it doesn’t shock you, it ought to.

She implied that other political parties differing from her opinion in any way were deviating from the national interest.

She demanded ‘unity in Westminster’ as if Parliament is a rubber stamp, a plaything for her personal vanity projects.

She said ‘the country is coming together but Westminster is not’ as though she deserves a standing ovation for her newfound Brexit zealotry.

(That’s also palpably untrue, as Yvette Cooper sensibly pointed out. Parliament voted overwhelmingly for Article 50 and also voted by 522 to 13 for the general election. Westminster could not be more united at precisely the time we need opposition.)

At this point, it is clear she believes that any opposition in Westminster creates ‘uncertainty and instability’.

She’s basically calling the election because there are 9 Lib Dem MPs, 1 Green MP and 57 SNP MPs who won’t play along.

She accused other parties of treating politics ‘as a game’ while knowingly turning politics into a game herself.

She is a political strongman in the body of a well-to-do, matronly upper middle class woman. The Tories’ nanny writ large.

Then there’s the real reason this election has been called. 30 Tory seats won in 2015 have been under police investigation for a long while.

Instead of waiting for those investigations to be completed – as any sane democracy would – Parliament voted through a snap election.

So now the Tories will make their own alleged corruption in 2015 moot by winning a bigger majority – enabled by other parties.

Worse still, Theresa May has said she is happy for Tory MPs UNDER POLICE INVESTIGATION to stand as candidates in this election.

If we saw another country do that, especially in the developing world, we would be aghast. It is the most obvious case of a bent democracy.

According to Theresa May, this election will be about Brexit. But it’s also about something else.

It’s about ensuring that Theresa May and the Tories’ corrupt, disastrous, and potentially illegal regime is shored up.

We are faced with the prospect of a dictatorial Prime Minister whose power was acquired on the back of a fascist media.

If you aren’t scared, you should be.

Small Unimportant State Calls Fresh Elections as Corruption Accusations Fly

The Prime Minister of a small European nation has called for a general election. But the leader of the country’s incumbent hard-right government faced immediate demands to come clean as it became apparent that state prosecutors were preparing to bring charges against around thirty of the party’s legislators and staff over irregularities in the previous election – held two years ago.

The ballots cast back then had catapulted the PM’s predecessor to a shock majority in the national parliament, with the idiosyncratic electoral system giving the party more than half of the seats on a mere 37% of the popular vote. But investigations by a state-owned media channel found that there had been over-spending in several key seats, and that in some cases spending hadn’t been declared at all.

It became clear that this had the potential to have decided the election, and that without this undeclared assistance, key marginals may not have fallen into the hands of the blue team.

Police forces followed up on the media investigation, opening 29 cases a year after the election. 29 by-elections would be more than enough to create a political earthquake; the government’s slim majority was only 12.

The then PM was in a bind. He’d run into difficulties with that tiny sliver of control, and despite the uncertainty over the legitimacy of his position, he decided to take drastic action. Calling a referendum on the country’s place within its most important trading bloc seemed unnecessary, even foolish; but it would appease those on his backbenches who frequently seemed to be sharpening their daggers.

The referendum was a parade of falsehoods. The campaign director of the winning side admitted later that they would not have won without telling a straightforward lie. They claimed that money ‘saved’ from abandoning free trade would be spent on the nation’s health services – a claim that was immediately abandoned by the campaign’s own leaders after the result came through.

Nonetheless, the decision was made. A cosmic cloud of political fallout followed. A summer of insanity in which both the governing party and the opposition held leadership elections, only for the former to be left with a coronation and the latter to retain their previous leader, despite his deep unpopularity.

Not only that; the new PM had been on the wrong side of the result in the referendum, but now appeared to be dead set on implementing that unwanted result.

Of course, the people did not have the opportunity to offer an opinion on their new leader. The argument ran that the general election had given the party a mandate, and that the mandate had been refreshed and strengthened by the referendum, even though the party’s official policy had been defeated in that referendum, and even though the country’s leader had had to resign in ignominy.

The new PM quickly set about testing the strength of that mandate by abandoning the commitment in the previous election manifesto to stay in the trading bloc even if the referendum was lost. At the same time, a vicious campaign against dissent was beginning to swirl in the media, with judges involved in assessing the constitutional impact of the plebiscite branded ‘traitors’ and ‘enemies of the people’. This language was not condemned by the PM herself.

Just a few months after the new PM was elevated, it became clear that her top aide had been involved in the election expenses scandal. Further evidence was uncovered a few months later.

Once again, though, the party pressed ahead. A seismic decision was taken: the country officially began the process of leaving the trading bloc. This was despite further revelations – that same month – that the party’s headquarters and many top officials had been deeply implicated in the election expenses scandal.

All of which brings us to the present. Today, the Prime Minister called for an early general election, presenting this as a natural way to refresh her government’s mandate and strengthen her hand in negotiations. But it seems clear from this torrent of obfuscation and chicanery that it is only about one thing: shoring up her corrupt, disastrous and potentially illegal regime by any means necessary.

How the country can continue to pursue its extreme policy of self-defenestration, at a stroke making its economy less competitive and taking freedom and rights away from its people, is unclear. It would at least have been appropriate to wait until the police forces and the prosecutors had finished their inquiries.

Instead this plucky island nation is now faced with the prospect of a quasi-dictatorial PM whose power was acquired in an undemocratic, opaque fashion, prosecuting policies on behalf of her friends and cronies, not the nation she represents.

It must now be the role of international observers and – perhaps – interventionists from prominent countries to build an appropriate response.

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“Crush the Saboteurs”: Vladimir Lenin