The do or die Tory Bexiteers have become a danger

Tory Brexiteers ‘a direct threat to British democracy’, Labour MP Chuka Umunna says

He has a point.

Leading Tory Brexiteers have become “a direct threat to democracy” in the UK after their attacks on civil servants, Labour MP Chuka Umunna has said.

Mr Umunna accused MPs such as Jacob Rees-Mogg and Brexitminister Steve Baker of making “dark and dangerous” claims after they provoked an angry backlash by questioning the integrity of government officials.

Maybe he went a tad far comparing anti-European Tory rhetoric to the 1930s, but certainly the Tories are known liars. Their NHS bus said it all.

Now Mr. Baker was forced to apologise in order to stay a government minister, I’m sure it galled him, but the Moggster has not. The Moggster has no shame whatsoever, and as he is being tipped as May’s replacement when the winsome lady crashes and burns as she is likely to do sooner rather that later, it’s worth noting  he is willing to tell big porkies about civil servants when he has not a scrap of evidence to back him up. Evidently, to the Moggster as much as to Trump, reality is whatever myth suits him at the time. Not good prime ministerial material.

Could he be the Tories’ Tony Blair? Neither appear to have much concern for reality if it doesn’t suit them. They just make things up as necessary to support whatever ideological commitment is buzzing around in their hollow heads.

Maybe we need the Moggster as the Tory prime minister to remind us how useless and out of touch that party is. Perhaps it needs a catastrophe to shake Britons out of their complacency that this country is going anywhere good. Of course, by then it will be too late. The UK will be breaking apart at the seams, presided over by an upper class twit, and excluded from the European market, while the Moggster masturbates in his ecstasy of freedom from the European overlords.

So I have to wonder whether being governed from Brussels is as bad as being governed by blinkered Tories in London who are clueless about reality, or worse, make it up as they go along.

And with Corbyn doing fuck all to combat this, the SNP are looking better and better.

Tory clown car careering in chaos

Tory Brexit battle laid bare as senior ministers contradict each other on customs union within minutes

The divisions among senior Tories over Brexit were laid bare on Sunday as Government ministers contradicted each other on vital details within minutes.

Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, and Dominic Raab, the housing minister, offered drastically different predictions of the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

Ms Rudd said the UK should remain in some form of customs arrangement with the EU – a view she suggested was shared by Theresa May. However, Mr Raab, a Brexiteer, said he did not think Britain would be part of any kind of customs union after Brexit.

No doubt the urgent top level cabinet meetings this week will easily resolve the issue.

Maybe it’s time for this gawd-awful government to split and quit. Useless bunch of twits that they are. Not that I trust Jeremy Corbyn much, but this is such a disaster, it needs a new hand at the helm. Whether it would be more competent than the current bunch of yahoos is debatable, but at least it would get rid of the Tory layabouts.

Will Corbyn ever do the right thing about Brexit?

Jeremy Corbyn urged to work with opposition parties to stop hard Brexit

Never trust a politician to do the right thing. Corbyn has never been a fan of Europe, and as he watches May and the feckless Tories drunkenly steer the UK to the brink of disaster, I think he is caught dithering. On the one hand, he’s always wanted to be out of Europe. On the other, it’s clear that leaving Europe is going to be economically damaging in the short to medium term, and those hit hardest will be working stiffs that vote Labour and who will lose jobs by the hundreds of thousands when they get exported elsewhere.

The sensible thing to do would be to reverse Brexit. If we want to be part of a common market with the rest of Europe, then it makes sense to be part of the decision-making apparatus, so we can influence the direction Europe goes. But is Corbyn sensible, or just another ideologue similar to the Tory Brexiteers?

That the leaders of the other opposition parties have to write to him pleading to take some sort of stance in favour of a customs union at least, says that the ideologue is winning in Jeremy’s internal turmoil, and that’s not good for Britain. I trust Corbyn about as far as I trust May.

Voting SNP is looking better and better.

Food for thought

US says Russia developing ‘doomsday’ autonomous nuclear torpedo, as Trump administration announces more aggressive stance to Moscow

Who to believe? Vladimir or his best buddy Donald? Or either?

The Donald is under investigation for collusion with Russia, which seems likely, and is trying to scupper Mueller’s investigation of that by publishing the memo generated by Trump sycophant Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

The FBI says the memo omits facts. Well, isn’t that convenient. The memo omits facts hostile to Trump. Isn’t that a surprise.

