Sunday, 31 July 2022
31 years in, and the bloody disintegration of Yugoslavia continues apace. We must not be dragged back into this, just as we must not be dragged any further into the war in Ukraine, and must extricate ourselves from it. That is before we even start to think about Taiwan.
The people who are trying to unseat Pope Francis are not concerned about the idol of Pachamama. They approve of that sort of thing. Rather, they have gone off him because he is not enough of a liberal for them, and therefore not enough of a hawk; not enough of a Biden, Truss, Starmer, Macron, or Pelosi. He has made that clear over Ukraine, and he would make it clear over Taiwan. That is the best thing about him. Other things may wait on God's good time.
In time for the World Cup in Qatar, the Lionesses should identify as men. George I, George II, George III, George IV, William IV, Queen Victoria, Edward VII, George V until 1917, and all four sisters of the late Duke of Edinburgh, your girls took one hell of a beating.
But dead relatives are the least of the Royal Family's worries. There is Prince Charles's fundraising, such as would have led to anyone else's imprisonment, after Qatar again, although when it comes to the Gulf tyrannies, then he is the least of our worries. There is Prince William's having been brought down a peg or two. Much more of this, and there might very well be a republic when the Queen died.
Yet we know who wins elections in Britain, and we know who does not. Who do you think would win a British Presidential Election? Jeremy Corbyn? Nor would a British republic be less corrupt, any more than it would be classless. Less corrupt like which existing republic, exactly? Classless like which existing republic, exactly?
The republican and the monarchist cases are both rubbish in their own respective terms, but the monarchy is what we have, so we should make the best of it by seeking to exercise the Royal Prerogative in the cause of economic equality and international peace. The whole of the Royal Prerogative, that is. The Deep State would fight us to the death. That death must be its own.
Peter Hitchens writes:
Today I need to defend a person I do not much like. I will explain why I do not like him in a moment, but that is not the important bit.
What matters is this: if the Government can just reach out and ruin a man’s life, without any need of a fair hearing or a guilty verdict, then we do not live in a free country. This is what has just happened to the video blogger Graham Phillips.
The danger is that, because Mr Phillips is so hard to like, the Government will get away with it. And then, when it uses the same powers on somebody else, it will be too late to protest.
As the great US Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter once said: ‘The safeguards of liberty have frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people.’
Some of Mr Phillips’s activities have been questionable, though he firmly denies many of the charges against him. For me, his worst action was his cruel and stupid questioning of a badly wounded Ukrainian prisoner of war.
Others have condemned his interview of Aiden Aslin, a British citizen who had been fighting with Ukrainian armed forces and was captured by the Russians. It has been suggested that the interview was a breach of the Geneva Conventions. Mr Phillips, contacted in Lugansk, says Mr Aslin asked for the interview himself, has never complained, and has given several other interviews since.
Be that as it may, last week Mr Phillips was placed on the UK Government’s sanctions list. The Foreign Office, which is in charge of this process, no longer answers the phone, and replies only once to emails, with bland official statements, so I do not have some of the details that I would like to have.
But as far as I know, he is the first British citizen to be treated in this way. His assets have been frozen. His bank accounts are blocked. He also cannot pay those to whom he owes money.
For example, his home insurance has now been cancelled because his insurers are forbidden to accept his premiums. All his bills will now bounce, the utilities at his London home will soon be cut off. He cannot even pay his council tax. He will face incessant claims for debts, which he can do nothing about.
As he says: ‘How can I pay these debts when I don’t have access to funds? If it goes to court, how can I defend myself when I won’t be able to pay for legal representation? Actually, how will I even find the money to travel to the court without money, or even feed myself?’
Franz Kafka, the great Czech author of The Trial, a classic about oppression, could not have invented a legal mantrap as inescapable as this. Leading British lawyers have accurately described the objects of this action as ‘prisoners of the state’. Very well, you may say, this is how we must act against money-launderers and terrorists abroad.
You might equally well say that such powers could be used against officials of the Russian government, or officers in the Syrian Army. And if you look at the list of people treated in this way under the Sanctions and Money Laundering Act of 2018, that is who you will find.
Of course, none of these people is a former UK civil servant with a British passport, as Mr Phillips is. As long as they stay out of our reach, the sanctions are just an inconvenience to most of those placed under them. But for Mr Phillips, they mean actual ruin.
Whatever you think of him, is this a proper use of state power? Is it allowed by Magna Carta or the Bill of Rights, let alone by the ‘human rights’ the Foreign Office claims to be so fond of?
The official declaration says Mr Phillips is being sanctioned because he is ‘a video blogger who has produced and published media content that supports and promotes actions and policies which destabilise Ukraine and undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty, or independence of Ukraine’.
Well, so what? None of these actions is or ought to be a crime under British law. These are catch-all charges, of the sort Stalin used in his show trials in the 1930s. Any protest against or criticism of a foreign state (or our own) could be said to do these things.
Lots of us have pretty critical views of the way various foreign countries behave, and of our own government. Britain is not, in fact, at war with Russia. So there is no legal duty on any of us to support that war or refrain from saying things which upset the Kiev government.
This is the dictatorial use of arbitrary power by the State against an individual it does not like. It is a straightforward outrage against the rule of law. If the Government gets away with it, who will be next? If we do not protest against it now, and stop it, then we should shut up forever about being a free country or fighting for freedom elsewhere.
Kenan Malik writes:
“We rented a garret, for which we paid (I think) 25s a year, bought a few second-hand forms and desks, borrowed a few chairs from the people in the house, bought a shilling’s worth of coals… and started our college.” So remembered Joseph Greenwood, a cloth cutter in a West Yorkshire mill, about how, in 1860, he helped set up Culloden College, one of hundreds of working-class mutual improvement societies in 19th-century Britain.
“We had no men of position or education connected with us,” he added, “but several of the students who had made special study of some particular subject were appointed teachers, so that the teacher of one class might be a pupil in another.” Greenwood’s story is one of many told by Jonathan Rose in his classic The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes, a magnificent history of the struggles of working people to educate themselves, from early autodidactism to the Workers’ Educational Association.
