Sunday, 28 May 2017

For Professional Liars, These Tories Seem Very Amateurish

I can't remember an election when the Tories have not based themselves on lies.  For all of the previous century, the Tories appeals to the electorate, despite one period of government after another during which they insisted on the need for austerity, was based on the idea that such "hard choices" were a prelude to "Jam Tomorrow".  The Tories, as  a party, have always been a party of lies and deception.  Their whole existence depends on telling a big lie to voters about the true nature of society.  They are by necessity, by tradition, and by their history a party of professional liars, but for such professional liars, this current gang of Tories seem very amateurish.

On the bigger picture, the Tories, like all of the bourgeoisie, of course, are not liars.  To be a liar, it is necessary that you actually know that what you are saying is not true.  On the bigger picture, the bourgeoisie believes that not only is capitalism the best system for organising society, but it honestly believes that it is the only way of running society, that all of history, is a history of society being organised on capitalist principles only with variations.  This is what Marx says about Ricardo, for example, who was one of the best advocates for the bourgeoisie, and who Marx also commends for his scientific honesty.

"All the objections which Ricardo and others raise against overproduction etc. rest on the fact that they regard bourgeois production either as a mode of production in which no distinction exists between purchase and sale—direct barter—or as social production, implying that society, as if according to a plan, distributes its means of production and productive forces in the degree and measure which is required for the fulfilment of the various social needs, so that each sphere of production receives the quota of social capital required to satisfy the corresponding need. This fiction arises entirely from the inability to grasp the specific form of bourgeois production and this inability in turn arises from the obsession that bourgeois production is production as such, just like a man who believes in a particular religion and sees it as the religion, and everything outside of it only as false religions."

Its not in this bigger picture that the Tories are liars, but in the praxis, in the contradiction between what they believe to be true, and their refusal to acknowledge what their own experience shows them to be true.  They are forced to lie, every day, as reality contradicts their own belief in what constitutes that larger truth.  The two things are incompatible and in irreconcilable contradiction, and so in order to hold on to their larger truth, they are daily forced to lie about each smaller truth.

The problem for the Tories is that society has moved on.  That ability to lie and get away with it, in politics has always been a time restricted tool.  It may have been true, and may still be true that "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time."  But, it has also always been true, and is even more true today, that "You can't fool all the people all of the time."

Sooner, or later, the lies catch up with you.  Eventually, the lie that the hardship and austerity of today are a necessary prelude to jam tomorrow, wears thin, and the electorate twigs.  The electorate begins to recognise that the "hard choices" that are being talked about are never hard choices that affect the rich, but only ever affect the poor, the working and middle classes.

Take one current meme that has been pursued.  The Tories talk about the fact that there has been full employment.  They even recognise that this full employment has gone along with the employed workers being on zero hours contracts, appallingly low wages and so on, and use that to argue against improving wages and conditions for fear of that employment being jeopardised.  But just think about what this actually means.

Under systems of slavery, there is always full employment.  The slave owners have a strong incentive to ensure that the slaves are kept in work, and that they work as hard and as long as possible.  But, who do you think really benefits from this slavery and the full employment it entails - the slave or the slaveowner?  

On many things, the Tories get away with the lies they tell, because the truth itself is not hard to uncover.  As Marx said, if the real nature of things was apparent from their surface appearance, then there would be no need for science to uncover the underlying reality.  In part, that encourages the Tories to be lazy.  They can tell lies about the economy, and the way it works, and the way workers are exploited, without it being immediately apparent that what they say is untrue.  When they have a Tory mass media that reinforces all of those ideas, it is even more difficult to expose those truths.

And, when it comes to other truths about daily life and politics, therefore, the Tories have been able to rely on that mass media to frame the discussion in ways that favour their version of reality.  There are two approaches that can be taken with this lying.  Either you adopt the same approach as Goebbels, which is to believe that if you are going to tell a lie it might as well be a big one, which if you repeat often enough, a sufficient number of people will believe, or else you take the view that a lie if it is to be believable, should be based on a kernel of truth.  The Tories during the election campaign have apparently chosen the Goebbels school of lying, which also fits with their other election strategy of presenting themselves as an authoritarian regime, based upon a "strong and stable leader" , an Il Duce, as the Italians would have it, or a Fuhrer, as the Germans would term such a person.  The Tories obviously believed that they could win the election despite having nothing positive to say, nothing positive to offer the vast majority of the population, but just by continually attacking Jeremy Corbyn, and telling is what a strong and stable leader Fuhrer May was.

