Category: Uncategorized

Osborne finally admits he lied and that Labour did not cause the recession

Image result for a big labour boy did it osborne

In the weeks after he took office, George Osborne justified his austerity programme by claiming that Britain was on “the brink of bankruptcy”. He told the Conservative conference in October 2010: “The good news is that we are in government after 13 years of a disastrous Labour administration that brought our country to the brink of bankrutcy.” 

The Conservatives have constantly tried to portray the Labour party as less than competent with the economy, and more recently the government made facetious jibes about “magic money trees” being required to fund Labour’s promising anti-austerity manifesto, which backfired. In fact the Conservatives have even claimed, rather ludicrously, that the opposition is “dangerous”. 

However, back in 2012, Robert Chote, head of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) formally rebuked Osborne for his intentionally misleading “misinformation” and dismissed with scorn the “danger of insolvency” myth that has been endlessly perpetuated by the Conservatives.

It’s worth remembering that the Conservatives’ historic record with the economy isn’t a good one. Margaret Thatcher presided over a deep recession because of her authoritarian introduction of neoliberal policies, regardless of the social costs. Her only solution to an increasingly damaged economy was more neoliberalism. John Major also presided over a recession, and who could forget “Black Wednesday“. 

The global recession of 2007/8 would have happened regardless of which political party was in office in the UK. Osborne had also committed to matching Labour’s spending plans, but he later criticised them.

The financial crash process was started by the neoliberal Thatcher/Reagan administrations with the deregulation of the finance sector. We were out of recession in the UK by the last quarter of 2009. By 2011, the Conservatives fiscal policy of austerity put us back in recession. 

It’s good to see Osborne finally concede that there was no basis for his ridiculous claims in 2010, in a recent interview with Andrew Neil, for The Spectator‘s Coffee House Shots (12 October).

It follows that there was absolutely no justification for the Conservatives’ incredibly harsh and damaging neoliberal austerity programme.

You can listen to the full interview with George Osborne and Andrew Neil by clicking here.

 


I don’t make any money from my work. But you can support Politics and Insights and contribute by making a donation which will help me continue to research and write informative, insightful and independent articles, and to provide support to others. The smallest amount is much appreciated, and helps to keep my articles free and accessible to all – thank you. 

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Choice Architecture of a Democratic Politics – Hubert Huzzah


A lot has been written in recent years about the value of Behavioural Economics in nudging the Electorate to do make good choices. A lot less has been achieved in the area of nudging politicians. Politicians are pivotal in society and nudging them will have far greater impact on society than piecemeal and dissipated nudging of Citizens. Indeed the nudging of politicians is not only the most rational and efficient way to achieve positive outcomes for society but also ensure that both politicians and Electorate are of one mind when it comes to being “all in it together”.

The Choice Architecture of Parliament has, for centuries, favoured unaccountable and poor decision-making in isolation from the actual needs and wants of the Electorate. Indeed, women only acquired the right to vote in 1918, voting only became one person one vote in 1948 and the franchise has only been extended to 18 year olds since 1969, in the United Kingdom. Democratic participation has never been the primary aim of Parliament, for reasons that can be understood through a consideration of Behavioural Economics: Parliament is about the allocation and distribution of Power.

Reducing the tyranny of choice.

The sheer number of choices available to politicians is a tyranny.

From expenses for underpants to abstaining from critical votes, the sheer amount of time and energy devoted to Politicians’ choices diminishes political utility. The Electorate can become the Choice Architects of Parliament by democratically limiting alternatives and providing decision support tools.

Traditionally, Parliament has excluded the Electorate from many Parliamentary processes. Indeed with around thirty-five million eligible voters, Parliament can only function by being efficient. The true scale of the tyranny of choice can be expressed, mathematically, and this gives the Choice Architects of Parliament powerful tools to determine how efficient Politicians are being. The exclusion of the Electorate from some Parliamentary processes and admission into others can end the moral hazard and confirmation biases inherent in a closed decision-making group.

Queueing theory has its origins in research by Agner Krarup Erlang when he created models to describe the Copenhagen telephone exchange and has provided such important results as the Queueing Rule Of Thumb, which can be used to determine how many Politicians are required and if a Politician is efficiently making choices. This reduction of the tyranny of choices only begins the radical reform of Parliament by transforming Politicians into fit for purpose Decision Makers whose optimisation of resources for the Electorate is a Public Good. Identifying which Politicians are failing the Electorate in aggregate becomes a simple task of a well designed Randomised Control Trial.

Defaults

A large body of research has shown that, paribus ceteris, Politician are people and choose options that are presented as a default.

