Published On: Tue, May 3rd, 2022

Parliament’s growing legitimacy crisis: don’t vote in the local elections

Last week in the Westminster Parliament, the Speaker of the House of Commons allowed an MP to call Boris Johnson a liar on repeated occasions. Now, the corporate-media report on this that the author read liked to have its readership understand that censorship in the Commons of the word “liar” for being “unparliamentarily language” is a recent thing, pointing out how the scandal of “Partygate” (i.e. that commotion that looks, for all the world, like an entirely intelligence-agency fabricated one) has involved two MPs in less than a year using the word at Boris Johnson, and presumably refusing to retract it (as the Speaker will surely have directed them to do) – thus being thrown out of a “debate”. On the contrary, the convention is donkey’s years old, and is an expression of the Commons’ Temple Bar genetics, and related to “contempt of court” (a QC with whom the author once tangled with didn’t like his clients being called confidence men, for instance, and would have had the judge mete out a punishment), so that lies can be freely told according to a purpose belonging to a power greater than that of a court or the Commons.

One can be sure, then, if an MP was not censured for calling Boris Johnson a liar in the House of Commons, it was for the show of accusing him in the most public and defeating way possible. Moreover, it suggests the desperation of UK Government to trigger a switch of Tory votes to Labour in the ongoing Starmer Project (which is what we will begin to call it); i.e. making it appear that Keir Starmer is on a trajectory of irresistible ascendency to the office of Prime Minister by engineering by-elections ahead of a general election – where Starmer will be fixed into office – and so as to gain the desired by-election results, influencing voters to at the least abandon the Tory party, but preferably to elect a Labour candidate.

Desperation is mentioned because the scheme is hindered greatly by how voters are also freely abandoning Labour at the polling booths. Thus, creating the appearance of a rise to power for Starmer is a project that requires people who would definitely vote and do it for the Tories to go to the polls in support of Labour instead: as stated above, to trigger a switch of Tory votes to Labour. If the UK Government needs to have the Speaker of the Commons waive the convention on not using the word “liar” so that Johnson can be rubbished even on the benches from whence (on the face of it) he rules, then it shows that there is a great deal of desperation.

Indeed, the desperation is evidently such that UK Government schemers working on the Starmer Project have all too evidently had to throw in the towel with the “Partygate” nonsense: only a week later after the attempt to ruin the Tories’ appeal with the allowed unparliamentarily language caper, corporate-media (Mi7) was being discovered reporting that Starmer was now being advised to switch the focus of his campaigning from “Partygate” to the issue of “cost of living”. The idea, apparently, is to show Tory voters that Kier Starmer’s Labour party will do something about rising costs whereas the Tory party will not. Of course, beyond the realms of London public relations flimflam (which gaslights about great electoral returns for Labour) where people have had direct experience of a public health hoax by which UK Government hangs the narrative of slumping living standards, there is consciousness of Starmer having been complicit with Johnson in the waging of the ongoing economic blockade. Moreover, the extent of the consciousness of the meaningless of electing a Labour politician instead of a Tory one is such that there is a good deal of nervousness being expressed in corporate-media regarding Labour’s prospects. Naturally, UK Government wants Labour to be seen to do well, because it will generate an aurora of winning. And then, it’s like the Daily Express has recently reminded its Tory-voting audience (albeit not so candidly), this will establish expectation for the general election:

[Apart from allowing voters to influence local issues, local elections]… also allow voters to make their feelings known on the cost of living crisis, Partygate and a number of other national issues.

The results are set to paint a very vivid picture of the national mood for the first time since the snap 2019 General Election.

Of course, the reality is that local elections are almost entirely for perception management because there is no such thing as local independence from the central agenda, and all that local elections amount to is a group of people validating a system that they benefit from and are vested in – as explained in the FBEL article, Local Elections Explained: A Clique Elects Its Own, The Public Think About Ramifications For Westminster.

