Guest Post: “Slinker, Trailer, Snorter, Failure, Rich Man/Poor Man, MI6? Meep!”

Many thanks to BJ Approved Foreign Correspondent Tony Jay:

BJ International Presents: The Brexit Follies
An Alan Smithee Production

I think it was the late, great Glenn Medeiros who said, in reference to his third manager and fifth confirmed victim (WWE wrestler and pianoforte aficionado Danny “Hot Grease” Famagusta) “He couldn’t sing and he couldn’t dance, but if you didn’t want him applying a Figure-Four leg-lock and rabbit-punching your liver into patè, lying about it was always the smart move”. Wise words, Glenn, wise words. I’m sure that if he were here with us today and even passingly interested in the slow, grinding travesty that is this season of ‘Britain’s Got No Political Talent Whatsoever’, there’s no doubt that Mister Medeiros would look at the remaining Tory Leadership candidates and see the very clear analogy I’m drawing. Then he’d nod and he’d walk away, slowly, along the beach, sand between his toes, hair glistening, quietly satisfied.

Yes, it’s week two of the Contest of Charlatans and this evening the four remaining losers, plus Boris Johnson’s knuckle-cracking spokespeople, will once again ask the Parliamentary Party to throw their support behind their clear-sighted and not-at-all-ludicrous candidacies for the job of fucking up Brexit and everything associated with it in order to drag the corpse of the Tory Party a little bit further towards an inevitable General Election. Delusional optimism and naked ambition aside…. well, there’s not much left to cover, but we’ll try and drag this out for a few more pages so I don’t have to do any – actual – work before going home.
When we left them last week, the candidates had just emerged from the first round of Conservative MP’s votes and the ones who had cracked the magical 16+1 qualification score were:

Boris Johnson -114
Jeremy Hunt – 43
Michael Gove – 37
Dominic Raab – 27
Sajid Javid – 23
Matt Hancock – 20
Rory Stewart – 19

Andrea “Gaffetacular” Leadsom, Mark “Who? Why? Who again?” Harper and Esther “Black-Sheep of House Bolton” McVey were all dumped out for lack of popularity (look at my oh so very shocked face why don’t you), with Health Secretary and Yoof Outreach maestro Matt “Door” Hancock dropping out under his own steam a day later citing the need for a leader who could unite the Tory Party around the issues that Hancock felt were most important. Considering that Hancock had based his campaign on avoiding the self-inflicted mutilation of a No-Deal Brexit you would, of course, expect that he’d throw his support behind Stewart, or maybe to be more practical, Gove or Javid, but you would, of course, be quite wrong. Hancock immediately declared himself loyal to Boris the Brexiteer, proof, if needed, that the only thing more duplicitous and self-serving than a ‘One Nation Tory’ is a ‘One Nation Tory’ in a hurry to nail down his Cabinet job before the real fighting starts. Hancock’s 20 supporters were now up for grabs, and since very few of them would be expected to back one of the Brexit Uber Alles crowd they could provide a less overtly extremist candidate with some of the 33 votes needed to get through the next round of voting.
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Guest Post – ““Après May le Deluge”

I couldn’t resist adding the above tweet. Many thanks to BJackals Foreign Correspondent Tony Jay; the timing (2am GMT) is not ideal for him to respond immediately, but I wanted to give the maximum number of American readers time to enjoy it properly. (Also, who knows but that by tomorrow morning, there will need to be a *third* ETA… so: “The Tory Leadership Election 2019 – Sort of not-Brexit but really it is Edition”:

Hello everybody.

I recently had the very great pleasure of being lured to an abandoned Scout Hut just outside the picturesque town of Caernarfon where, for reasons I won’t go into without an opium pipe to hand, I found myself sans trousers and briefly suspended above a Welsh-Rite Satanist altar by a cunning arrangement of hooks and chains while a burly fellow in full horns-and-hooves regalia laboured away at my hairy showpiece with a length of bone-knotted horsetail and, while I was there, I thought, oh, this reminds me, I really must see if anyone at Balloon Juice would be interested in a guest-post about the current Tory Party leadership elections.

So, I did, and here it is.

Now, obviously, very few of you good people will have much of a clue who the various oddballs and grease-spots are jostling to succeed Robot/Zombie hybrid Theresa May as leader of both the Conservative and Unionist Party and (because the Tories made a post-2017 deal with the Orange-Sashed Shouting Party of White Protestant Shouty Extremism known as the DUP) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. With good reason. There’s far too many Democrats in the race to be revealed by the FTFNYT as History’s Greatest Monster to leave any cerebral room for remembering foreign politicians, many of whom are undoubtedly without a snowball’s chance in Guantanamo of getting anywhere near the shiny brass ring anyway, but, since I love to mock the evil and deluded, let’s give them all a gentle squeeze of encouragement and pop their clothes on the hook so we can have a quick butchers at what’s going on down there, eh?