The Choice Architects of Parliament will create the defaults of deselection and prosecution for Politicians cause harm to the Electorate. The Precautionary Principle, applied to Legislators will ensure the best choices are available to Parliament at all times.

Historically, the defaults presented to Politicians have been those defaults prepared by Think Tanks, Lobbyists, Consultants and the Civil Service. While there is nothing undemocratic about seeking the advice of Experts, the pool of expertise has diminished in recent years until it has, largely, become an unnecessary barrier to efficiency and a source of largesse for rewarding anchoring biases and bandwagon effects. Fundamentally the Choice Architects of Parliament will minimise the framing effect of these expert consultations which can result in failure by default as the direct outcome of the Dunning-Kruger Effect discovered in a range of notionally independent Think Tanks, Lobbyists and Consultants.

In contrast to genuinely principle based policies, Politicians have come to rely on the self-assembly policies, for which consultations provides defaults and instructions, in the same way that people value furniture that they have assembled themselves. Research has shown that people value a book shelf more if they assemble it themselves than if it is already assembled. The Political Pareidolia of Consultation Defaults will be ended by the Choice Architects of Parliament by evidence based defaults for Politicians.

A simple and enduring evidence based default for Politicians is to be recalled from office should they choose a default purely because it is a default. In evidence based policy, default policies can be randomised in order to ensure that Politicians are not simply choosing the first option on the list. Research at the Department of Work and Pensions has demonstrated that Claimants understand and appreciate the value of sanctions in making good choices and there is no evidence that Politicians are not the same as Claimants. The Sanction Regime will be the Primary Default for Politicians in Policy Formation and no secret will be made of that; because, then, Politicians can make the right and informed choice and, importantly, feed back those choices to Think Tanks, Lobbyists, Consultants and the Civil Service with appropriate behaviours.

Choice over time

Choices where outcomes manifest in the future are influenced by several biases.

Politicians tend to be myopic, preferring present opinion poll or ideological outcomes at the expense of future concrete outcomes for the Electorate. This leads over exploitation of present day resources at the expense of the future. Political projections about the future tend to be inaccurate with uncertainty promoting overestimation of the likelihood of positive outcomes for vanity projects.

The Choice Architects of Parliament have several ways to structure choice architecture to compensate for or reduce these ideological and opinion poll biases. Where Politicians have an uncertain future, they are motivated to overestimate the likelihood of salient or desirable outcomes and the resulting poor choices cascade outwards into the Electorate with consequences that are, generally, unforseen by the Politician. By making all Political Choices by a politician contribute to the future wellbeing of the Politician, Policy will be driven to improve.

The default Sanction Regime is only functionally effective if the Sanctions escalate over time. The current Sanction Regime for Politicians consists of not being elected at the next General Election. There are rare occasions when a Politician resigns inducing a by-election. This is not a Sanction in the same way as a General Election as it is controlled by the Politician. Similarly, being Suspended from the House is a Sanction under the control of the Speaker.

Partitioning options and attributes

The ways in which options and attributes are grouped influence the choices that are made. 

Option partitioning requires division of a budget into categories. The attributes of a category are clumped or divided according to Government Department and Ideology. Politicians have a tendency to claim resources are scarce and allocated equally across categories. By itemising ideologically acceptable attributes and aggregating ideologically undesirable attributes, Politicians managed consumption by managing the number of attributes into types of categorizations.

The Choice Architects of Parliament will undertake a root and branch review of ideological choices and manage Political expectations by recalling Politicians where their ideological categories do not match those of the Electorate. The choice tools available to Politicians will cease to be limited to those provided by Lobbyists and Think Tanks.

Indeed each Individual Lobbyist and Think Tank will cease to be treated as an attribute of Political Life in Parliament and become a Category within the Register of Members’ Interests. Similarly, each Elector will become a Category for each “Elected Representative”. This will ensure that Politicians allocate the scare resources of their time equally across Electorate and Special Interests. The consumption of Lobbying can, therefore, be managed by the Choice Architects of Parliament.

Avoiding attribute overload

Politicians would optimally consider all of a Policy’s attributes when deciding between options. Cognitive constraints, result in weighing attributes in the same way as choices. As a result, The Choice Architects of Parliament will choose to limit the number of attributes of a policy, weighing the cognitive effort required to consider multiple attributes against the value of improved Governance. In order to ensuring cognitive attribute overload does not occur, the number of Politicians will be increased by reducing the size of Constituencies. Thus Politicians will be both more accountable and less prone to attribute overload.

This presents challenges if Politicians ideologically commit to different attributes to the Electorate and so the Choice Architects of Parliament provide tools for sorting, informing and recalling Politicians. The principal means of avoiding attribute overload will become the Political Capability Assessment. Rather than belabouring the difficulties of partitioning attributes and categories, Politicians will be periodically assessed for their suitability by Political Activity Practitioners selected from the General Electorate.