With this being established, the pre-local election coverage in corporate-media is uncomfortable stuff for UK Government as far as it hopes to have Labour shine in them. Labour is not going to shine. And it stands to reason that Tory voters are not going to switch to Labour if the same charges against the Tory Executive branch of gross misgovernment can be applied to them. These charges, of course, are the Brexit betrayal, by which Labour evacuated so much of its support; the overt totalitarianism of the fake pandemic, which Labour did nothing to oppose; and the economic blockade, which is ongoing, and which it is patently clear Labour will not terminate, but only implement the synthesis in the problem-reaction-solution dynamic. Of course, the intelligence-media complex is already pre-empting the results by blaming Labour’s so-called preoccupation with “Partygate”. What is meant, however, is that the operation to trash the Tories to Labour’s advantage has failed.

While the failure to bring ex-Tory voters to Labour is why the Starmer Project is flagging, there is a  more existential problem for UK Government in that the Tories are in the same boat as Labour – as evidenced by what we might call the Starmer Project by-elections that have happened thus far – in that they are also still not managing to mobilise a would-be Tory vote beyond the core and assured support. In short, votes for both parties have disappeared, and are not being transferred anywhere else; i.e. turnout has tanked. The importance of this phenomenon to forcing illegitimacy on UK Government is something that would usually get more than a mention in an FBEL article of this sort, but in this case the focus is on how it is possible for the local elections to fail in terms of the objective intended for them, which is the furtherance of the Starmer Project. This does not mean that there is advocacy – let it be made plain – to vote one party in favour of another in order to disrupt UK Government plans. The Tories should be made to fail, as much as Labour, as much as any party that stands a candidate, so that all forms of UK Government can be shown to be illegitimate.

The local elections, of course, are coming off the back of a Birmingham Erdington by-election result which looks like it will set the tone. Labour actually won this seat, but it was very poor victory indeed. As for the Tories, if the bellicosity of UK Government against Russia, fronted by the Tory executive as it is, had real support in the country (instead of an illusion of it created by Mi7), then the Conservative Party candidate – a man who has been trying to become the MP for the constituency for some time – should have at last capitalised. Indeed, the persistent risking of dire conflict by the provoking of Russia being done by the entire UK political class is an urgent reason to make it illegitimate.

Evidently, there was great concern about Labour losing Birmingham Erdington. As the readership of this site has been told before, UK Government cannot have Keir Starmer lose seats because it is fatal to a winning image, and this is why by-elections where Tory MPs are incumbent are chosen to be engineered. Erdington, of course, was an unavoidable fight with the (suspicious) drop-down death of Jack Dromey (as covered here at FBEL). The detail of this concern should feature in a dedicated article, but suffice it to say, there was a big operation to get out Labour votes, including a visit from Keir Starmer himself. Despite this, however, a Labour activist working on a scheme to encourage voters to the polling booths described how the operation was out of steam by the evening (with polls remaining open for another 4-5 hours) due to “run[ning] out of potential voters to rally” – suggesting no more people willing to cooperate to be found. And so, the worry about losing continued over into the counting.

The turnout, it will not surprise the reader to discover, was 27%. It was down 26 points from the 2019 general election, and it represents 17,016 people.

Both Labour and the Tories lost around 8,000 votes from 2019, but this naturally was proportionally more significant for the Tories, having had less of the vote share the last time around. Indeed, it was entirely due to an accident of numbers, after humiliation was actually equally shared, whereby Labour could claim a 4.5% swing in vote share to them. Just over 9,000 people voted for Labour, and the swing represented 2,836 of them. But still, optimistic propagandists, described as Labour spokesmen, were quoted in the corporate-media saying things such as:

Increasing our vote share is a huge achievement and shows that with Keir Starmer’s leadership, Labour is regaining the trust of voters in our traditional ‘red wall’ seats in the Midlands after the disastrous results of the 2019 general election.

“Even in a traditionally low turnout seat with a well-known Tory candidate, we’ve seen a swing to Labour with voters backing Keir Starmer’s contract for the British people based on security, prosperity and respect for all.