First, a little run down of the actual electoral system the Tories are using to select their leader. In the past you only needed a couple of MPs backing you to get your name thrown into the hat, with prospective candidates being expected to self-audit their chances and take into account the frowny faces of Party grandees should they waste their valuable time with vanity bids, but since the last contest in 2016 they’ve concluded that so many Tory MPs are intemperate fame-whores that it would make more sense and be quicker all round if every nominee had to approach the contest with at least eight declared supporters. Don’t have that level of support? Sit the fuck down, loser.

It all starts with two rounds of voting amongst the MPs of the Parliamentary Party. After the first of these rounds candidates with fewer than 17 votes are eliminated, and after the second candidates with fewer than 33 votes are handed the revolver and a single bullet. At this point if all of the candidates have more than 33 votes (just about technically possible if highly unlikely) then the one with the least support is eliminated, and the votes continue with much behind the scenes horse-trading and back-stabbing with the one garnering the fewest votes from their fellow MPs being dropped each time. Once there’s only two candidates left in the running it’s handed over to the Tory Party membership for a month’s worth of postal voting as somewhere between 40 and 140 thousand clinically sociopathic reptiloids (no one knows the true number, or how many of them are actually alive as opposed to post-mortem bequests) get to foist a Prime Minister on the country without any input from the mere human cattle.

Democracy? Sovereignty? Fuck that, gimmee, gimmee, gimmee.

The race officially opened a couple of days ago but, of course, unofficial campaigning has been going on for weeks if not months, way pre-dating May’s official declaration of surrender. The BBC recently slipped out of its gimp-mask and furry restraints long enough to record what its political wing had revealed about their opinions. Roughly two/thirds of Tory MPs have stated their preferences, but as the Media’s political correspondents are always swift to remind viewers with a hearty laugh and a wink of admiration, Tory MPs are well known as being the most duplicitous, deceitful and downright untrustworthy electorate outside of the world of professional Boxing, so take everything with enough salt to repopulate Sodom.
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Guest Post: “India Decides – The Indian National Congress”

Following up on her earlier post, Schroedinger’s Cat:

The results of the 17th Loksabha elections are out. The Bharatiya Janaty Party (BJP) has won a comfortable majority on it own steam, 303 of a total of 545 seats. While the Indian National Congress(INC or just the Congress) ‘s haul was 52 seats. It was a clean sweep for the ruling party in the Hindi heartland and western India. Rahul Gandhi who led the INC in this election lost his seat in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh (UP). A seat he had held since 2004. Besides Rahul three other members of the Gandhi family have represented the Amethi consituency since 1980.

UP is the Hindi heart of India. Being the most populous state its sends the greatest number of representatives among all states to the Loksabha. This year the INC has won only one seat in Uttar Pradesh (UP) of a total of 80 and the BJP has won 62. That’s the entire story of these elections in a nutshell. Since what happens in UP determines political fortunes in India.

Rahul Gandhi made mistakes at both the tactical and at the strategic level. Instead of forming pre-poll coalitions to take on the ruling the party they fielded their own candidates in more than 400 constituencies. Most importantly, Rahul Gandhi ceded the ideological space to BJP by letting the Prime Minister Narendra Modi define the terms of the battle, whether it be national security or the place of minorities in the polity. Instead of taking the fight to the BJP, Congress ran away from the fight. This included maintaining a studied silence about the entire Pulwama incident, when it happened, not fielding enough Muslim candidates for the fear of being labeled pro-Muslim and even shying away from visiting Muslim majority areas to ask for their vote. Electorates rarely reward cowardice or incompetence.

So how did the party that led the independence struggle against the British rule and oversaw the establishment of the modern Indian state, its constitution and its institutions come to this sorry pass?…
(To be continued)

ETA:
The new government wants to stress learning Hindi, so before I go, check out this video which celebrates the linguistic diversity of India, another obstacle to the ultimate goal of the Hindu Rashtra where everyone speaks Hindi and is Hindu. I am so old that I remember when Unity in Diversity was India’s creed.

ETA2: They have walked it back, after a huge outcry from the southern states. I think they were just testing the waters. They will float this proposal again.

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(If you find this interesting, be sure to check out SC’s blog!)








European Elections Guest Post: “Red, Gold and Green banish the Blues?”

Since I always feel smarter after reading his comments, I asked Tony Jay if he could share some information with us:

So, I’m sitting there, early hours of Monday morning, chugging pints of home-brew and alternating between watching BBC One’s coverage of the European Election results unfolding in glorious bursts of multi-colour infotainment and posting increasingly incoherent comments about it here at the Jackal Pound. My phone reaches over and taps me on the shoulder. “You got a message”, it sez. Apparently, Anne-Laurie – who I can only presume was three days into a poppers and absinthe binge at this point – thought that asking me to do a guest post on Britain’s latest self-inflicted humiliation would be a swell idea. Clearly this is a mistake, and I apologise, but in the immortal words of one or more of the Rolling Stones, you can’t always get what you want, but sometimes, well, you get this nonsense instead.