Translating attributes

The presentation of information about attributes reduces the cognitive effort associated with representation and so reduces the failure of Politicians to do as the Electorate instructs. The Choice Architects of Parliament will accomplished this by increasing evaluability and comparability of attributes. The Choice Architects of Parliament will convert commonly used metrics into metrics Politicians are assumed to care about. Such as “Expenses per Majority” and “Lobbyists per Day”. Non-linear metrics will be transformed into linear metrics and evaluative labels will be added to numerical metrics, explicitly calculating consequences such as “Swing to deselection” and “probability of prison”.

The Choice Architects of Parliament

For too long, Politicians have avoided the reality of their situation. In particular, the finances of Parliamentary Politicians has been allowed to drift along making poor choices with poor consequences for Constituents.With the advent of Behavioural Economics it has become clear that something must be done to curb the poor choices of politicians.

Imagine how much easier it would be for a Minister to refrain from sending an aide out to purchase sex aids if all purchases of goods or services by all Politicians were restricted to the use of a Parliamentary Credit Card. By having a Parliamentary Credit Card updating a database in real time, Politicians can make good purchasing decisions and demonstrate their accountability in real time. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority would transform from being a bureaucratic nightmare into being a modern and efficient Politicians’ Financial Services Organisation.

Paperwork would be eliminated as transactions would automatically register and enter the public domain through the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority Website. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority showing approval or rejection of expense items giving feedback to the Electorate in real time. Rejected items could be annotated quickly to ensure Politicians understand the consequences of their choices.

Politicians have always been accused of using the ambiguity of Parliamentary and Constituency Homes as a source of income. The difficulty of maintaining two dwellings is a common one that can result in suboptimal resource allocation. The resulting problem of spare rooms has been solved for a range of Benefits Claimants by adjusting the level of support available. The same principle, applied to Politicians, has a simple and elegant solution which helps them to avoid attribute overload – both in their own accommodation and in policy formation.

By housing Politicians in the Tower Blocks in and around the precincts of Parliament, the suboptimal resource allocation of resources to accommodation vanishes and Politicians are motivated to ensure the highest standards for accommodation within the constraints provided by the Tenant Management Organisation. By ensuring the Tenant Management Organisation is responsible for providing Tower Block Housing within Local Authority constraints, Politicians can both choose to relieve themselves of poor choices about maintenance and provide a pathfinder for excellence in housing choices over time.

While expenses and housing are major concerns, the single most important behaviour Politicians engage in is voting in Parliament. Poor voting decisions have serious, long-term outcomes that adversely affect the Electorate. Politicians who have expectations that decisions made in the first year of office will not have an effect in the fifth year of office experience no loss aversion. By following the Precautionary Principle, Politician who make poor voting decisions would have their term of office shortened thus bringing the date of their next election forwards. Sufficient poor voting decisions would trigger an early General Election. This ensures Party Whips are given the opportunity to avoid loss though an early election with motivation to ensure Politicians make good decisions at all stages of a Parliament.

The danger of applying a time tariff to voting decisions is that Politicians will attempt to game the system with poor decisions. In order to ensure Politicians are as motivated as their Party to make good decisions, Randomised Control Trials will be run against each and every vote in Parliament. Politicians are randomly matched against a representative sample of voters from their Constituency and their actual vote. Politicians who are so selected will be obliged to discuss their decision-making during a Political Capability Assessment.

In order to ensure that the Political Capability Assessment is fair and realistic, the Political Activity Practitioners will be selected from the General Electorate and Expertise will be excluded in order to ensure avoidance of The Political Pareidolia of Consultation Defaults. In line with the practices of the Work Capability Assessment process, there will be a rejection rate for all assessments. The rejection rate will be evidenced based on the number of people who voted against the Politician at the last election. The ordeal of appealing against the Political Capability Assessment will focus Politicians on making better decisions and becomes a necessary part of political life.

The Choice Architects of Parliament are in their early days and have little, if any, concrete proposals developed to the state of implementation. Randomised Control Trials have a role to play in the selection and election of Politicians prior to any Parliament. Not only are Politicians going to be more efficient and effective at making decisions they will be making better decisions. The kind of decisions that they can be responsible for. Because they will be held to be responsible and that means there will be consequences for all they do.

 Independent Standards Authority MP costs. Interactive map.

Article by Hubert Huzzah.

 Picture: George Grosz and John Heartfield: “Jederman sein eigner Fussball”, 1919.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Electoral Commission sued in High Court over EU Referendum

Waiting for Godot

What follows is the text of a Press Release issued last night.

