Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Priti Patel and the Authoritarian State

Yesterday we heard about the economic order politics, so now the crude matter of population management: Priti Patel's law and order pitch to the party faithful. She needed a boost if Conservative Home rankings are anything to go by. The darling of the Tories' animal passions, the refugee's daughter who likes nothing better than bashing refugees had to throw red meat to the baying conference floor. Unfortunately, she had no issue finding great slabs to satisfy their appetites. She has proved herself time and again to be the sort of grotesque they can't get enough of, and today's speech was no different.

The appalling case of Wayne Couzens (who she performatively referred to as 'the monster') had forced her into announcing an independent (note, not public) inquiry into the police. Whether its outcome is a whitewash or not, Sarah Everard's murder, the gruesome negligence surrounding the killing of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, and the outpouring of reports of institutional misogyny cannot simply be wished away. The police, particularly in London, are facing a crisis in confidence seldom seen in this country - and the Tories haven't got a clue how to handle it. The government has been forced into pleading with the public to trust the plod, while issuing much-lampooned advice about what to do if a copper acts suspiciously. But it does put the Tories in a real bind. As the self-styled party of muscular law and order, shocks to confidence in the police cannot play out well for them. Given the strength of feeling to the point when even sections of the Tory press are calling for reform, this simply isn't an issue that can be kicked into the long grass.

Patel must have felt relieved when she moved into the main part of her speech, the real comfort zone stuff. Harsher sentences for violent offenders! More powers for the police, despite backhandedly acknowledging the problems with existing police powers. But these are directed against unruly and bothersome protests, so that's okay then. Speaking of protests, if anything annoys Tories as much as "green crap", as a former leader put it, it's groups like Insulate Britain taking to the streets and demanding more green crap. Patel promised tough penalties for road and rail blocking and the picketing of printing presses. Where, after all, where would the Tories be without their institutional props? Patel and her party have an interest to declare.

The refugee bashing had to come. According to the Home Secretary, we can distinguish genuine from bogus asylum seekers by the methods employed to get to these shores. People making the perilous journey through the Middle East or across North Africa and the Mediterranean, traversing the hostile frontiers of fortress Europe and, at every step, risking life, limb, and liberty, these are de facto economic migrants. Because those genuinely fleeing persecution would endure the privations of an officially-sanctioned refugee camp until their number came up and the British government invites a handful of them here to come and settle here. Cynical and self-evident bastardry designed to do nothing more than coddle the racist core of the Tory vote for whom refugees mean brown people. The only thing they want extending to the wretched of the earth is a smiting mailed fist. Previously pestering the bottom of the ConHome popularity rankings, the promise of gratuitous violence will surely recover them before long.

No matter how Johnson spins his address, Sunak yesterday and Patel today have demonstrated the core preoccupations of the Tories, as if anyone needs reminding. The Chancellor talked over an assault of living standards and brutally reinforcing labour's dependence on capital, and Patel pledged to carry on tooling up in case anyone gets uppity. An example of joined-up thinking, Tory style. Authoritarian economics can only work if there is an authoritarian state to back them up.

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Anonymous said...

"Sarah Everard's murder, the gruesome negligence surrounding the killing of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, and the outpouring of reports of institutional misogyny cannot simply be wished away"

The authoritarian state will use this extremely terrible but extremely rare murder to further crack down on civil rights, aided and abetted by the woke hystericals.

The last thing that will happen is this being swept under the carpet! The media of the ruling class repeat the story almost everyday!

Anonymous said...

Wtf is a "woke hysterical!? Define your terms. The media story will, as ever, die a death in a few weeks (if not stimulated by another similar murder or rape) and it will be swept under the carpet, i.e. not the media furore, but the hope of anything constructive that actually addresses the deep misogyny in so many British institutions will be polished off with the veneer of an independent inquiry. Job done. Political party irrelevant, the process is the same.

Anonymous said...

Hysterical, as in sensationalising something extremely rare into something extremely common, and ever present and ubiquitous, for opportunistic political ends, which can only serve the interests of the authoritarian state.

The only thing ever present was the corporate medias fixation with the story!

Alan Greenspan put it succinctly, “by keeping them on the edge of anxiety and fear we can control them better”. Thanks woke hystericals!