And now the Donald’s flunkies conveniently announce that Russia is developing new nuclear weapons. Did  the Donald have to clear this announcement with Vladimir before it went out?

The main consequence of Trump’s election is that no-one can believe anything his government says. And when you can’t believe anything the US government claims, its usefulness as an ally is completely negated.  NATO is no longer relevant, because the US cannot be trusted.

The Moggster strikes again

Brexit: Jacob Rees-Mogg claims civil servants are ‘fiddling figures’ on EU withdrawal, reigniting conspiracy theory row

Image result for Jacob Rees-Mogg

Image from: Cult Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg on Brexit, ‘Moggmania’ and why nanny’s always right

Senior Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has accused Treasury civil servants of “fiddling the figures” on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, dramatically reigniting a row over allegations that officials are trying to undermine Brexit.

The chair of the pro-Brexit European Research group suggested Treasury staff had produced “politically influenced” analysis and repeated his claim that officials are trying sway policy to keep the UK in the EU customs union.

His comments came a day after his Eurosceptic ally, Brexit minister Steve Baker, was forced to apologise to the House of Commons for initially refusing to dismiss the allegation.

The Tory clown car gets even more drivers. The thought that the Moggster is close to winning a foothold in Downing Street is deeply disturbing. He embodies everything that’s wrong with the Tory party – a death wish for Britain.

Considering the Tory Brexiteers fiddled the figures on their infamous bus, the £350 million a week they lied they would pay the NHS…

… they are hardly in a position to accuse others of fiddling anything.

How important is IQ?

The IQ test wars: Why screening for intelligence is still so controversial

This really is an ancient argument. The only reason IQ tests are a problem is that they have been misused as a means of classifying and stratifying individuals as worthy or unworthy, or to support racism.

So long as IQ tests are used in the context of the history and educational background of the individual, they can be a valuable tool in deciding what resources the individual needs to succeed in life, what educational services they would benefit from.

They can be helpful, so long as we don’t draw general conclusions about the results. They are measurements of mental acuity at the time they are set, but what the results mean needs to be considered carefully, given the circumstances of the test taker. They should be treated as a tool for medical intervention, or for catering to special educational needs and opportunities, not as a benchmark for assessing the value of a human being, let alone any race or class.

We have used IQ testing in the past to denigrate those classes and races that do not perform well on standardised tests, tests that were standardised on the basis of white male privileged education. As long as we keep that in mind, and use IQ tests as a means of improving opportunities for individuals rather than an excuse for classifying them, they are a useful tool.

Poland is going to the dogs

Holocaust law wields a ‘blunt instrument’ against Poland’s past

A Nazi SS solider inspects Jewish workers in the Warsaw Ghetto, 1943

Poland can’t lay its Holocaust ghosts to rest by censoring free speech

Poland has decided to make it a crime to mention or talk about “Polish concentration camps”. The ones that were built by the German Nazis in Poland. Punishment is 3 years in jail for uttering an opinion.

This is more than a little bit troubling. While many Poles protected Jews and fought valiantly against Hitler, there is also a protracted history of anti-semitism in Poland, and not a few Poles helped the Nazis exterminate Jews. From the Guardian article linked above:

in the words of Konstanty Gebert, a journalist for Gazeta Wyborcza whose most recent column dared prosecutors to come after him. “I hereby state,” he wrote, “that numerous members of the Polish nation are co-responsible for certain Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich.”

What he has in mind is, for example, Jedwabne, where in 1941, one half of the town murdered the other half, the non-Jewish Poles turning on their Jewish neighbours – people they’d known for ever, people they had sat next to in school – eventually herding hundreds of them into a barn and burning it to the ground. All told, they murdered 1,600 people. Only seven of the town’s Jews survived.

Jedwabne is a singular case, but of the 3.2 million Jews who were murdered in Poland a sizeable number died at the hands not of Nazi Germans but of their fellow Poles. In Hunt for the Jews, the Polish-born historian Jan Grabowski estimates some 200,000 Jews met their end that way. His meticulous mining of the archive revealed a damning picture. Grabowski found case after case of Jews who had escaped the ghettoes and fled into the forests, only to be handed over to the Nazis by the Polish villagers who found them. Some Poles were coerced into taking part in this hunt for the Jews, but others were eager volunteers.