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The Good Law Project has initiated proceedings in the High Court to establish whether the Electoral Commission failed in its duty to uphold UK election law during the EU Referendum. The Good Law Project is asking the Court to find that the Electoral Commission was wrong to clear overspending by the official Vote Leave campaign.

The case concerns a donation of £625,000 apparently made by Vote Leave to one of its “outreach groups” in the days before the Referendum vote. If that donation was included in Vote Leave’s spending return, Vote Leave would have overspent by almost 10% and would have committed a criminal offence.

If the action succeeds the Electoral Commission will be forced to reopen its investigation. And it is very likely that either a public or private prosecution of Vote Leave will…

View original post 146 more words

Tories smear grieving Grenfell relatives as a “mob”, “thugs”, “jihadis” and “twats” – Tom Pride

Tory ideology – leading to austerity, which has disproportionately affected the poorest citizens, and “business friendly” deregulation, which has seriously undermined citizens’ wellbeing, health and safety – has killed many people. The Tories’ despicable response is not about stepping up to accountability and responsibility, it is simply always to blame their victims. We have seen seven years of this abusive gaslighting strategy.

It’s time to put this government out of our misery.

Pride's Purge

A Tory councillor has branded grieving relatives, friend and neighbours of Grenfell tragedy victims “mob rule”:

Hawkins is a Tory councillor:

Other Tories have taken to calling the relatives thugs, militants , jihadis and twats:

grenfell smearsIt’s time for this out-of-touch, heartless government of barbarians to go … 

View original post

Theresa May voted against anti-terror legislation, Jeremy Corbyn signed a motion that condemned IRA violence in 1994

The Conservatives have conducted their election campaign with sneering contempt, meaningless soundbites, trivial glittering generalities and barely a veneer of democratic engagement.

The misleading comments, half-truths, out of context one-liners and misquotes that have dominated the Conservatives’ typically authoritarian approach are a disgrace to politics, and the media that has accommodated these deplorable tactics and vapid crib sheet insults without holding the government to account have also played a part in undermining our democracy and distorting the terms of debate.

Any question the Tories are asked that they would prefer not to answer is met with a descent into gossipmongering about Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott. And when pressed, the Conservatives are always conservative with the truth. They are masters at erecting fact proof screens. This shows that the Conservatives have nothing but contempt for our democratic process. 

The corporate media are providing fewer and fewer venues for genuine democratic deliberation of political issues. Ordinary citizens are most often being treated as passive receptacles of “information” provided by media networks. It’s all style over content, though. The media should never be reduced to being a front for Conservative fake news.

Indexing, and media framing means that large organizations authorised to advance a news agenda often take their direction from political elites, and rely on those elite actors as sources of “information.” Media literacy and public democratic debate has little room to thrive in such a media environment. That needs to change. The public’s trust in the media has already been undermined considerably over recent years. The biggest concern is the negative impact that this has on our democracy and on public interest.

The Tories have no decorum, nor do they offer any genuine discussion about the details of Conservative policies whatsoever. Even worse, the Conservatives are so arrogant, they don’t feel they have to discuss their policy intentions or behave in an accountable and transparent manner at all. This is a government that have got their own way for far too long. They have spent their campaign telling the public who they should and should not vote for.  To vote for anyone but the Conservatives, they say, is “dangerous”. 

Not if you happen to be sick and disabled, however. Ask the United Nations.

A strategy of tension and perpetuated myths

Despite what the Conservatives have been saying to the public, Jeremy Corbyn signed a motion in the House of Commons that condemned IRA violence and “extended its sympathy to the relatives of those murdered”. 

He supported an early day motion put forward by Labour MP David Winnick to commemorate the victims of the IRA bombing in Birmingham in 1974. 

The motion was tabled on the 20 year anniversary of the attack that killed 21 people and injured 182 others and was signed by Corbyn in November 1994.  

The motion said: “This House notes that it is 20 years since the mass killings of 21 people in Birmingham as a result of terrorist violence; deplores that such an atrocity occurred and again extends its deepest sympathy to the relatives of those murdered and also to all those injured. And strongly hopes that the present cessation of violence by the paramilitary organisations in Northern Ireland will be permanent and thus ensure that such an atrocity as took place in Birmingham as well as the killings in many other places both in Northern Ireland itself and Great Britain will never occur again.”

Despite the fact the Labour leader has said several times during televised interviews that he condemns “all bombing” that took place during that period, journalists, political editors and correspondents seem to nonetheless feel a need to constantly ask if he will “denounce” IRA terrorism. The Conservatives have been permitted to peddle untruths and manipulate half truths unchecked. It’s almost as if Lynton Crosby, the high priest of divisive politics, dead cats and dog whistles, has widely distributed a crib sheet of a limited range of limited questions to be repeated over and over, such as this one, to divert everyone from any discussion whatsoever about policies or anything remotely meaningful. 

