Monday, 23 November 2009

"Good Enough for The Party of Churchill"?

On Newsnight, they have never heard the term "flogging a dead horse". Nor did it occur to them that if Denis MacShane cared so much about "the honour of British politics", then he should have been called upon to withdraw his signature both from the Euston Manifesto (unrepentant old Stalinists and Trotskyists) and from the Henry Jackson Society (unrepentant old cheerleaders for apartheid South Africa and Pinochet’s Chile). These associations ill behove so important a campaigner both against prostitution and against indecency in the media.

Are Kaminski and the rest "good enough for the party of Churchill"? They are all far too good for it, far too good for him. In the Thirties, there were two British threats to constitutionality and, via Britain’s role in the world, to international stability. One came from an unreliable, opportunistic, highly affected and contrived, anti-Semitic, white supremacist, Eurofederalist demagogue who admired Mussolini, heaped praise on Hitler, had no need to work for a living, had an overwhelming sense of his own entitlement, profoundly hated democracy, and had a callous disregard for the lives of the lower orders and the lesser breeds. So did the other one. Far more than background united Churchill and Mosley, originator in English of the currently modish concept of a Union of the Mediterranean, of which the Turkish accession favoured by MacShane is an integral part.

In Great Contemporaries, published in 1937, two years after he had called Hitler’s achievements “among the most remarkable in the whole history of the world”, Churchill wrote that: “Those who have met Herr Hitler face to face in public business or on social terms have found a highly competent, cool, well-informed, functionary with an agreeable manner, a disarming smile, and few have been unaffected by a subtle personal magnetism.” That passage was not removed from the book’s reprint in 1941. In May 1940, Churchill had been all ready to give Gibraltar, Malta, Suez, Somaliland, Kenya and Uganda to Mussolini.

Churchill’s dedicated Zionism was precisely that of the BNP: he did not regard the Jews as British, so he wanted them to go away. The anti-British terrorists who went on to found the State of Israel agreed with him, very nearly coming to an understanding whereby Hitler would have expelled the Jews by sending them to British Palestine, which he and the Zionists would have conquered together for the purpose.

All sorts of things about Churchill are simply ignored. Gallipoli. The miners. The Suffragettes. The refusal to bomb the railway lines to Auschwitz. His dishonest and self-serving memoirs. Both the fact and the sheer scale of his 1945 defeat while the War in the Far East was still going on, when Labour won half of his newly divided seat, and an Independent did very well against him in the other half after Labour and the Liberals had disgracefully refused to field candidates against him. His deselection by his local Conservative Association just before he died. And not least, his carve-up of Eastern Europe with Stalin, so very reminiscent, like the Euston-Jackson alliance, of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

But we have not forgotten the truth about him in the old pit communities. Nor have they in the places that he signed away to Stalin, including the country for whose freedom the War was fought, making it a failure in its own terms. And including Latvia, where the Fatherland and Freedom Party deserves British allies with deep roots in the former mining communities, in the women’s suffrage movement, in the 1945 General Election victory, and elsewhere. We are unsullied by the weird cult of Winston Churchill. Instead, we can and do condemn his carve-up of Europe with Stalin.

Just as we condemn genocidal terrorism against Slavs and Balts no less than genocidal terrorism against Arabs, or the blowing up of British Jews going about their business as civil servants, or the photographed hanging of teenage British conscripts with barbed wire. Just as we condemn SS revivalism from Denmark and Flanders to Bosnia and Kosovo. And just as we condemn the neo-Nazi cesspit that was the 1980s Radical Right. Whatever happened to the 1980s Radical Right, Dave? Whatever happened to the 1980s Radical Right, Denis?

The Czech Civic Democrats deserve British allies like the trade unionists who have spent decades defending the high-waged, high-skilled, high-status jobs of the working class. Not for us the restriction of travel to the rich, or the arresting of economic development in the poorer parts of the world.

And the Polish Law and Justice Party, the party of Kaminski, deserves British allies like the Catholic and other Labour MPs, including John Smith, who fought tooth and nail against abortion and easier divorce. Like the Methodist and other Labour MPs, including John Smith, who fought tooth and nail against deregulated drinking and gambling. Like those, including John Smith, who successfully organised (especially through USDAW) against Thatcher’s and Major’s attempts to destroy the special character of Sunday and of Christmas Day, delivering the only Commons defeat of Thatcher’s Premiership. And like the trade unionists who battled to secure paternal authority in families and communities by securing its economic base in high-waged, high-skilled, high-status male employment, frequently marching behind banners that depicted Biblical scenes and characters.

They all deserve British allies like the Labour MPs who mostly voted against Heath’s Treaty of Rome, who all voted against Thatcher’s Single European Act, and who voted against Major’s Maastricht Treaty in far greater numbers than the Tories, including the only resignation from either front bench in order to do so. And they need those British allies in order to call them away from neoliberal economics and neoconservative foreign policy, both of which have in any case collapsed. Nothing could be more destructive of national self-government, or traditional family values, or the historical consciousness of a people. Cameron is completely signed up to both. As - alas, and contrary to his own important campaigning work - is MacShane.


  1. I was under the impression Labour voted against Maastricht because of the social chapter opt-out (which was probably used as an excuse so they could vote against it to try and bring down the Tories).

  2. No, that was just at the very end, as a procedural thing. They supported the Treaty itself, although three times as many Labour MPs as Tories broke the Whip and voted against it.

    Over forty also defied an instruction to abstain and voted against the European Finance Bill when the Whip was withdrawn from a handful of Tories for abstaining, with not one voting against. But no one remembers that now, either. Probably because, each for its own reasons, neither the right-wing media nor the BBC mentioned it at the time.