For those within this tradition the significance of education was not simply in providing the means to a better job but in allowing for new ways of thinking. “Books to me became symbols of social revolution,” observed James Clunie, a house painter who became the Labour MP for Dunfermline in the 1950s. “The miner was no longer the ‘hewer of wood and the drawer of water’ but became… a leader in his own right, advocate, writer, the equal of men.”
By the time that Rose published his book in 2001, that tradition had largely ebbed away. And, in the two decades since, so has the sense of education as a means of expanding one’s mind. Last week, Roehampton University, in south-west London, confirmed that it is going to fire and rehire half its academic workforce and sack at least 65. Nineteen courses, including classics and anthropology, are likely to be closed. It wants to concentrate more on “career-focused” learning.
It is the latest in a series of cuts to the humanities made by British universities, from history and languages at Aston to English literature at Sheffield Hallam. These cuts mark a transformation in the role of universities that is rooted in three trends: the introduction of the market into higher education; a view of students as consumers; and an instrumental attitude to knowledge.
The 1963 Robbins report into British higher education argued for expansion of universities on the grounds that learning was a good in itself. “The search for truth is an essential function of the institutions of higher education,” it observed, “and the process of education is itself most vital when it partakes in the nature of discovery.”
The 2010 Browne report on the funding of higher education took a very different approach, viewing the significance of universities as primarily economic. “Higher education matters,” it insisted, because it allows students to find employment with “higher wages and better job satisfaction” and “helps produce economic growth”.
The utilitarian view of education is often presented as a means of advancing working-class students by training them for the job market. What it actually does is tell working-class students to study whatever best fits them for their station in life. So, philosophy, history and literature increasingly become the playthings of the rich and privileged.
There is another way, too, in which the relationship between the working class and education has changed. A report last week from the thinktank the IPPR revealed the paucity of diversity among MPs, a subject of much debate recently.
The IPPR says there is a 5% “representation gap” on ethnicity – 10% of MPs have a minority background compared to 15% of the general populace. For women, the gap between prevalence in the population and in parliament is 17% and for the working class it is 27%.
The biggest gap, however, comes with education – 86% of MPs have been to university compared to 34% of the population at large. The cleavage between voters and those who govern them is expressed through the class divide but even more so through the education gap.
The proportion of women and minority MPs has increased over the past 30 years while that of working-class MPs has fallen dramatically. In the 1987-92 parliament, 28% of Labour MPs had a manufacturing, manual or unskilled job before entering parliament. By 2010, that was 10%, rising to 13% for the 2019 intake. For Tories, unsurprisingly, the figure was consistently below 5% and fell to just 1% in 2019.
Part of the reason for the decline in working-class MPs is that the institutions that gave workers a public platform, in particular trade unions, have waned. The RMT’s Mick Lynch, and his success in defending workers’ rights, has caught the public imagination. Fifty years ago, there were many Mick Lynches because the working class was more central to political life.
At the same time, education has become a marker of social difference in a novel way. As western societies have become more technocratic, so there has developed, in the words of the political scientist David Runciman, “a new class of experts, for whom education is a prerequisite of entry into the elite” – bankers, lawyers, doctors, civil servants, pundits, academics.
The real educational divide is not “between knowledge and ignorance” but “a clash between one world view and another”. So, education has become a marker of the Brexit divide. All this has led some to claim education, not class, is Britain’s real political divide. It isn’t. Education is, rather, both one of the most significant expressions of the class divide and a means of obscuring it.
“If there is one man in the world who needs knowledge,” wrote the Durham collier Jack Lawson in 1932, “it is he who does the world’s most needful work and gets the least return.” That is as true today as it was 90 years ago.
Saturday, 30 July 2022
Look at the profiteering of the likes of Centrica, and remind yourself that you will not be receiving an energy discount. Rather, a part of your bill will be paid to a private energy company by the State. Public ownership could not possibly be worse than this racket, and renationalisation could not possibly be any more expensive than the arrangements that we all know are being created in perpetuity.
Moreover, if the money can be found for those, then it can also be found to right the injustice of the Mineworkers' Pension Scheme, a Scheme that would be revitalised if we moved, as a State, to an all-of-the-above energy policy, providing vast numbers of good jobs to bathe this country in heat and light at minimal cost to the consumer.
China hawks, ask yourselves whether they are quaking in their boots at the thought of Nancy Pelosi or Liz Truss. At the Closing Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, count how many countries are on the Belt and Road. The real world is the real world.
Whatever the deficiencies of the present Pontificate, the view of all the worst people is that Pope Francis has proved insufficiently hawkish on Ukraine, meaning that he would also be insufficiently hawkish on Taiwan. The Holy See is in line for a liberal-imperialist regime change.
John Redwood long ago pretty much recanted his vote in favour of the Iraq War, and he abstained both on Libya and on Syria, so there are worse. But floating him as a potential Chancellor of the Exchequer is Liz Truss's declaration that she does not expect to be the last Prime Minister in this Parliament. Gently or otherwise, such a Government would be moved on in a year or so.
Whatever "woke" is, then Truss is it. She is the Minister for Women and Equalities, a position that can be filled only by the "woke". Keir Starmer abolished the position of Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights, because to whom might he have offered it? So it is with the Minister for Women and Equalities. Tony Blair invented the job for Harriet Harman, who had it on the first day of his Premiership and on the last day of Gordon Brown's. What more is there to say?
Except that that has been Truss's Premiership apprenticeship, along with two years as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs while a Nicodemean disciple of Patrick Minford, who believes that Britain should have no agriculture. Truss will be the second Prime Minister to have held a portfolio that had been created purely in order to facilitate Harmanisation. They will both have been Conservatives, and Truss will enter 10 Downing Street straight from that job. She may even retain it.
But Truss will give the Conservative Party membership what it really wanted, tax cuts for the affluent elderly while funding their sweeties out of borrowing, leading to astronomical interest rates to the benefit of savings account holders who had paid off their mortgages decades earlier. Right in the midst of an preexisting cost of living crisis. Oh, yes, there will be another coup about a year after Truss had become Prime Minister. And she knows it.
Some of us would have been content for Benedict to have outlived Francis. But succeed him, and that in Francis's lifetime?
Rather than the war hawk that those who were seeking to topple Francis obviously wanted, dare we hope? And would Benedict have to take a different name and number the second time?