I’m rather disgusted in our so-called “impartial” national media for allowing this to happen without any critical thought or investigation whatsoever. Or genuine facilitation of democratic debate. You know, those things that journalists and such are actually paid to do. 

If someone pressed me over and over to denounce the IRA and to imply that England were entirely blameless in the Troubles, I would have been much less polite than Corbyn. This was an absolutely disgusting manipulation of Corbyn’s integrity.

It is possible to feel sympathy for ALL of those deaths and those family and loved ones left behind, in such a tragic, violent and seemingly relentless ethno-nationalist conflict.

Despite the fact that the British government claimed neutrality and deployed military forces to Northern Ireland simply to “maintain law and order”, the British security forces focused on republican paramilitaries and activists, and the Ballast investigation by the Police Ombudsman confirmed that British forces colluded on several occasions with loyalist paramilitaries, were involved in murder, and furthermore obstructed the course of justice when claims of collusion and murder were investigated. 

The British Army shot dead thirteen unarmed male civilians at a proscribed anti-internment rally in Derry, on 30 January, 1972 (“Bloody Sunday”). A fourteenth man died of his injuries some months later and more than fourteen other civilians were wounded. The march had been organised by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA). 

This was one of the most prominent events that occurred during the Northern Irish Conflict as it was recorded as the largest number of people killed in a single incident during the period.

Bloody Sunday greatly increased the hostility of Catholics and Irish nationalists towards the British military and government while significantly elevating tensions during the Northern Irish Conflict. As a result, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) gained more support, especially through rising numbers of recruits in the local areas.

It’s possible to recognise that those civilian deaths were an outrage and tragic. It’s possible to recognise the pain of their loved ones and families left behind. It’s also possible to condemn the acts of terrorism that left english civilians dead, too. It’s possible to honour ALL of those people who were killed in the conflict. I do.

Human lives are equally precious and have equal worth. It’s a mark of insighfulness, maturity and integrity to recognise this. History has a scattering of despots commiting atrocities and genocide, because they refused to consider all people as human beings. It seems we never learn, though. Holding this perspective does not mean that I cannot also condemn acts of despicable terrorism. 

The Good Friday Agreement in 1998 brought lasting peace. History actualy showed that Corbyn’s approach was the right one. So we need to ask ourselves why it is that Theresa May, her party, and the media are so fixated on events that happened over 20 years ago. For the record, Margaret Thatcher held secret meetings with the IRA to negotiate peace. John Major also had established links with the IRA for the same reason.

Quite properly so. It’s reasonable to expect our government to explore diplomatic solutions to conflicts in order to keep citizens safe.

It beggars belief that the media have permitted this opportunist political hectoring from the Tories to continue relatively unchallenged. It didn’t take a lot of  research – fact checking – to find this information, yet nobody else seems to have bothered.

It’s against the law for politicians to lie about their opponent’s character, or misrepresent them during an election campaign, by the way. I’m saving up all f those dark ads to send to the Electoral Commission with my complaint.

Just to emphasis how absurd the Conservative election campaign has become, it’s worth considering this:

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And this

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Does Prince Charles have “links with terrorists”?

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How about Donald Trump?

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Gosh, I have a strong sense of deja vu

There is a picture of Corbyn circulating in both the mainstream media and on social media that was taken in 1995 with Gerry Adams, (of Sinn Fein), in an attempt to try to link Corbyn with IRA “sympathies”, albeit indirectly. The picture was actually taken after the Downing Street Declaration (an agreement between the UK and Ireland that the Northern Irish people had the right to self-determination) which led to the first IRA ceasefire, under Major’s government. Corbyn contributed to the debate by pushing the IRA to abandon the bombings and sit down to negotiate since the 1980s. He has made it clear that he prefers diplomatic solutions to war. Rightly so. War should only ever be considered as a last resort. Wars do not keep people safe, but sometimes they become necessary, of course.

Voting against Anti-Terrorism Legislation

Jeremy Corbyn has voted against Anti-Terrorism Bills. They are complex pieces of legislation which have sometimes presented human rights conflicts within the details, for example. Theresa May also voted against Anti-Terrorism Legislation in 2005. The Conservatives have certainly been conservative with the truth and misled the public, implying that Corbyn is “soft” on terrorism, but of course Theresa May isn’t. Strong and stable propaganda from the Selfservatives.

Amber Rudd said recently on the televised leader’s debate:“I am shocked that Jeremy Corbyn, just in 2011, ‘boasted’ that he had opposed every piece of anti-terror legislation in his 30 years in office.”