The lie in relation to Fuhrer May was apparent, given that week after week she failed to answer a single question put to her by Corbyn in Parliament, and every time she went of the tightly scripted lines she had been given to parrot, was shown to be unable to think for herself on her feet.  The lie was exposed when this supposedly strong and stable leader was shown to be too cowardly to debate Corbyn and other party leaders.  It was further exposed, when she hid away from the voters during the election campaign, only appearing in close camera angle, highly choreographed audiences with small groups of Tory supporters, whilst day after day, Corbyn was addressing mass rallies of tens of thousands, and every day talking to ordinary people on the street, and winning more and more of them over, in the process.

And, the lie of the strong and stable leader was then blown wide apart, when, after having come out to attack the elderly with their policies for removing the Triple Lock, Scrapping the Winter Fuel Allowance for large numbers of pensioners, and then proposing the Dementia Tax, Il Duce May having allowed all of her first lieutenants disgrace themselves on Sunday politics programmes, by defending those policies, herself the very next day, came out to overturn the Dementia Tax, whilst still ridiculously claiming that they had made no U-Turn.  It was an open lie, that everyone could see was a lie, and should have led every voter to question everything May and her team said on anything!

But, worse.  The Tories with the same kind of hubris that led them to think that they could get away with the fact that there was absolutely nothing in their Election Manifesto of substance, other than this policy of attacking the elderly, without anyone noticing, then tried to scandalously use the atrocity of the terrorist bombing in Manchester to score cheap political points against Corbyn by telling even more overtly obvious lies about him.  The trouble for the Tories in following the Goebbels school of lying is that, he and the Nazis could get away with it, in an era when the masses relied on the newspaper and radio for their information, especially newspapers and radio that was controlled by the state in that totalitarian society.  The hubris of the Tories seems to have been enhanced by the fact that in Britain, the media is overwhelmingly Tory in nature, and through the election campaign could be relied upon to pump out daily the line against Corbyn.

The trouble is that the world has moved on from the 1930's, and even the early 2000's.  The majority of young people get their information from the Internet, and the Tory newspapers and TV are no longer the source of their information about the facts of current affairs.  That comes from a multitude of social media outlets, and the related open source media and news coverage that comes along with it.  A lie blurted out by May, Fallon, Johnson or some other Tory from the high command, can be instantly challenged and checked for its veracity.  Now, those lies are counter-productive.

So, when Theresa May came on to TV to claim that Jeremy Corbyn in his speech had blamed the Manchester bombing on British Foreign policy that could instantly be seen to be a lie, because Corbyn in his speech went out of his way to stress several times, that although former heads of MI5, had themselves spoken about the role of British foreign policy in the Middle East of creating conditions in which terrorist groups had been able to grow, that in no way justified or excused the atrocity committed in Manchester.  It was not difficult to see the reality of what Corbyn actually said, because it was there for everyone to see and hear immediately on Youtube, and to compare it with the lies that the Tories offered up about it, not just once but repeatedly.

And its here that the aspect of how the Tories are led into lying, referred to at the start is also clear, because it is when it gets down to the nitty gritty of bourgeois electoral politics that they are forced into justifying themselves and their core beliefs, and their narrow party and personal interests, as it comes up against reality.  For purely party political and electoral reasons, the Tories lie (they are of course, not alone, the same could be said of the Liberals and of the Blair-rights and soft lefts), and they say one thing one minute only to deny it the next, or to attack their electoral opponents for having said exactly what they have said in the past, or vice versa.