All this, and Boris Johnson's supporters going to court, Jimmy Dore and Donald Trump both heading for the ballot in 2024, and Jeremy Corbyn on course to be Mayor of London if he wanted to be.
No fat lady has sung yet.
Friday, 29 July 2022
26 Lords Spiritual, three reserved seats for Liberal Democrat hereditary peers, and two for Labour ones, mean that at least 31 seats in our legislature are set aside for institutions or organisations that deny the fact of biological sex. Arguably, the 42 seats that are reserved for Conservative hereditary peers take that figure up to 73. Yet most hereditary peerages cannot be inherited by women, and Section 16 the Gender Recognition Act specifically provides that the acquisition of a new gender under that Act "does not affect the descent of any peerage or dignity or title of honour".
Moreover, in 2015, when the Church of England decided to have women bishops in order to retain its parliamentary seats, then it was resolved that the seniority principle would be suspended until 2025, such that every woman appointed as a diocesan bishop would automatically be appointed as a Lord Spiritual at the next vacancy. A brief wait would instead have enabled half the male bishops to have self-identified as women. Their immutable biological sex would have been what had mattered to traditional Anglo-Catholics and to Conservative Evangelicals, neither of whom are in any case particularly numerous in the Church of England, and all the trouble would presumably have been averted.
What a thing it is to have the Magisterium. If not the next tranche of our own bishops, then the one after that, will be dominated by Soft Left soft traditionalists who will need those of who had been conceived to be prophets rather than kings to hold unflinchingly to Catholic orthodoxy as the only sure foundation of the struggle for economic equality and for international peace, and to that struggle as the praxis of that orthodoxy in the midst of everything the birth pangs of which we are experiencing as the death throes of the present age.
To be a theological liberal is to be a political liberal, and thus trapped in everything that is collapsing around our ears. It is to be a Catholicised Biden rather than a Catholicised Sanders, a Catholicised Starmer rather than a Catholicised Corbyn, a Catholicised Macron rather than a Catholicised Mélenchon. That way lies Fascism. In the second round of the recent French parliamentary elections, where supporters of Emmanuel Macron had been eliminated in the first round, then a mere 16 per cent of their voters switched to the candidates endorsed by Jean-Luc Mélenchon. 72 per cent abstained rather than vote against the partisans of Marine Le Pen, while another 12 per cent voted for them.
It therefore came as no surprise when Macron's supporters gave two of the six Vice-Presidencies of the National Assembly to Le Pen's. In my day, and no doubt still, A-level History students used to have to unlearn the GCSE fiction that Nazism had been a working-class phenomenon. Nor is Fascism a product of traditional conservatism, whatever alliances it may forge, or whatever symbolism it may adopt. Rather, the liberal bourgeoisie keeps Fascism in reserve for when it might ever face any serious demand to share its economic or social power with anyone who did not have it before the rise of the bourgeois liberal order, or to share its cultural or political power with anyone at all. Consider the growing authoritarianism of Justin Trudeau's Canada. Consider the tendencies of Joe Biden and Liz Truss. Consider the records of Kamala Harris and Keir Starmer. Consider to whom and to what Mario Draghi looks set to cede. Such is the Franco-American republican tradition that arose from the international transmission of English Whiggery through the Masonic Lodges.
As in the Church, so on the Left. The Corbyn Project has bifurcated, and the authorised public voice is that of those who would compromise with the European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the World Trade Organisation, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the anti-industrial Malthusianism and misanthropy of the Green agenda, the treatment of identity politics as equal or superior to class politics, the treatment of gender identity as equal or superior to biological sex, the cancel culture of which our people have always been the principal victims, the erosion of civil liberties, the stupefaction of the workers and the youth, the indulgence of separatist tendencies in parts of Great Britain, and the failure to recognise that a sovereign state with its own free floating, fiat currency had as much of that currency as it chose to issue to itself, with readily available fiscal and monetary means of controlling any inflationary effect, means that therefore needed to be under democratic political control.
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, who is a true heroine of the fight against the hoax and scam that has been exposed by the Forde Report, remains a candidate for the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party, and she remains one of the five candidates who are endorsed by the Campaign for Socialism, Jewish Voice for Labour, Kashmiris for Labour, Labour Assembly Against Austerity, Labour Black Socialists, Labour Briefing (Co-op), Labour CND, the Labour Representation Committee, Labour Women Leading, Northern England Labour Left, Red Labour, Welsh Labour Grassroots, and the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy. However, unlike the other four, she is no longer endorsed by Momentum, because she will not subscribe to gender self-identification. Expect a lot more of this.
Feelings are real, but they are not facts. As poverty of aspiration is a real feeling, but it is economic inequality that is a fact, so gender identity is a real feeling, but it is biological sex that is a fact. Those who failed to hold the first line, but who instead followed Marxism Today in whoring after Neil Kinnock and Tony Blair, are now unable to hold the second line, either. And those who are failing to hold the second line will be unable to hold the first, no matter how devoted they might have been to the person or cause of Jeremy Corbyn.
Without a robust material realism, there can be no pursuit of economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, led by those who suffered most as a result of economic inequality, namely the working class, and led by those who suffered most as a result of international conflict, namely the working class and the youth. Yet most of the Left has succumbed to gender self-identification, which is a flat denial of even the most blatantly obvious material reality. Demonstrably, then, dialectical materialism has failed to provide that robust basis. Nor, in itself, can natural science, which cannot prove the ontological existence of material reality, but rather presupposes it and works from there.
What is needed is Thomism, which by definition exists within the wider Augustinian tradition. Fundamental to both is absolute fidelity to the Roman Magisterium, which is itself irrevocably committed to the Thomist metaphysical system, within which its own indispensable role precludes any degeneration comparable to that of the ancestrally Marxian Left into gender self-identification. Philosophy needs the Rock of the Petrine Office no less than Theology does. Just as there can be no meaningful claim to be pro-life without an active commitment to economic equality and to international peace, so there can be no such commitment without material realism. There can be no secure material realism, nor, therefore, any science, without Thomism. And there can be no Thomism without the Roman Obedience, which one adopts either entirely and at whatever cost, or not at all.
