Thursday, 22 January 2015

Is the UK Conservative Party Becoming Like The American Republicans?

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and goes "quack," it's unlikely to be a goose, now, is it? Ducks and geese are distinctly different and although I'm not an ornithologist, I can tell at a glance which is which.

Recent rather unnerving developments in this country have left me wondering whether or not the critique of this Government, to wit, whether or not they are becoming like the American Republican party, is actually correct. Witness the latest attempt to ram the Snooper's Charter down our throats. See my response here. That happens in the US Congress all the time, and honestly, both parties do it. But that's not all.


It's all over Europe


Have you seen the European Parliament's EPP group — a mainly conservative/libertarian caucus's latest press release?

"...Thanks to these unfortunate manoeuvres of the S&D Group, we have unfortunately lost the possibility of submitting some important improvements to the text for the upcoming negotiations in the Environment Committee, such as the introduction of a provision on carbon leakage", said Tajani. "Now the Environment Committee will only have the Commission proposal as a reference text which, paradoxically for the S&D, entails 2021 as the starting date which is, in turn, the initial position of our Group. We sincerely hope that the S&D Group will learn the lesson from today that there will be no reliable majority in this house against the EPP Group." - ETS Market Stability Reserve: EPP Group remains united while Left-wing obstructs

The EPP was firmly behind ACTA, remember. They're also very keen on IPR and ISDS, both of which are proven harmful to consumers and, as anti-competitive measures, are anti-ethical to the free market they pretend to espouse. Hilariously, the allegedly united EPP group doesn't include UKIP members because they hate the European Union on principle. Right-wingers sticking together? Nope.

But have you noticed how they try to segment the vote into "them" and "us"? How they characterise opposition as enmity and how they patronise and demonise dissenters? American Republicans do that too. They also shill corporatism as the second coming and downplay the problems endemic to it.

Authoritarianism... for the children


The Tories are also using fear-mongering + solution theatre + "trust me, I'm in government" + assumed moral authority to persuade people to fall for their nonsense. For many of us, political corruption is inevitable and we are resigned to a future dominated by foreign corporations, food banks, and increased commercialisation of all the things. We're our own worst enemies in that regard; we don't vote or put ourselves up for election, then whinge about the lack of choice. Even "Call me Dave" Cameron has agreed that we need to get more debate going, and has apparently called for the Greens and the SNP to be permitted to join televised political debates. Well, great. In that, they differ from the American Republicans, who have successfully created a two party state and keeps it that way by stoking up the culture wars. But don't get too excited just yet. Dave is trying to make himself look magnanimous. He has only to get his calculator out to scupper the Greens over the misbegotten Basic Income policy and the SNP will of course be called out for trying to break up the union last year.

These are the same people who are currently trying to bring the Snooper's Charter in through the back door. This is typical of American politicians and Republicans are notorious for it. They are currently pushing for ever-greater surveillance in the face of the fact that it does nothing to protect the nation and they are working to undermine freedom of expression by locking people up for making horrible comments online. It's one thing to repeatedly threaten and abuse a person. It's another thing altogether when it's just some prat mouthing off online.

It's no accident that they're aping the Republicans: they're working to get TTIP and TISA enacted, and to permit Cuadrilla and other companies to frack our land. And anyone who dares to complain is considered a terrorist and/or a security risk. Just like in right-wing USA. They are corporate shills to a man (and woman). Well I'm having none of it. To be conservative means to maintain the status quo, not to sell your own population out to the highest bidder. The Tories would do well to remember that. It is an election year, after all.

Stop the Snooper's Charter. Please can you all share and sign my petition?


During a snarky conversation on Twitter with a like-minded person, I opined that we ought to be outraged at the subversion of the democratic process by Lord Blair and the security-at-all-costs brigade, he challenged me to set up a petition. I said I'd do it if he agreed to sign it. I can't tell how many signatures I've got so far (which I've raised with 38 Degrees) but I've been asking thought leaders such as Glyn Moody and Loz Kaye to share this link: Stop the Snooper's Charter. So far, some people have signed and shared and they are talking about it. While petitions alone can't achieve much, in tandem with letters and calls to your MP, etc., they are very effective. I'm thinking of the contributions petitions made to Stop SOPA and the anti-ACTA campaigns, here.

Please sign and share it, and if you don't like 38 Degrees, start your own campaign. Help yourself to the image, I'm not claiming any rights over it. Don't hotlink — download it from here, then upload it to your chosen platform if you want to use it. This is not about me. It's about democracy, and I'd rather do something than sit around complaining about it. At least sign the petition: every ocean began with a drop of water, after all. They all add up after a while.


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