I am a child of Polish refugees in WWII. They escaped to Britain by circuitous routes, including my grandfather, my mother’s father. He escaped the Katyn Forest massacre of Polish soldiers by the Soviets, and ended up living in our home because the post-war economic circumstances made multi-generational co-habitation routine. He had started off as a soldier in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, that’s how far back it goes.

While I don’t remember the details, I recall he was virulently anti-semitic. I inherited his hair, but not his politics or prejudices. So I know first hand that anti-semitism is a Polish vice, despite the fact that many Jews lived in Poland before WWII. It comes as no surprise to me, or even news though it wounds, that many Poles were complicit in the Jewish Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis.

This is not an indictment of Poles as a class or ethnic group. Many were against the Nazis and helped Jews where they could. But this infamy by the Polish far right government is close to making them complicit in Holocaust denial. They want to shove all the blame on the Germans, but that just doesn’t wash.

Trying to stifle debate and education about this sorrowful history is a villainy. And the fact that this is being done by far right Polish nationalists shows they have learned nothing from history, and would be perfectly capable of repeating it,

Incapable of lateral and independent thinking

Brexit to go ahead even if Government’s own analysis shows it will make Britain poorer, Theresa May suggests

The prime minister is an ass. That’s been plain since she lost the election she called, but didn’t have the guts to resign, unlike David Cameron, who was daft enough to have a referendum, but principled enough to quit when he lost it. May is held to the whim of the quarrelling denizens of the Tory swamp, and is no longer driving the Tory clown car. Not by herself anyways. Everyone is trying to have a go at it, all at the same time. She’s too weak to control anything.

The alternative is simple enough on the face of it. Admit that Brexit is a bungled, miscalculated and disorganised disaster and have a re-think. Go back to the people in an election or second referendum. Put the issue to rest one way or another, instead of dithering about like a frantic hen trying to escape the last round-up.

Speaking of referendums, I really do not like them, not for issues like this. But given that a referendum coupled to Tory intransigence got us into this mess, maybe another one is the balanced way out, as it’s likely to go agin Brexit. And if it supports the first, then so be it. Brits voted twice for disaster, and have no-one to blame but themselves.

Then make it very difficult to decide anything by referendum again, either by making a super-majority necessary, or by requiring two referenda separated by a gap of 6 months to a year so folk can reconsider the consequences and decide whether they are comfortable with their original vote or not. If two referenda differ, the status quo remains.

“Let there be no dissent!” she squeaked

Theresa May silences minister who questioned whether Brexit should be halted after leaked analysis

Phillip Lee, a Tory government minister, got an earful in the whip’s office, in her ladyshit’s absence wooing suitors abroad, for daring to suppose that Tory policy ought to be based on evidence and reason, as opposed to wild political ambitions and crazy surmise. Lee had commented on a leaked but secret Government analysis exposing the predicted economic damage likely to be caused by Brexit, suggesting that rather than going full steam ahead with what is likely to be a major disaster, we should take the time to rethink.

The lady was evidently not amused.

Apparently, the lady either believes Tory policy ought to be formulated on a pungent mix of dogma, anti-Europeanism, and wishful, ignorant and lazy thinking. Or perhaps the lady resents critics pointing out that this is very much how the Tory shambles of a policy appears. A distinction that in this case, makes no difference. A shambolic government  is what it is. No papering over it.

Jeremy Hunt vs. Stephen Hawking. Which is the intellectual lightweight?

Stephen Hawking and leading doctors to take Jeremy Hunt to court over ‘back-door privatisation’ of NHS

Hunt was planning a back-door giveaway of NHS services to private corporations, another example of the Tory wizard wheeze to transfer money away from the poor to the rich. Government still pays the cost, but Tory donors get to make more profits.

Hawking and his colleagues, leading medical professionals as opposed to buckaneering Tories, brought a lawsuit alleging this was illegal without an Act of Parliament, and they’ve just won a ruling saying a full judicial review is necessary before Tories can steal money by fiat.

Ok, my language is a bit prejudiced, but this is the Tory clown car, where they think they can get away with anything. They’ve been privatising lots of government services in order to enrich their donors. This is just the latest grab. And when their new “Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs)” go belly up like Carillion, because the plutocrats have been feeding at the public teat, where will the Tories be? Gazing at the sky and whistling Dixie? “Our fault? How can it possibly be out fault?”