Applied to the present and future situations, this has implications that are vastly more egalitarian economically, vastly more pacific internationally, and vastly more democratic politically, than anything that Marxism could ever devise, much less deliver. This is not to build the house from the roof down. Fidelity to the Magisterium requires Thomism, which entails material realism, which compels a critique of the present and future economic and geopolitical order such as leads inexorably to the pursuit of equality and peace through democracy.
Be in no doubt that we are the future, one way or another. 50 years' time is the very latest that I might remotely realistically be alive. Here in Britain, for example, either we shall have won by then, or we shall have been driven underground or into exile, those of us who were not in prison or martyred. And 50 years after that, and 50 years after that again, and so on until we had prevailed.
I have never been a fan of Boris Johnson's, and in that spirit I would like to congratulate the Deep State on having produced three far worse candidates for Prime Minister.
Whatever any of them may say now, Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak or Keir Starmer would realign Britain with the European Single Market and the Customs Union, which would be the only thing even worse than being back in them and thus at least having some small say over them. That would render impossible any sort of levelling up, which in any case none of them would ever consider pursuing.
Sunak is perhaps the least bad, but that is saying very little, indeed. Johnson remains the preferred Leader of at least the largest bloc of Conservative Party members, just as Jeremy Corbyn remains the preferred Leader of the outright majority of Labour Party members.
If either of them were to set up a new party, then it would have very few MPs, possibly as few as one, but it would have a large and highly committed membership going into the next General Election. It is not in dispute that Corbyn would win the London Mayoralty by a mile.
Thursday, 28 July 2022
They are both rubbish, of course. But Liz Truss is still doing that thing where she goes on about how the awfulness of her state education under the Tories made her a Tory. It is very, very odd. Mind you, so is she. She is probably going to win, but I give her a year.
I am the last person to defend the right-wing Labour machine in local government, but if you think that there is blame to be allocated here, then do not try and allocate it to the council. Councils have had very little role in education since 1988, when Truss was 13.
She went to school entirely under a Conservative Government, and mostly under Margaret Thatcher, who centralised the state curriculum, and for whom the seat in question, Leeds North East, never missed an opportunity to vote. Yet now Truss dresses up as Thatcher in order tell people how her sartorial idol's policies ruined the lives of everyone else at the comfortable, suburban school that sent her to Oxford.
The alternative is Rishi Sunak, who thinks that it is possible for people on middle incomes to scrimp and save enough to raise the fees for Winchester. Yet we are quite possibly going to get him before the end of this Parliament. We are practically certain to get him eventually. It has been planned since he was a schoolboy.
No Labour frontbencher has ever been disciplined for having crossed a picket line. Across all parties, and whether in Government or in Opposition, the supposed requirement of neutrality in industrial disputes only ever applies to the workers' side, and is thus in fact a taking of the other, which is the stronger, side.
Keir Starmer himself has recently and rightly stood on picket lines, but they were UCU ones, and while the UCU is also not affiliated to the Labour Party, it is safely middle-class, unlike the RMT. ASLEF and others coming down the line, such as the CWU and my union, Unite, are indeed affiliated to the Labour Party. But for how much longer? The day that a frontbencher was sacked for having stood on one of their picket lines, then all hell would break loose, and not before time.
You can now be sacked from the Labour front bench for saying that workers ought not to accept a real terms pay cut. Only the trade unions fund a political party in order for it to abuse them.
The people who fund the Conservative Party get what they want or they would not pay. They are paymasters, indeed.
The same goes for the handful of London legal moneybags who bankroll Keir Starmer, although they must presumably want things only within the Labour Party rather than in the country or in the world.
But no Labour Government has ever supported the unions, and the only Labour Leader ever really to have done so even in Opposition has been Jeremy Corbyn.
The ongoing destitution of the old industrial areas, especially the coalfields, is the only evidence that Neil Kinnock ever existed. Into this century, I was on strike against the last Labour Government.
It seems that breaking point is finally being reached. Roll on this year's Labour Party Conference. In Liverpool.
Wednesday, 27 July 2022
This and this still stand. At least one of my persecutors has been completely discredited by the Forde Report. Another one seems to have been made to disappear by the Church. By contrast, I am already an active candidate for the next General Election.
The only people who even pretend to believe that I am guilty are the same individuals who let Keir Starmer off.
Every Defence brief should now be arguing that jurors could only trust any Police investigation if they believed that Starmer was innocent. At Crown Court, then no one would ever be convicted of anything.
The latest Private Eye is shilling furiously for Starmer. That says all that needs to be said about each and both of them.
Father Dermott Donnelly's Requiem Mass will be livestreamed at Saint Mary's, Blackhill on Friday. The church will be open from 11:30.
It is no disrespect to anyone to say that having your Cathedral funeral livestreamed to two large churches is not something that you would get for having been someone's brother.
The sacking of Sam Tarry is your daily confirmation that the Labour Party has a death wish. Even only a few losses to abstention would be enough to cost it many seats or the chance of regaining many more.
The kind of people who would have objected to what Tarry had done would never have voted Labour in a million years. Well, apart from the couple of thousand or so, if that, who were Labour MPs, Labour MPs' staffers, Labour Party staffers, and associated policy wonks.
Again, though, those people have to vote Labour. They are the only people who do. They are on course to be the only people who did.
Another Trade Union Act? They have just had one. They are admitting their own failure, as indeed what they have already seen as the need of any further legislation after Margaret Thatcher has been their admission of her failure in her own terms.
Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are both committed to banning strikes altogether, and nothing else was ever going to do. That would be what yet another Act would have to say, and while it may go through the motions of voting against it, although do not bet on that, the Labour Party would have no policy of repealing it.
Of course people are still voting to strike despite its having been made enormously difficult. It is not some wild militancy for a trade union to fight for its members' pay to keep pace with price inflation, and that in companies that were both hugely profitable and heavily subsidised.
Employees of those companies are having to claim Universal Credit. How is that at all acceptable? Since their wages have not been going up, then that cannot be the cause of inflation. It must be something else.
Why should Eddie Dempsey not live in a council flat? In the words of Aneurin Bevan, "It is entirely undesirable that on modern housing estates only one type of citizen should live. If we are to enable citizens to lead a full life, if they are each to be aware of the problems of their neighbours, then they should all be drawn from different sectors of the community. We should try to introduce what was always the lovely feature of English and Welsh villages, where the doctor, the grocer, the butcher and the farm labourer all lived in the same street."