The incredible reliance on presentation over substance demonstrated in this astonishing example of propaganda overreach is not a feature of a Blairite Labour legacy, but standard UK Government-grade nonsense that asserts its own reality.

As much as this sort of proclamation suggests that Starmer Project propagandists imagine no limit to the extent that their audience can doublethink or be gaslighted, it nevertheless appears that someone, somewhere in the chain of command has made a decision that selling the stellar prospects of Starmer against the backdrop of all too evidently mediocre performances in reality is nonsense too far. We can surmise this, because lately, of Labour’s chances in the local elections, the party’s own high-ups have made statements to moderate expectations such as the following:

Labour chiefs have warned the party it is unlikely to be able to spin a compelling story of victory after next week’s local elections, calling Tory claims of 750 losses “ludicrous” and suggesting Labour may even lose “red wall” seats.

Shadow cabinet ministers warned the party was on “thin ice” when it came to its poll lead. This week the shadow levelling up secretary, Lisa Nandy, warned the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, that the party needed to switch its focus from attacking the prime minister over Partygate, to talking about the cost of living crisis…

Another shadow minister said the [Labour’s opinion] poll lead was “built on sand” and that Starmer had to prove he could take it up a gear on more than just sleaze scandals. “The caution is infuriating. The material is dry. The policies are scattergun. I do think we need to start making a bigger impression on a much broader range of stories,” they said.

Here, of course, in this extract is reference to the need to focus on “cost of living”, recommended this time by Labour’s so-called “levelling up secretary”. Incidentally, that this Lisa Nandy is the shadow version of one of these things suggests that the Tories have a minister of “levelling up”.  What they all mean, of course, is levelling down – for everyone else bar themselves – like the zealous democrats they are. It’s yet another indication of the real fact of Britain as a genuine international socialist state, and maybe, just maybe, another reason why Labour and the Tories have both suffered major losses in support is that British people in the main reject the cultural revolution. And for those who scoff at that, and point to “the Left” that Starmer has alienated as an explanation for his failure to launch, that, dear reader, is yet another excuse because the collapse in Labour support started on Corbyn’s watch.

In any case, for whatever reason in the end, there is an ex-Labour vote that Starmer’s party is having to forego because it can’t be made to go to the polling booths, and the fact of Labour chasing after Tory vote is nowhere more apparent than in another corporate-media piece (in INews, and by an ex- Executive Director of Policy for the Labour Party) along the same lines as the one introduced above, where there is the following lamentation that Labour is not exploiting the economic situation:

When Theresa May’s government was in a mess and Labour had a polling lead in late 2017, Tony Blair took to the airwaves to proclaim that Labour “should be 15, 20 points ahead”. The same surely applies today for Labour against the current Conservative Government with the first serving Prime Minister to have broken the law in office in British history, and all while overseeing a burgeoning economic crisis.

While many across political divides condemned Sunak’s Spring Statement has inadequate, Labour has been hesitant to offer its own solutions, although has notably been more focused recently. What Labour has refused to do is the simplest and clearest thing: saying it would inflation-proof pensions, benefits and wages. The Tories ditched the pensions triple lock earlier this year (a vote on which the Labour frontbench abstained), in a move that alienated the Tories’ older base. Labour could have taken advantage, but this was another missed opportunity.

Activists feel Labour has not been sharp enough in defining clear policy positions. One Labour councillor, back from the doorstep this weekend lamented to me, “if we can’t inspire people and convince them we are different we will get swept up in the anti-politics feeling [generated by Partygate].”

The writer of this extract reminds that Labour has an opportunity to present itself as being opposition to the Tories (for the show) in a traditional vein by extending the welfare state and subsidising income against inflation, and being political for Labour, makes noises about his party needing to do it, or tending towards doing it (for the votes). However, he won’t explain that the point of the economic blockade is to claw real wealth from those who, according to the perspective, it doesn’t really belong to. Thus, Labour won’t do anything meaningful about people being poorer.