Much to Rudd’s discomfort, Corbyn has replied:

“Can I just remind you that in 2005 Theresa May voted against the anti-terror legislation at that time. She voted against it, as did David Davis, as did a number of people that are now in your cabinet, because they felt that the legislation was giving too much executive power.”  ( Jeremy Corbyn, BBC Election Debate.)

I looked at the voting records to fact check this. Corbyn is right, of course. Here is what I found:

On 28 Feb 2005: Theresa May voted no on the Prevention of Terrorism Bill — Third Reading 

On 9 Mar 2005: Theresa May voted no on Prevention of Terrorism Bill — Rejection of New Lords’ Amendment — Sunset Clause

On 9 Mar 2005: Theresa May voted no on Prevention of Terrorism Bill — Rejection of Lords’ Amendment — Human Rights Obligations

On 10 Mar 2005: Theresa May voted no on Prevention of Terrorism Bill — Insisted Amendment — on Human Rights Obligations 

Source: Theyworkforyou.  

Broadening my search, I also found:

Terrorism Act 2000 – legislation introduced by the Labour government which gave a broad definition of terrorism for the first time. The Act also gave the police the power to detain terrorist suspects for up to seven days and created a list of proscribed terrorist organisations.

May: Absent from the final vote.

Counter-terrorism Act 2008

This legislation gave powers to the police to question terrorist suspects after they had been charged. It also tried to extend detention without charge to 42 days, but the Labour government abandoned this after being defeated in the House of Lords.

May: Absent from the vote.

Political journalists are uninterested in serious political debate, and have permitted, fairly uniformly, Conservative propaganda to frame the debates, with the same misquotes, misinformation and misleading and trivial emphasis being repeated over and over. That the government are using such underhand tactics – mostly smear and fearmongering attempts – to win an election, unchallenged, is disgraceful. To witness such illiberal discussion taking place without a shred of concern is actually pretty frightening. We have seen, over the last 7 years, the Conservatives’ authoritarianism embedded in punitive policies, in a failure to observe the basic human rights of some social groups, in their lack of accontability and diffusion of responsibility for the consequences of their draconian policies, and in their lack of democratic engagement with the opposition. Hurling personal insults, sneering and shouting over critics has become normalised by the Tories. People don’t recoil any more from what has often been dreadfully unreasonable hectoring. But they ought to.

Journalists may uphold public interest, they may contribute to the damage of democratic discourse, or they may remain indifferent. They make choices. One day the public will recognise those choices for what they are. The media have permitted a government to run an election campaign on simply telling people who they should not vote for, rather than one which informs people of policy choices, impacts and future political intentions. That is not healthy for democracy, which has been reduced by the Conservatives to gossipmongering, a lack of decorum, misquotes and dark ads and nudging people’s voting decisions.

You can learn such a lot about a person from the tone they use, and by a basic analysis of their language. The unforgettable slips by Iain Duncan Smith recently, when pressed about the triple tax lock and manifesto  – “Look, what we were trying to get away with… er… get away from, rather…” 

Who could forget Cameron’s slip: “We are saving more money for the rich”. A couple of moments of inadvertent truth.

Theresa May says “I will”.  A lot.

Jeremy Corbyn says “WE will”.

Only one of them is democratic and open to genuine dialogue. The other one is Theresa May.

 

Related

The biggest threat to our national security and safety is authoritarian Conservative posturing and their arms deals to despotic states

Theresa May lies about Labour Policy on Question Time 

Theresa May is ‘responsible’ for London terror attack and must resign says top David Cameron aide

I Served In Northern Ireland – And Corbyn’s Understanding Of The Troubles Has Been Proven Right By History

 


 

My work is unfunded and I don’t make any money from it. But you can support Politics and Insights and contribute by making a donation which will help me continue to research and write informative, insightful and independent articles, and to provide support to others.

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Ace Editor Again.

A guest post by Hubert Huzzah

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If it had only been Jeremy Corbyn calling for Theresa May to resign it would have been merely politicking. But it was not only Corbyn. Steve Hilton, former director of strategy for David Cameron, and director of Political Technology Startup Crowdpac also tweeted that: Theresa May responsible for security failures of London Bridge, Manchester, Westminster Bridge. Should be resigning not seeking re-election”.

The underlying problem for Theresa May is that Steve Hilton is coming from a Right Wing, Big Data, Analytics driven perspective while Corbyn is approaching from a Mass Membership Organisation perspective. Both are concluding the same thing: Theresa May is not fit for purpose. Theresa May should resign. Had it been either Corbyn or Hilton it could be dismissed as mere politicking. Corbyn disparaging May for Labour Party political reasons; Hilton disparaging May for Conservative Party political reasons. But it is both.