Bevan was as successful in this as he was in delivering universal healthcare free at the point of need. In 1979, two fifths of people lived in council housing, an impossible figure for a mere "safety net for the poor". Public provision, by definition, never is such a net. Not the NHS, not state education, not public transport, none of it.
As recently as 1980, what is now a breathtaking 20 per cent of the richest tenth of the population lived in social housing. Now, after three decades of selling off the stock and of not building any more, the stringent criteria for new tenants effectively guarantee a large number of single mothers of dependent children who are thus unable to work full-time, if at all, and of people newly released from prison or newly discharged from psychiatric institutions.
Margaret Thatcher's assault on council housing is the one thing that her supporters still feel able to defend unconditionally. But in reality, it created the Housing Benefit racket, and it used the gigantic gifting of capital assets by the State to enable the beneficiaries to enter the property market ahead of private tenants, or of people still living at home, who in either case had saved for their deposits. What, exactly, was or is conservative or Tory about that? Or about moving in the characters from Shameless either alongside, or even in place of, the respectable working class?
We need a minimum of 100,000 new homes every year for at least 10 years, including council homes with an end to the Right to Buy, with the capital receipts from council house sales released in order to build more council housing, and with councils empowered to borrow to that end. We need a minimum of 50 per cent of any new development to be dedicated to affordable housing, with affordability defined as 50 per cent of average rents. We need rent controls, action against the buying up of property by foreign investors in order to leave it empty, repeal of the Vagrancy Act, and the outlawing of practices such as "poor doors".
We need a statutory requirement of planning permission for change of use if it were proposed to turn a primary dwelling into a secondary dwelling, a working family home into a weekend or holiday home. Rent-to-buy schemes also demand serious attention, and we should be setting up one or more non-profit lettings agencies. By "we", I mean the organised working class, of which the backbone is the trade unions. Bringing us back to Eddie Dempsey.
All hail the glorious victory of Allison Bailey, both in itself and coming so soon after that of Maya Forstater, in whose famous words:
"Sex is a biological fact, and is immutable. There are two sexes, male and female. Men and boys are male. Women and girls are female. It is impossible to change sex. These were until very recently understood as basic facts of life by almost everyone."
Do not vote for any parliamentary candidate who did not say that, or the Leader of whose party did not say it. If they will lie about something as basic and as obvious as this, then they would lie about anything.
This motion needs to be tabled in the House of Commons, and put to a division of the whole House: "Sex is a biological fact, and is immutable. There are two sexes, male and female. Men and boys are male. Women and girls are female. It is impossible to change sex." Do not vote for anyone who, being an MP, had not voted for that, or the Leader of whose party, being an MP, had not done so.
The railway workers are going to get something. All the strikers are.
It will not be what they had first asked for, because it never is, as they know perfectly well. But nor will it be the nothing on which Keir Starmer is insisting.
How ridiculous he will look, when Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak had proved far less Coriolanus-like than he. And how the unions in general will agree with the RMT that, "There is a world elsewhere."
Monday, 25 July 2022
Rishi Sunak does that thing at the end of every sentence, as if it were a question. He is a Californian. He just is. As for Liz Truss, remember what got her into Parliament in the first place. We trust that that has worn better than her face.
Sunak should dye his hair, and Truss should not dye hers. Whoever designed her on her home planet did a well above average job, but still only eight out of 10. She is two years older than I am, and he is three years younger. My generation. Thank God I only got into Durham.
Keir Starmer has had a run-in with furious Liverpool pensioners, one of whom his staff have duly sexually assaulted to put her in her place.
That lady giving Starmer what for was Audrey White, who has been played on screen by Glenda Jackson. She is big news on the Left
Of course, Starmer has probably never heard of her. Who could play him on film, and why? And since his goon has groped the breast of her or one of her friends, then there are going to be serious repercussions.
Merseyside has been impervious to the fall of the Red Wall because of Boris Johnson's own history at The Spectator in relation to Hillsborough, a campaign that Jeremy Corbyn really did support long before it was fashionable.
But Johnson is going, while Labour is now led by Starmer of The Sun. Have the Conservatives the wit to make anything of this? Other people might have.
Has anyone from the United Kingdom had any trouble visiting any EU member-state other than France? Or any difficulty getting into France other than by ferry from Dover? Is the situation with the ferries from or to Dover national news in France, and how prominent is it? Were there no cross-Channel ferries before 1975?
But blame Brexit. Absolutely everything must be blamed on Brexit. Either of the potential Prime Ministers will realign with the Single Market and the Customs Union without rejoining them, which will be the only thing even worse than being back in them, and the Leader of the Opposition will take that line once the Government had done so, in order to "move to the centre ground".
Even only a few losses to abstention would be enough to cost it many seats or the chance of regaining many more, and Labour will actively lose votes by having given up on the massively popular policy of taking rail, mail, water and energy back into public ownership.
Public ownership is being used across Europe to alleviate the cost of living crisis. Keir Starmer may not know that this is fundamental to the pursuit of economic growth and to investment in public services, in which case he ought not to be presenting himself as a potential Prime Minister, but it is inconceivable that Rachel Reeves does not know it. He may or may not be ignorant, but she is clearly dishonest.
That policies were unpopular at one General Election does not necessarily mean that they still would be in the changed circumstances of the next. There may well be at little economic growth by the time of the next General Election, so what would Labour be offering then? If public ownership of our key national assets is either uneconomic or uneconomical, then why are transnational corporations and foreign states so keen to own them? They make plenty of money out of them.
In any case, the only unpopular thing about Labour's pitch in 2019 was the only part of it that had caused that Election to be held at all, two and a half years early, namely Starmer's unilateral announcement of a second referendum on EU membership in order to bring on that Election, guarantee defeat, and supplant Jeremy Corbyn, who had frightened the Deep State out of its wits by coming within 2,227 votes of leading the largest party in the hung Parliament of 2017.
Whether or not he means a word of it, Starmer has formally reverted to the 2017 manifesto policy of withdrawal from the Single Market and the Customs Union, so go through the 2019 Labour manifesto and consider that every word of it has been set aside. Any policy that was in it, absolutely any at all, is dismissed out of hand by the present Labour Leadership purely and simply because it was in that manifesto. Instead, not only is Labour deploying the illiterate and abusive language of "the Magic Money Tree", but it is doing so against Patrick Minford.