First a little background to set the scene. You may or may not know that 2016 saw more than one episode of hostile Russian interference in the electoral systems of a western democracy. You good people were blessed with the constantly weeping pustule of venomous criminality known as President Donald J Trump, while we went one better by voting to leave the world’s largest alliance of advanced economies on the grounds that those blasted foreigners were holding us back, stealing our money and stopping us from getting it on with all of the sexy all of the time. Something like that anyway, the lying shitweasels behind the campaign to Leave scattered like pinstriped cockroaches the second the result of the vote came in and have been deliberately vague about the actual reasons for and tangible benefits of leaving the European Union ever since. We were supposed to Leave back at the end of March, but didn’t, because three years after the Referendum not a single person involved with negotiating Britain’s exit from the EU had been able to find a version of Brexit (fucking awful name, sounds like a breakfast cereal designed to soften painful stools) that doesn’t put a bullet through the head of the national economy and (much more importantly) leave them and their political party holding the bag when everything goes 28 Days Later.

Since we’re still in the EU and will be until Parliament agrees a Withdrawal Act (short version, not going to happen) or October 31st, when the current extension runs out, we’ve had to take part in elections to the European Parliament. Because this is modern Britain, and because the Government of the day is simultaneously woefully divided into rival factions and unified by an animus towards doing anything remotely helpful for anyone without a bank balance of 7 digits and above, only the very bare minimum of effort was put into organising the elections. The general feeling coming from the Government side was “If we pretend it’s not happening we don’t have to talk about it”, leaving the various factions and parties on either side of the Leave/Remain divide free to turn the whole exercise into a proxy Referendum on how the country feels about Brexit. Which I’m basically okay with. Britain’s European Elections have always been mind-numbingly dull affairs characterised by endless variations of the stock phrases. “Blah Blah defending Britain’s interests” and “Blah Blah working with our friends on the continent”. They never say what they actually intend to do as part of the EU, and no one much really cared. Even after the rise of UKIP and the injection of tabloid-fuelled Europhobia into the national psyche the only thing that really changed come election time was the addition of stock phrase three, “Blah Blah sending a message to Brussels” to the mix. With the forces of Leave resolutely opposed to asking the country if it thought, maybe, on reflection, that it would quite like to start unshitting the bed by choosing to Remain after all, then a proxy Referendum on that question would be better than nothing.

So, what happened?

Okay, first things first, the pundits and experts were very clear about what they though was going to happen. Endless vox-pops and opinion polls all agreed on a few salient facts.
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Guest Post: “India Decides”

Valued commentor Schroedinger’s Cat has pointed out that we shouldn’t be ignoring the current elections in India. And she’s quite right, but what I know best about that topic is how much I don’t know, so I asked if she’d like to share her own expertise.

Here’s Part I, also cross-posted on her eponymous blog:

5/23 Update: The Election Commission has started counting the votes and Modi seems to be headed for a second term.

*****

This is a brief primer to help you make sense of the main players on the Indian political scene. The Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People’s Party) is currently in power, its main opposition, is the Indian National Congress. Then there is a third mostly left of center grouping which calls itself Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) and advocates for the rights of Bahujans (common people, a short hand term for the alliance of Other Backward Castes and Dalits*).

The key to understanding Indian politics is caste, region and ideology, in that order. Most of the analyses I see in the western media and much of the English language media in India misses that point, by focusing solely on ideology and the two main parties. They also ignore India’s linguistic diversity, and regional politics which vary greatly. Most importantly, they ignore caste which plays roughly the same role that race plays in US politics.

In this post I will focus on the BJP and its leader, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

Bharatiya Janata Party: Is the party in power at the center (federal level) right now. It won an outright majority during the last Loksabha elections in 2014. It was the first time a party other than the Congress had managed this feat. The previous BJP Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee headed a coalition government.

Before 2014, Mr. Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. On the national stage he was credited with the economic growth the state had achieved and the 2002 pogrom against Muslims in Ahmedabad, precipitated by the events in Godhra.

Since his election in 2014, Mr. Modi’s government has delivered on the items on hard right agenda. Banning the slaughter of cows had been a long stated goal of the Hindutva hardliners. Twenty states out of twenty nine now have restrictions on the slaughter of cows. It may come as a surprise to many that majority of Hindus are not vegetarian and some even eat beef. These cattle slaughter bans have hit the poor and lower caste Hindus as well as Muslims the hardest. Roving bands of vigilantes who call themselves cow protectors have used these bans to intimidate and sometimes lynch people.
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