So, to the extent the Tories have had any policies recently they were frequently stolen from Ed Miliband's 2015 Election Manifesto.  For example, they adopted a policy of imposing a cap on energy company's prices, despite calling such a measure, when it was proposed by Miliband, "Marxism", and ludicrously unworkable!  There has been nothing subtle or sophisticated about the lies Theresa May and her team have attempted to perpetrate, they have been as lazy and incompetent in that sphere as they have been in all others.  Only their friends in the more intelligent sections of the media have attempted to cover their backs by framing their attacks on Corbyn and his thoughtful speech on terrorism in more nuanced ways, though of course, the gutter press could be relied upon to simply come out with the usual garbage, presumably thinking that its core readership of older people do not themselves use the Internet or social media, or do not themselves have children and grandchildren who use those facilities, and draw their attention to the lies they are being told by the Tories.

Its no wonder the Tories now seek to impose yet further controls on the freedom of speech and on social media.  Yet again, Theresa May and her team are following the playbook of other strong and stable leaders around the globe such as her friend Erdogan in Turkey.  Even some of the mainstream media seems to have twigged that in an age of social media and Youtube, and with support for Coryn's Labour surging in the polls, they also cannot continue to take the electorate for fools.  The Channel 4 News interview with Michael Fallon, who must be in the Tories Premier League of dissemblers, was a classic, where, illustrating the point above, he managed to confuse the words of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, some time ago, linking British Foreign policy in the Middle East, with the rise of Islamist terrorism, for Jeremy Corbyn.  When confronted with the facts, Fallon could not deal with it, and simply tried to dissemble his way out of the conundrum he had placed himself in. 

The problem for the Tories is that they have a crude approach to all issues of law and order and security.  In terms of law and order, as always the Tories policy has been based upon a policy of hang 'em and flog 'em.  In terms of security it is always similarly to look to some form of violence as a solution.  Yet, the last two weeks have shown the inadequacy of that approach.  The problem they have is that when it comes to the cyber attack on the NHS, or it comes to an individual act of barbarous terrorism such as that in Manchester, the Tories have no obvious target to bomb!  Their reliance on the biggest stick possible, such as spending £100 billion on Trident, turns out to be as useful as a chocolate teapot in responding to the threats of the 21st Century, as opposed to the threats of the 20th century.

Again the Tories cannot admit to that, and so are led to simply attack their opponents with lies.  If we take the Tories proposals for imposing requirements on social media companies or on technology companies in relation to encryption, it can be seen again.  Who was it that held the store of viruses and malware from which was taken the WannaCry virus used by hackers against the NHS?  It was the US Security Services!  It was the very same state bodies that the Tories and their co-thinkers want to allow access to the encryption and security on which the world's telecommunications now depend.

If we think about the implications of allowing these bodies to have access to that encryption what will be the consequence?  It will be that everyone in the world going about their lawful business over the Internet, and using their mobile phones will find they are doing so in an insecure environment.  But, those who use those facilities for illegal activities will, in the end be unaffected.  The criminal organisations, the terrorist organisations have their own technology experts.  In order to have secure encrypted communications all that is required is that those within such a network have their own encryption software installed on their computers, mobile phones etc.  That software will then provide the keys to lock and unlock the encryption, as messages are sent and received, the keys being changed each time such a communication occurs.  Those engaged in nefarious activities will continue on their way, whilst the rest of us will be the ones affected.

Its a bit like the Tories policy on social care.  If you are rich, the Tories policy will not affect you.  In the village where I live, a lot of households already have gardeners, cleaners and so on, not because they are old or infirm, and need such care, as would be provided on a less adequate basis for the elderly under the Tories plans, but simply because they are rich enough and affluent enough to afford it.  The really rich, who take it for granted that their house will be cleaned every day by a cleaner, that their meals will be provided for them by a cook, that their garden will be tended by at last one gardener, that their physiotherapist, manicurist, and masseur will visit regularly to pamper them, and so on, will notice no difference when those services are provided for them in their old age, or infirmity, because they already take them for granted, just as they take for granted the nanny who tends to their children.  It is only workers and the middle class who will notice having to pay for such services when they no longer are able to provide them for themselves.  And now the Tories will force them to pay for those services by their children having to sell the family home after their death.

These Tories, or Theresa May's Team as Fuhrer May would have us call them, are some of the most incompetent, and most reactionary we have seen in decades.  We need to see them gone, and hopefully there is only a couple of weeks to go before we do.

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