The call to be "pragmatic, not ideological" adds philosophical illiteracy to the economic illiteracy. And whatever else the Labour Right may be, it is not bereft of ideology. That faction's very existence understandably bewilders people. After all, there is no Tory Left, not really. At no level of the Conservative Party has anyone ever been as far to the left as most Labour councillors, almost all Labour MPs, and practically the whole of the Labour Party's staff, have always been to the right.
That is the Labour Party. It always has been, and it always will be. Thankfully, no one is obliged to vote for it. Make our own arrangements. Here at North West Durham, where in any case there is no sign that there is going to be a Labour candidate at all, vote for me.
Sunday, 24 July 2022
Inflation obviously could not have been caused by pay rises that had not happened, so it must have been something else.
If you can pay dividends, but not wages that keep pace with price inflation, then your business model is as faulty as if the reverse were the case, if not even more so.
There would be no point or purpose to a trade union that did not fight for such wages. If you want some of that, then join a union.
And a sovereign state with its own free floating, fiat currency has all the necessary fiscal and monetary means to control inflation, means that therefore need to be under democratic political control.
Oh good, the global warming must be over. Now we can get back to growth, to industry, to what someone once nearly called “the white heat of technology”, and to the equitable distribution of their fruits among and within the nations of the world, so that everyone might enjoy at least the standard of living that we ourselves already enjoyed.
There is always climate change, and any approach to it must protect and extend secure employment with civilised wages and working conditions, encourage economic development around the world, uphold the right of the working class and of people of colour to have children, hold down and as far as practicable reduce the fuel prices that always hit the poor hardest, and refuse to restrict travel opportunities or a full diet to the rich. In Britain, we must be unequivocal about regretting the defeat of the miners in 1985.
We sent our manufacturing to India and China, yet now we have the gall to criticise their carbon emissions. And we expect to depend for energy on the Sun, the wind and the tides, precisely because it is beyond our power to stop them from doing what they do and we just have to live with it, yet we also expect to be able to stop climate change rather than finding ways of living with it. I am strongly in favour of solar, wind and tidal energy in the mix. The base of that mix is nuclear and coal. The coal without which there can be no steel, and thus no wind turbines or tidal turbines.
Any economic arrangement is a political choice, not a law of physics, and the “free” market cannot deal with climate change while defending and expanding our achievements. That is precisely why it is being promoted. But instead, we need the State, albeit a vastly more participatory and democratic State than has often existed.
The energy sources to be preferred are those which provided high-wage, high-skilled, high-status jobs. Harness the power of the State, and deliver an all-of-the-above energy policy based around civil nuclear power and this country’s vast reserves of coal. Around those twin poles of nuclear power and of the clean coal technology in which Britain was the world leader until the defeat of the Miners’ Strike, let there be oil, gas, lithium, wind, solar, tidal, and everything else, bathing this country in heat and light. This is why we have a State.
The problem with the world is not that it has people in it. We must celebrate the full compatibility between the highest view of human demographic, economic, intellectual and cultural expansion and development, and the most active concern for the conservation of the natural world and of the treasures bequeathed by such expansion and development in the past.
That expansion and development must now include space exploration, fuelled by, and fuelling, fusion power. Life is the geological force that shapes the Earth, and the emergence of human cognition fundamentally transforms the biosphere, not least by the uniquely human phenomenon of economic growth, so that human mastery of nuclear processes is beginning to create resources through the transmutation of elements, enabling us, among other things, to explore space and to exploit the resources of the Solar System.
God has given Man dominion over the beasts, thus over the land, and thus over everything on and under the land. God has given Man dominion over the fish, thus over the waters, and thus over everything in and under the waters. God has given Man dominion over the birds, thus over the sky, and thus over everything in the sky, as far up as the sky goes, and the sky goes up a very long way. That dominion is entrusted so that we might “be fruitful and multiply”. Entrusted as it is to the whole human race, its purpose is, “To increase the power of Man over Nature, and to abolish the power of Man over Man.”
Saturday, 23 July 2022
"Why does a government which calls itself Conservative even have a Minister for Women and Equalities? The post was invented by the Blair creature and first held by Harriet Harman, that apostle of social and sexual revolution," writes Peter Hitchens.
Before then, Harman had been the Secretary of State for Social Security who, as early in the Blair years as 10th December 1997, had cut lone parent benefits on the votes of the Conservatives, since even with the Government's enormous majority, enough Labour MPs had voted against the measure for it to have been defeated if the Official Opposition had also done so.
"The tax and benefits system, and the attitudes of all parts of the state, will help almost any form of childcare – except the one where a parent stays at home to do it and the family has to cope on a single income," writes Hitchens. A quarter of a century ago, the late Audrey Wise MP, who would have worn the "Hard Left" label as a badge of honour and no doubt did, told the House of Commons:
"I asked the Under-Secretary of State for Social Security, my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Withington (Mr. Bradley), who made the uprating statement, why child care is work when it is done by a stranger but not when it is done by the child's mother or father. Any reference to Hansard will show that I did not receive one syllable of an answer. It is a good question. I am a mother of two children. I remember their early years vividly and I would not have been agreeable to farming them out to a stranger. It was not my way. Some people may be able to find excellent child care and may have interesting jobs or jobs for which much has been invested in training. Even if they have a small child, it makes sense for them to go to work. I do not criticise that at all, but I do criticise the attitude that all parents of small children should be willing to work, leaving their children with someone else while they clean offices or fill shelves."
Why is childcare work when it is done by a stranger, but not when it is done by the child's mother or father? There has still never been one syllable of an answer. But it was a good question then. And it is a good question now.
People are asking whether Jeremy Corbyn would be up to being Mayor of London at his age, but no one is suggesting that he would not be elected. Should he be on the ballot paper, then his victory is universally presupposed even by people who loathe him. A list endorsed by him would easily pass the five per cent threshold for an Assembly seat. A list headed by him would treble or quadruple that threshold.
