Top Ten ‘Compassionate’ Changes to Tory Policies


10. All benefits sanctions to now come with 5p off voucher for Iceland.

9. Bedroom Tax to be waived for one night in honour of upcoming Royal Wedding.

8. All foxes required to have passed fitness test before being hunted with dogs.

7. All children living in poverty to be given free audiobook of ‘A Christmas Carol’, read by Jacob Rees-Mogg.

6. Dementia Tax only to be applied to those who really don’t know what’s happening to them.

5. EU nationals in UK to be allowed to stay if they can recite the 2017 Tory Manifesto from memory.

4. People waiting for more than 6 hours at A&E to be given new Queen’s Medal for Pluckiness.

3. Asylum seekers to be given one week a year free from demonisation in the Tory Press.

2. Public sector workers to be given lavish pay rise (paid in new ‘ToryCoin’ cryptocurrency).

1. All Tory policies to be junked and replaced by stolen Corbyn ideas in desperate attempt to cling to power.

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Top Ten Magical Things That Will Happen When the Clock Strikes 11pm On March 29, 2019


10. Ghostly merchant trading ships from the four corners of the known world, laden with tariff-free spices, jewels and banned animal parts, will sail upon a buccaneering tide into Felixstowe Docks, and there will be much rejoicing.

9. A powerful religious icon, glowing with a mysterious red light, will be unearthed amongst the IT cabinets in the bowels of the Palace of Westminster, and its uncanny likeness to Vladimir Putin will be much remarked upon and worshipped.

8. The ancient, mythical giants of the West Country will roar back to life, pick all the crops for no wages, then retire to Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Elizabethan mansion for mead and crumpets.

7. Margaret Thatcher will appear in a vision to a band of dejected Deliveroo drivers outside a chicken shop in Preston, bearing glad tidings and an order for a Mega Wings Bucket with Cajun Sauce.

6. It will be discovered that all of Shakespeare’s plays were actually written by some royalist toff instead and that, read backwards, King Lear predicts a glorious one-party English renaissance, post-Brexit.

5. J. K. Rowling will be transmuted into a right-wing Tory, Hogwarts will become the model for all schools* in England, and children will be instructed in spells to ward off Voldemort’s evil twin, Jeremy Corbyn.

4. Mystical golden unicorns will descend upon every Japanese car plant in the land, bearing wondrous gifts from the Magic Money Tree.

3. Boris Johnson and Michael Gove will vanish, in puffs of mendacious piffle and sulphurous guff respectively, only to rematerialise instantly in a pumpkin coach drawn by laughing rats, on their way to be crowned Pearly King and Queen of Brexitarnia.

2. There will be heard the sound of a mighty, haunting Trump from beyond the Western Oceans, being the annunciation of the phantasmagorical Feast of Fake News, a never-ending bacchanal, with its all-you-can-eat buffet of Charmed Chicken-in-Chlorine and Enchanted Hormone-Stewed Beef.

1. It will be as if Theresa May never existed.

(*Except the Secondary Moderns that all the proles go to, which will, once again, be run on proper Dickensian lines.)

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Book Review: ‘The Future is History’ by Masha Gessen

This is an important book.

Its purpose is to explain how, and why, Russia returned to a state of totalitarianism despite the initial hope and democratisation of the Yeltsin period. Why did the Russian people not fasten on to their new freedoms in the way that the citizens of the Baltic republics and, to a lesser extent, those of Ukraine did?

Masha Gessen’s explanation explores, via the lives of seven individuals and through three disciplines which did not exist in the Soviet period – sociology, psychoanalysis and opinion polling – the persistence of what she calls Homo Sovieticus.

This character, the opinion polling and (a bit less plausibly) the psychoanalysis suggest, did not fade away after the collapse of the Soviet Union, nor even with the passing of generations. Putin era youth groups like Nashi differ little from their Soviets equivalents. Most citizens fear the open expanse of liberal freedom, preferring the ‘narrow corridor’ of the authoritarian State.

Most Russians, the book says, yearn not for change and opportunity (and the responsibility and anxiety that may go with them), but for order, imposed from above, and ‘strength and stability’. ‘Strong and stable’ – where have we heard that lately?