And it is interesting that this writer cites a Labour councillor who recognises that there is capacity whereby not being seen to solve an economic problem will turn into an anti-politics feeling that he evidently observes is harboured by the public at this time. Now, we do not actually know if this councillor stipulated that this mood was generated by “Partygate”; the writer of the piece could have joined the bracketed part to the sentence to keep the concept to its permitted limits within the propaganda project. Maybe, on the other hand, it is the case that the public can see how the political parties have conspired to create the poverty, and this has compounded anger about the totalitarianism exercised on the pretext of a phoney disease?

Maybe it’s more simple even than that when it comes to why Labour promising more welfare state will not translate to more votes, and thus won’t have political capital: British people by now understand that their tax sacrifices are not for them. This idea is evoked in a third piece of corporate-media pre-local election coverage, where Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland’s Labour city council, warns that bleating about not answering austerity (which, again, is about swapping out real wealth for the fiat variety) with more welfare (not quite how he characterises it) is increasingly falling on death ears in Labour’s “Red Wall” constituencies.

This comes, at the same time (says the writer of this Independent piece)…

as fears emerged that the party might lose control of the north-east city’s council for the first time since it was formed in 197. Internal Conservative polling is said to suggest the reds could lose six seats here on 5 May, denying the party its historic majority on Wearside.

Miller naturally won’t say that he thinks Labour will lose control of Sunderland, but does explain that Labour seats have been lost in recent local elections across the north of England because of failing to deal with changing attitudes to reduced funding. He says:

“For a period of time saying austerity was killing us was fair but over [12 years] the public gets tone deaf to it and understandably so,” he said. “People just want to see services being delivered. So, if you’ve spent too long saying ‘austerity austerity austerity’, people are going to turn away from you. We need to get on with being positive. Explain why there may be a reduction in services – why we’re cutting the grass less or there’s more pot holes – but tell people what we’re doing to make things better.”

He added: “Sunderland has lost more than £350 million – it’s almost impossible to live with – but what have to do is deliver either more with the same or the same with less.”

What Miller is advocating, it seems, is teaching that having less is tolerable – which is right-on according to the UK Government’s sustainability agenda – while at the same time (if one can cut through the gobbledegook of the last sentence in the extract) inducing double-think so that less is the same as before, or more.

In fact, beneath the Orwellianism, what is being said here cuts to the quick of the problem. Sunderland, of course, was the first place in the country to vote for Brexit – and it is crucial. The author posits that when the full rapacious nature of the EU was discovered,  and when the welfare state was discovered to be an open wound for any and all comers to leech from (and not a safety net to which one reluctantly contributed), the concept of getting less for the same applied to missing out on services because of the great swarm from across the world with its great barging elbows. It is this problem that never gets solved, and people – if Miller is right – have identified it as such, and realise that it doesn’t matter how big or small government is if it doesn’t serve. This is the reason that Labour support was collapsing even when Corbyn was the party’s leader. The party won’t recover, because it is wedded to the UK Government’s international socialist agenda. For the same reason, the party won’t win non-participating ex-Tories, who have abandoned their party in a likewise manner.

There’s even bad news for Labour regarding the Tories who would go out and vote: the same people who are absolutely essential to the Starmer Project, as the INews article penned by the Labour policy wonk suggests:

On the surface the local elections look like plain sailing for Labour – and the party is predicted to make gains next Thursday, but behind these polling headlines, there is another story. A more thorough look at the polling shows that voting intention suffers from a large swathe of “don’t knows”. One in five Tory voters in 2019 now say they don’t know how they would vote in an election, but less than one in 17 would switch to Labour. It’s because of this that Labour’s biggest opponent next Thursday is not the Conservatives, but voter apathy.

The fear clearly is that Labour won’t do well enough to be seen to deserve all the razzmatazz that is planned for it, and the propaganda will be seen to be out of synchronisation with reality.

Don’t let them off the hook. Don’t vote.

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  1. Mara D says:

    Excellent summary of the current situation. I stopped voting a long time ago. Took a bit of time for me to realise that the whole thing was rigged/manipulated. Lost the best job I ever had thanks to Blair messing about with Town Hall based Home Care Departments, basically smashing it to bits.

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