After all, look what the Labour Party has reverted to. Wes Streeting has once again declared it the political wing of this country's infinitesimal private health sector, which is a major donor to him. Only trade unions give money to politicians and a political party in return for absolutely nothing. Everyone else buys something specific for each and every penny, and Streeting is giving private health its money's worth.
Since 2010, private sector involvement in the National Health Service has gone up by 93 per cent, and waiting lists by 200 per cent. But we should not blame Streeting for his advocacy of yet further NHS privatisation. It did not start in 2010. It started in 1997.
NHS privatisation in England, though tellingly nowhere else, was the signature domestic policy of the only Labour Government in the lifetimes of more than half the population. Before then, the very concept of it had been confined to the outer fringes of the think tank circuit, to the likes of Liz Truss's beloved Patrick Minford.
New Labour, eh? Well, yes and no. Before Streeting was born, and beginning in the month of my conception, the last Labour Government before 1997 had imported the monetarism of Pinochet's Chile. Margaret Thatcher's sex was the only notable thing about the result of the General Election in 1979. There was no ideological shift. That had happened in December 1976.
For 71 years and counting, the Labour Party has dined out on a mere six years that did not impress the electorate at the time. It is true that Winston Churchill lost the 1945 Election while the War was still going on, that he lost again in 1950, that he barely scraped a victory in 1951 having lost the popular vote, and that his own party had to remove him before the one in 1955. But it is equally true that once the Attlee Government had a record on which to be judged, then it was barely reelected in 1950, and it lost office in 1951.
At the heart of its myth is the NHS. But even that had been in all three manifestos in 1945, so that it would have happened, anyway. The Conservatives who voted against the legislation on technicalities never had any intention of repealing it, and in the 1950s they never did. It was rather more recently that the process of privatising the NHS, but only in England, was begun by Tony Blair, Alan Milburn and Paul Corrigan, when Labour had an overall majority of 179.
Streeting is in that tradition, and why not? Just so long as the rest of us do not have to vote for the party that would make him Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. We need to make our own arrangements instead. For all the faults and failings of Corbyn, if he really is machinating in London, then that would be a healthy sign.
MPs supporting Liz Truss need to be asked by their constituency associations why they wanted Britain to have no agriculture.
Patrick Minford also wants no British manufacturing industry, although the Conservative Party membership might not mind that so much at least initially, and sky high interest rates, which would suit many of the voters in this Leadership Election down to the ground.
As myself the mortgage-free holder of a savings account, those voters are nevertheless unrepresentative in the extreme. Unless there is drastic intervention of some kind, then they are about to saddle this country, even if only for about a year, with a Prime Minister who was in thrall to a crank economist from the olden days.
When Rishi Sunak says that "not even" Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell proposed borrowing to pay for everyday spending, then he is well and truly doing the Politics rather than the Philosophy or the Economics. He knows perfectly well that nothing in the internal logic of their economic ideology could ever have arrived at that point.
Yet that is what Truss wants to do, in order to cut taxes at most for the mere six in 10 adults whose incomes reached the threshold, but no doubt only for people a great deal richer than that. Tax cuts before growth. Yes, really. Sunak was a bad Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he would be a worse Prime Minister. But at least he is not Truss.
The Church and the world are crying out for Ignatian spirituality, and for "men for others". But what goes around, comes around. This Pope is already 85. His successor might be, so to speak, Clement XV, to whom an aversion to what might be seen as churches within the Church was not only sauce for the goose, but also sauce for the gander.
We all know the meaning of the dread phrase, "consultation exercise". Lo and behold, in preparation for a Synod that no one would bet on ever meeting, practically every diocese in the Western world, and certainly every one in this country, has managed to produce the same document more or less word for word, in perfect conformity to the undergraduate experience of its signatories half a century ago. Why, it is as if they had been assembled by Ptolemy II Philadelphus.
Should it ever make it that far, then this would all be laughed out by Africa, Asia, and much of Latin America. The Global South leads, not only its own liberation struggle, but also that of the internal colonies such as those which rose up in 2019 against the imperialist yoke that expressed itself as the right wing of the British Labour Party, a faction that is symbiotically related to the liberal wing of the Catholic Church in what were once their common heartlands.
Across the English-speaking West, at least, wherever they have both been strong historically, then the liberal wing of the Church and the right wing of the notionally leftish party are essentially and effectively a single entity, vicious and corrupt, sexually depraved in general and pederastic in particular, violently anti-intellectual, the colonial oppressor at home in league with the colonial oppressors abroad.
Mercifully, that is a vanishing world, although it is all the more spiteful for its knowledge of its impending fate. It has all been burned as per, but over 50 priests, mostly young or youngish, independently wrote to me in prison, often saying exactly what they thought of, well, let's not. On my release, there were emails in my inbox from three times that many, including from every diocese in Great Britain and from every continent except Antarctica. And that was just the priests. Then there were the political activists, also mostly young or youngish. In both cases, I was surprised that a lot of those letters ever reached my cell.
I had had no idea until then, having always assumed myself to have been a romantically obscure figure who might at best have hoped to have become influential in death, but it turned out that my decades of beavering away in the cause of Catholic orthodoxy as the only reliable basis for the radical politics that in turn followed inescapably from it had not gone unnoticed.
I had known that I had had at least played some part in the conversions of a certain number of orthodox Catholics to the struggle for economic equality and for international peace, and of a few activists on the Left to Catholic orthodoxy. I had also been told from time to time that meeting or reading me had crystallised what people had already been thinking. But it came as a complete revelation that I was so valued by hundreds, most of them younger than I was.
If you know anything about either Catholic orthodoxy or radical politics, then you must have taught yourself, since you would certainly never have been introduced to either of them on a school curriculum, and probably not even as part of the formal content of a university degree. The rising generation has never known life without the Internet, and since the same or similar disaffection would lead its members to go in search of what turned out to be each of Catholic orthodoxy and radical politics, then it is not surprising that a certain number of them are arriving at both. They then begin to formulate a synthesis. To my utter astonishment, I do appear to be an influential figure in that phenomenon of the age.
Be in no doubt that we are the future, one way or another. 50 years' time is the very latest that I might remotely realistically be alive. Here in Britain, for example, either we shall have won by then, or we shall have been driven underground or into exile, those of us who were not in prison or martyred. And 50 years after that, and 50 years after that again, and so on until we had prevailed.
