Thursday, 14 April 2016

Bet The Farm

As a comment puts it:

In Britain we know the police and the army will be turned on us if we take a moment off from our slave jobs to complain about anything. After 900 years or so of that, it was different between 1945 and 1979.

That was all we got, 34 years, then things went back to normal. They are definitely back to normal now, a land of cowed peasants terrified of saying anything no matter how crooked and cruel the Prime Minister is.


It is possible to see three epochs, from 1066 to 1945, from 1945 to 1979, and from 1979 onwards. Unless arrested in 2020, there is no reason why the accelerated regression inherent in the third epoch need ever end.

The return of outright feudalism, albeit called something else, already looks more than probable within 50 years. Expect things like workhouses well within 20 years, and possibly 10.

Still, as another comment puts it, in relation to Jeremy Corbyn's speech today:

But do I read this correctly, you think the Left should just bypass the party machine and negotiate our own representation in the new broadcasting and educational arrangements?

The anti-Cameron Right has bet the farm on withdrawal from the EU, which is extremely unlikely to happen after today.

As a populist force the ostensibly anti-Establishment Right will be finished. Who will that leave? We all know the answer to that.

And the Tories would give us those broadcasting board and school governor seats, but they would never have given them to Ukip or their own right wing.


  1. Too modest to include the bits where I said you were a genius. Anyway do you agree that Jeremy's wobble over the EU and earlier things like the Shadow Cabinet appointments are good reasons to maximise the Respect vote in London?

    1. The list vote, yes, and the first preference vote for George. Labour is in any case going to do very well in the constituencies.

      Elsewhere, the way to back Jeremy against the people who have forced his hand in these instances is to vote for the Labour list in Scotland, to cast either or both votes for Labour in Wales, and to vote Labour at the English local elections, including the Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

      If Britain is still participating in European Elections by 2019, then the Lexit movement that has taken shape this year needs to have its act together in order to present a single, full list in every region, so that we could vote, since we should have to, for the reform of the EU in a leftward direction.

      Good luck with that, but at least we need the option to express a clear preference for it. As you correctly said in the comment that I reproduced here, UKIP and the Brexit Right would be finished if there had been a vote this year to stay in the EU.

    2. You should be at the top of that list in the North East, I've never been more serious about anything in my life.

  2. "In Britain we know the police and the army will be turned on us if we take a moment off from our slave jobs to complain about anything. After 900 years or so of that, it was different between 1945 and 1979."

    Illiterate Marxist twaddle.

    The stuff of social-worker comic history books.

    As Paul Addison noted in 'The Road to 1945' Britain's social services were already the most advanced in the world in 1939, after eight years of Tory/National government.

    The rest of Europe was under fascist or communist military dictatorship in living memory while we were a free law-governed democracy.

    1. Tell them in Tonypandy. Among numerous other places. Ask them about the "advanced" 1920s and 1930s.

      And ask yourself why the Tories lost the 1945 Election at all, never mind quite as badly as they did, if what you are saying had even the tiniest grain of truth in it.

      Those communities did not learn these things out of a book. Ask them about the "free, law-governed democracy" that was imposed on them in the 1980s, echoing and repeating their experience of that same "free, law-governed democracy" a couple of generations before.

      It is the Tory (really, the Whig) version of history that is illiterate twaddle, and the stuff of comic books. Although not of very funny comic books.

    2. Onwards to 2020, when they are the Enemy Within. Let them feel what it is like. They got the tiniest taste of it when the police decided to police the Countryside March and they have been whining on about it ever since. They have seen nothing yet.

    3. Quite. I am not aware of any deaths as a result of the Countryside March. Whereas there have been huge numbers of deaths from the injuries sustained during the Miners' Strike and other occurrences of the Thatcher years, and huge numbers of people are still living with injuries and illnesses resulting from those events.

    4. Here's one that'll interest you, why are there no positive cultural depictions of Thatcher or Thatcherism? The 80s produced plenty of material and they still come up all the time, books or films set in the 80s and so on. But never anything remotely positive about the government of the day, the iconic PM or her signature policies on things like council house sales, mass share ownership and "breaking the power of the unions."

    5. I have sometimes noticed that. But then, nor is there anything, anything at all, in the cultural patrimony about the alleged prosperity and the supposedly advanced social provisions of the Britain of the 1930s. Anyone would think that those things had never really existed.

      Unlike us, it is not as if the Right has few or no resources at its disposal. For example, when it whinges about the BBC's and the Channel Four network's programming, as of course we all do from time to time, then ask it why its own preferred productions are absent from ITV and Sky.