The book contains a discussion of the precise meaning of ‘totalitarianism’. Hannah Arendt is quoted, along with other writers. But the precise meaning is largely beside the point. In 2017, opposition politics in Russia is all but impossible. If you oppose Putin, you may be murdered, like Boris Nemtsov. Elections are rigged, even if Putin opponents are excluded and rigging is therefore unnecessary. Academics are monitored for ideological conformity. Demonstrations are all but impossible to stage. Protesters may be arrested by the hundred. Justice is arbitrary and controlled by the executive. Corruption abounds.

Gessen discusses whether a totalitarian state needs an ideology. The answer appears to be: not necessarily, but it helps – especially when you are getting started, and you can change it as circumstances demand. And the ideology should be a single, simple idea. (Like ‘MAGA’ or ‘Brexit’, perhaps.)

The current ideology is ‘Eurasia’ or ‘Greater Russia’ – as people in Ukraine are well aware – and its high priest is Alexander Dugin. Dugin is the Steve Bannon or Nigel Farage of Russia – only worse. According to this book, Dugin has a personal connection to the American neo-Nazi Richard Spencer (the ‘Hail Trump’ guy.)

Dugin’s ideology is all about ‘traditional family values’, which are threatened by Western liberalism. There are no such things, he says, as ‘universal human values’. Liberal (social, but not economic) ideas are to be abhorred; they are ‘Western’ and an affront to white Christian civilisation, as epitomised by the ‘Russian World’. Putin is thus the leader of a movement to restore ‘European Civilisation’.

This is where it gets really scary. LGBT people are ‘deviants’ who deserve to be ‘liquidated’; the Russian opinion polling on this is devastating. (And a warning: this book contains descriptions of homophobic ‘vigilante’ violence, tacitly state-sanctioned, that may cost you sleep.)

To what extent do people like Bannon, Spencer, Farage, Le Pen and Trump buy into Dugin’s despicable ideology? How intent are they on spreading it outside of Russia? They may seem like comic villains, but we should ask ourselves this question before we laugh too much.

Apart from Nemtsov, the characters in Gessen’s book survive, though most of them leave Russia. The book leaves you feeling, firstly, that Russians do not deserve their fate, Homo Sovieticus notwithstanding; and, secondly, that neither do we, in Europe or America – and we’d better think about that.

Towards the end of the book, Gessen notes that, in June 2017, a Russian opinion poll reported that Russians’ choice for ‘most outstanding person of all time in the entire world’ was Joseph Stalin.

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Future-History-Totalitarianism-Reclaimed-Russia/dp/1783784008

 

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Top Ten Do’s and Don’ts For Tory Politicians Who Don’t Want To End Up Like Michael Fallon

Michael Fallon

10. Knees. Don’t fondle the knees of female journalists. Do shove your knee in the groin of benefit claimants and the poor.

9. Groping. Don’t grope young women in taxis. Do grope for power any way you can (yes, it’s still just about acceptable to hook up with the DUP).

8. Obscene language. Do object when an MP calls his assistant ‘Sugar Tits.’ Don’t object when a friendly newspaper calls senior judges ‘Enemies of the People.’

7. Pornography. Don’t look at degrading porn while you’re supposed to be working. Do flaunt your familiarity with Atlas Shrugged and The Road to Serfdom.

6. Toxic atmosphere. Do worry about the toxic atmosphere at Westminster. Don’t worry about the toxic air in UK cities.

5. No means no. Do respect the red lines of your Parliamentary staff. Don’t respect the red lines of the European Union.

4. Exploitation. Don’t condone the abuse of power by your fellow MPs. Do condone the abuse of power by privatised utilities and monopolistic corporations.

3. Proclivities. Do keep quiet about your private perversions. Don’t keep quiet about the exciting climax of Hard Brexit.

2. Equality. Don’t treat people like you who just happen to be female as inferior. Do treat immigrants, asylum-seekers and foreigners as inferior (unless they’re rich).

1. Disgusting acts. Don’t undo your trousers in public. Do undo all public services at every opportunity.

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