If it were just Hilton then the problem could be fixed by simply having May resign and having someone else step into her position. She would simply be a replaceable cog in a well oiled machine. If it were just Corbyn then she would simply be replaced and come back at some later time as a renewable cog in a well oiled machine. The call for the resignation of May is not simply a judgement on her but on her entire Party and their ideology.

Which sounds a sweeping and generalised statement. Yet the truth is a verdict delivered from both Mass Membership and Big Data: the Tory Party has failed. In systems design there are two, broad, kinds of systems: fault tolerant and fail fast. Fault tolerant systems can continue operating as intended in the event of the failure of one or more component parts. Where operating quality decreases, the decrease is proportional to the severity of the failure. Which is exactly the kind of system the Tory Party could be if the call to resign was isolated to the Left or the Right. But the call is not. A fail fast system is designed to cease normal operation rather continue flawed processes.

Checking the system’s continuously so any failures can be detected early. A fail-fast system passes responsibility for handling error, but not detecting it, to the next-highest level of the system.

Democracy fails fast and tells you how it failed and that is what is happening right now with the Tory Party. Both Corbyn and Hilton have indicated that the Leader of the Tory Party – Theresa May – has failed to deliver. Increasingly it is clear that she failed to deliver as Home Secretary in terms of Domestic Policy and as Prime Minister in terms of Foreign Policy. These failures were tolerated by her own party for too long. Which led to a Party for which the Member Of Parliament was simply a Bloc Vote for the Cabinet. Ranging from the farcical retrospective legislation of, former leader, Ian Duncan Smith to the desire for a return to ex post facto law making. The doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty permits ex post facto lawmaking but, for example, retrospective criminal laws are prohibited by Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In order to function as a fault tolerant ruling party, the Human Rights Act, and the connection the the European Convention on Human Rights has to be ended. It is not about the European Union but about the Tory Party failing to realise that Democracy is fault tolerant of Democracy not of individual Parties. Individual Parties must fail and fail fast. Which is currently what the Tory Party is seeking to avoid: the propagation of failure throughout the entire Party.

The call for Theresa May to resign could be dismissed as politics, if it had come from a single direction – Left or Right – but not when it comes from two different direction. In particular, both sources of the call to resign are based, firmly in Big Data. The knee jerk reaction of Theresa May is to call for the ending of encryption on the Internet. This would end the security of banking, promote the kind of Ransomware that attacked the NHS – whose source might well be a State Intelligence Agency – and provides zero protection against any kind of conspiracy.

The model of what would happen if encryption were to be removed from the Internet is the experience of US Air Travellers, where, since 2003, all locked baggage travelling within, or transiting through, the United States of America must be equipped with Travelsentry locks. Travelsentry Locks are designed to allow anyone with a widely held master key to open them. Which is identical to giving back door entry to encryption. Travel to the United States allows the outsourced Contractors at the Transportation Security Administration to open any bag. The result has been a huge, widely investigated, rise in thefts from baggage. Removing encryption from the Internet would only work if the Tory Party were capable of managing everything on the Internet. In short, it is an attempt to bring the UK under the management of the Tory Party.

The call for the resignation of May is not simply a reflection on a single person. The Team around May includes Fiona Hill, Nick Timothy, Lynton Crosby, Jim Messina, Tom Edmonds, Craig Elder and John Godfrey which barely scratches the surface of the system of interlinking advisors necessary to run a Tory Campaign. Unlike Labour where there is a functioning Party Democracy, the Tories continue to have the kind of outdated Management by Patronage that drove the early Industrial Revolution yet stalled and failed by the time of the Wall Street Crash. Calling for May would oblige someone to replace her. Which would be the ideal thing to happen if the Tory Party was not dysfunctional.

In 2016 there was a Leadership Election in the Tory Party. Theresa May emerged as Leader through a series of attritions between Tuesday , July 5 and Monday , July 11. In essence, Liam Fox and Michael Gove were eliminated as they failed to gain sufficient votes and Andrea Leadsom and Stephen Crabb withdrew. Theresa May gathered Gavin Williamson – later appointed Chief Whip – together with a small group of MPs, including Julian Smith, Kris Hopkins, Simon Kirby, Karen Bradley and George Hollingbery. This was, in effect, the management team that took over the Tory Party. A judgement of resign from both the Left and Right of politics is also a judgement on those MPs. It is also a judgement on Crabb and Fox who endorsed May. Indeed, the call to resign is not simply politics but a judgement on the entire process of dressing up patronage as Democracy. Without realising it, the Tories set up the conditions for the fast failure of the Party under May.