  3. As George Orwell wrote in 1945:""The gentleness of the English civilization is perhaps its most marked characteristic. You notice it the instant you set foot on English soil. It is a land where the bus conductors are good-tempered and the policemen carry no revolvers.

    The power-worship which is the new religion of Europe, and which has infected the English intelligentsia, has never touched the common people. They have never caught up with power politics. The ‘realism’ which is preached in Japanese and Italian newspapers would horrify them.

    In peace time, even when there are two million unemployed, it is difficult to fill the ranks of the tiny standing army, which is officered by the country gentry and a specialized stratum of the middle class, and manned by farm labourers and slum proletarians.

    The mass of the people are without military knowledge or tradition, and their attitude towards war is invariably defensive.

    No politician could rise to power by promising them conquests or military ‘glory’, no Hymn of Hate has ever made any appeal to them. In the last war the songs which the soldiers made up and sang of their own accord were not vengeful but humorous and mock-defeatist(1). The only enemy they ever named was the sergeant-major.

    The patriotism of the common people is not vocal or even conscious. They do not retain among their historical memories the name of a single military victory. English literature, like other literatures, is full of battle-poems, but it is worth noticing that the ones that have won for themselves a kind of popularity are always a tale of disasters and retreats.

    There is no popular poem about Trafalgar or Waterloo, for instance.

    Sir John Moore's army at Corunna, fighting a desperate rearguard action before escaping overseas (just like Dunkirk!) has more appeal than a brilliant victory. The most stirring battle-poem in English is about a brigade of cavalry which charged in the wrong direction.

    And of the last war, the four names which have really engraved themselves on the popular memory are Mons, Ypres, Gallipoli and Passchendaele, every time a disaster.

    The names of the great battles that finally broke the German armies are simply unknown to the general public.""

    It's a beautiful essay by a socialist on what Britain was really like before the Left got their hands on it.

    The most free and peaceful law-governed civilisation on Earth.

    1. That is how the world seems to Old Etonians, I suppose. No wonder that they react so viciously at the rare intrusions of reality.

      Orwell, although he has his moments, is very overrated. People like him because they did one or other of his two most popular middlebrow novels when they were 14 or so, which is about the right age of audience for them. I never did either of them at school, although I have put myself through them since, because I was in the top set for English.

      Look how easily the likes of Nick Cohen, David Aaronovitch, Christopher Hitchens and Johann Hari set themselves up as the Heirs to Orwell. That says it all.

    2. Meow. When Harper Lee died you said you had never read To Kill a Mockingbird because you had been reading Shakespeare at that age. Something about middle sets, wasn't it? Meow.

  4. You're not tempted to vote In to hasten the death of the Right, then?

    1. Some things are still more important.

  5. You should go easy on Paul Addison, you are not averse to a bit of your own revisionism by a freelance writer who has managed to wangle a university staff library card. I know your stuff is factually correct and his isn't, but even so.

    1. If he is still alive (and his book is 22 years old), then he ought to come and defend his thesis at the Durham Miners' Gala. "You ghaaastly little oiks ought to have been gwateful!" It would be hysterical.

  6. The historians I quoted last were David Edgerton, Jim Tomlinson, Charles Websiter and Sidney Pollard, not Paul Addison.

    Mr Lindsay hasn't posted the facts I just put up, because they demolished the comical nonsense he put on this thread.

    Not a single new hospital was built in the 1940's. Britain didn't spend significantly more on social services after 1948, than she had in 1939.

    Welfare spending and Local Authority house-building were both higher in 1939, than in the 1940's.

    There was an overall collapse in spending on in public services and infrastructure in the 1940's, with much of it spent on rebuilding what had been lost during the war year.

    It took till the 1950's to get back to what was already being done by the Tory/National Government of 1939.

    See below.

    1. They would be very welcome, I'm sure, to come and try and argue all of this. Or even any of it. Purely for the comedy value.

      Why is there no cultural memory of this Inter-War paradise? Not a play, not a novel, not a film, not a thing. Not one. Like the alleged achievements of Thatcherism, in fact.

      And why did the Tories lose the 1945 Election so heavily? Why did they lose the 1945 Election at all?

  7. We don't have right-wing intellectuals in Britain, and the Right can't complain about that because to do so would be to demand that Britain became more like the Continent, especially France.

    1. Yes, that is true. But even so, one might have expected some allusion, somewhere. Oh, well, Thatcherism was never going to produce art, was it? Any more than Blairism was.

      Whereas some kind of competition to put on a television drama and a television documentary, judged by Roger Scruton, Phillip Blond, Peter Oborne, Peter Hitchens, and so on? Though I say so myself, that is not a bad idea. Not a bad idea at all.