In addition to the taint of the Leadership Election leaving the Tory Party united behind a Home Secretary whose record is increasingly and tragically exposed as beneath competence and pathologically flawed there is a record of increasing incompetence that is open to criminal prosecution. Craig Mackinlay is one prospective MP whose behaviour in the 2015 Election has given the Crown Prosection Service sufficient cause to believe they can successfully prosecute him along with Party Workers. The number of MPs, for whom the Crown Prosecution Service declined to prosecute, and their support workers ranks in the dozens. The Party is not suffering from a single bad apple but systemic failure.

Ian Duncan Smith, admitted that the removal of Control Orders from the Home Office repertoire made control of potential Terrorism far harder than under the previous Labour Government. This is one example of how far mediocre managers had been promoted to their level of incompetence within the Tory Party. The systematic in fighting from the Bruges Group onwards that led to the Referendum in 2015 exemplified the kind of fault tolerance that allowed the Tory Party to continue as an organisation. Indeed the Electoral Fraud allegations of 2015 onwards can be dismissed as not being criminal – but only if there is an acceptance that it was due to incompetence. Systematic incompetence on such a large scale begs the question of who that serves.

Which again points to the failure of the Tory Party as a viable political organisation. The multiple calls for May to resign beg the question: who will replace her. Clearly those people most closely aligned to her “election unopposed” in 2016 cannot claim to be better leaders otherwise they would have stood against her. Similarly, those who stood against her lost and that is pivotal in the ideology of the Tory Party. Losers do not simply go away to lick their wounds, they are crushed. Simply by looking at two parts of the last year – without even considering Pro-Remain Tory MPs – it becomes clear that the only way for any Tory, in any Constituency, to claim to be electable as an MP is for them to demonstrate that they are electable as Prime Minister.

For the Tory Party – who have made so much noise about the electability of Corbyn, the question that needs to be asked of every Conservative Party Candidate is: are you personally electable enough to be Prime Minister. Which is the point of failure for the Tory Party: there can be no longer any secret deals made in the Party. The Internet has provided the Electorate with a model for scrutiny of Politicians and Political Parties. The Tory Party does not stand up to scrutiny.

In 2010 with a magically, shiny, new digital strategy the Tory Party could get elected because of the novelty factor. By 2011, they product tested Referenda as a means to give the appearances of mass participation in decision making. At the same time the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 instituted a Boundary Review that was intended to radically reduce the number of MPs and the European Union Act 2011 made Referenda necessary for all changes in relationships to Europe. By 2015, the perpetual nudging and the capacity to dispose of the Liberal Democratic Party a Coalition Junior Partners allowed the Torys to be re-elected on the basis of being given a mandate. Which created the perception that the Tories are the natural party of government returned to their natural place. The European Union Referendum Act 2015 followed by the 2016 European Membership Referendum should have been the transition of British Politics to a perpetual Tory Government with Perpetual Austerity.

However, the 2010 digital strategy did something unexpected. The Tory Party had always been able to be fault tolerant within the party and impose fast failure onto society. The digital election strategy began opening up political parties to radical scrutiny. Now the failing of how parties work became part of the daily political skirmish. The 2016 Referendum simply opened up the failures of the Tory Party to scrutiny. Regardless of how anybody voted, it became clear that the Tory objective in having a Referendum was simply to impose the Tory Policy on Europe onto both the UK and the EU. The vote itself was intended to be a meaningless formality. A choice between Remain and Leave.

Choices are something that gets done in a talent show. They are not really democratic and calling them democratic undermines the real decisions and deliberations of democracy. The 2016 Referendum was about transforming decision making into choices. Future Government would simply give the Electorate a list of choices, on a menu, and the Electorate would choose. In essence, transforming all future Government into a fault tolerant machine for delivering policy objectives to Party Donors. Everything would become a variation on the Tory 2016 Leadership Election.

Which exposes the whole Tory Party to a simple problem. If Theresa May should resign then, so too, her whole party should resign. It really is not negotiable. Like it , or not, Democracy is a fail fast system and imposes fast failure onto Parties within that system. The Tory Party drifted along for decades being tolerant of its own faults and resisting the obviously moribund nature of the Party. Democracy has caught up.

Unless there is a Tory who can become Party Leader before the Election, there is no longer any rational cause to vote for any Tory MP. Theresa May should not have called an Election and her party was incompetent to allow her to do so. The shadow of electoral fraud has not vanished and the Party is systematically split on Europe; and, increasingly, the only way to for the Tories to retain power is to become an Authoritarian, Aristocratic Oligarchy.

Which, historically, never went down that well. 

Picture: Joseph Cornell, L’Égypte de Mlle Cléo de Mérode cours élémentaire d’histoire naturelle, 1940.