Friday, 22 July 2022
So much for pork markets. Do they know in South West Norfolk that their MP's favourite economist, Patrick Minford, wants Britain to have no agriculture whatever? That has always been the logic of Thatcherism, rather than of the ideologically incoherent Margaret Thatcher herself.
Liz Truss managed two years as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs while harbouring such sympathies. No Trotskyist groupuscule could dream of such entryism. Say "cheese". And as this Leadership Election progresses, get ready to meet the Turnip Taliban again.
Thursday, 21 July 2022
Hear the silence around the Forde Report. Jeremy Corbyn remains without the Labour whip, which for some reason he seems to want back, for having pointed out that claims of anti-Semitism were weaponised against his Leadership by his factional enemies. Martin Forde QC says exactly that, in those words. Forde also states, as some of us have always known, that due to its factional recruitment practices, the paid staff of the Labour Party was at least as far to the right as Corbyn's circle was to the left. It always will be.
That staff diverted £130,000 to the "campaigns" of its allies in safe seats, and thus away from the campaigns of the elected Leader's supporters in marginal constituencies, thereby deliberately throwing the 2017 General Election that Labour lost by a whisker. These people felt physically sick at that close result (there is of course television footage of Labour MPs having the same reaction), and they described it in writing as the opposite of everything for which they had been working for two years.
Their media outriders are already peddling the barefaced lie that Forde has dismissed their sabotage as a "conspiracy theory". Read the Report. It says the very opposite of that. It also details, and again this is not news to some of us, that it is the Labour Right that is racist to the core, while the hierarchy of racism is exactly as we have always said that it was. It is of course the Right that is back in charge of the Labour Party. Again, it always will be. Unless you have experienced the personal vileness of the Labour Right, then you cannot begin to imagine it. Horrible though some of the people in each of them are, no other faction in British politics comes close.
Why care about any of this now? The same interests that brought down Corbyn, who did not always help himself, have now brought down Boris Johnson, who never was suitable to be Prime Minister, but who has not been removed on any policy grounds, although there will indeed be policy changes under his successor, and not for the better.
Any MP who is now backing either Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss is stating frankly that Johnson is unfit for office, since neither of them would have him in the Cabinet even though Truss astonishingly remains in his. Apparently, she is indispensable to the war in Ukraine. Yes, she really does believe that.
The Lobby knew about the parties while they were being held, and the Police attended them, as a number of senior media figures will also have done on at least one occasion. Everyone in the Westminster Village will always have known about Chris Pincher, including Theresa May when she, too, appointed him as Deputy Chief Whip.
These stories have been brought out now in order to complete the job that had begun with the defenestration of Corbyn. Johnson also had to go, and with Keir Starmer in place, then Johnson had to be succeeded by someone "best placed to beat Starmer" by being as much like Starmer as possible. Starmer's blatant guilt had to be denied, incidentally by the only individuals who pretend to believe that I am guilty of anything. There can be no challenge to neoliberal economic policy, to extreme social liberalism, or to neoconservative policy.
Perhaps like Starmer, although it is more likely that Starmer has the zeal of a convert, Sunak may be slightly dodgy, but he would do. Like Wes Streeting, or like Yvette Cooper, or like David Lammy, or like Peter Kyle, or like Rachel Reeves of the Bank of England and of the British Embassy in Washington, Truss is the real deal, and in that regard she is entirely typical of Liberal Democrats. Contrast the economic and foreign policies of the Coalition with those of the years since, when austerity has been very slightly eased, and when there has at least been nothing comparable to the war in Libya.
Welcome to the Deep State. The Equality and Human Rights Commission is the most Deep State institution imaginable. Accordingly, it was known only for sacking its black and disabled staff first, until it sprang to life against Corbyn. Imagine what it would have said about Brexit. It is no wonder that Luciana Berger wants us to remember that either it or she ever existed, but very few will. Those were strange times, when someone who used to be in EastEnders, the glamorous assistant on a game show, and a blackface clown of yesteryear who had once made a novelty record about football, were all treated as political authorities. Them, and Berger. Not so much the Deep State, as the Shallow State.
Still, there very much is a Deep State. The economic, social, cultural and political hegemony of the liberal bourgeoisie must be defended and expanded by extreme military force abroad and by the closest possible approximation to it at home. Of course, the liberal bourgeoisie is the class least likely to experience combat even in times of conscription, but hey, that is the natural order for you. An order that seems to require an awful lot of hard power, if it is just the way of the world.
The media mostly agree with all of this, as well they might, being such obvious beneficiaries of it. To put it euphemistically, they also move in the same social circles as the politicians who inhabit this self-styled "centre ground". Their carefully cultivated contacts are entirely among those, and were rendered worthless by the Corbyn Leadership, as also very largely by the Johnson Government.
Perhaps they resented most of all that Corbyn and Johnson were both journalists. And yes, Corbyn is NUJ and everything. You have to be elected to that, in the manner of the old miners' lodges. You cannot just join. He is a proper journalist, all right. He and Johnson must both have struck the press pack as traitors, although Corbyn more than Johnson due to his practice of combining the oldest and the newest forms of campaigning, public meetings and social media, thereby going around the well-kept gates that had been constructed in the centuries in between. Johnson also had a touch of that, and as a Telegraph Group veteran, none of yer Morning Star, he should have known better.
Previous Governments have handed over jaw-dropping amounts of power to the Deep State, having of course been installed for the purpose. These people clearly never wanted to run the country. Again, that was why they were put in by the people who did. For example, while each generation presumably produces an obvious Astronomer Royal, why hand over the power to appoint Regius Professors, or certain Oxbridge Heads of House, or the Poet Laureate? Never mind the judiciary? Or 26 members of Parliament? And how entitled is the Liberal Establishment in the Church of England, to assume the right to appoint those 26 legislators over the rest of us?
But these powers have never been legislated away. Almost nothing in Britain ever is quite abolished or repealed. It falls into prolonged desuetude, but it is still there. A Corbyn Government would have made full use of the Royal Prerogative; there are no republicans in possession of the powers of a Medieval monarch. Disgracing Eton and Oxford, Johnson also showed tendencies in that direction. So the Deep State had to get rid of the pair of them. It has done so, even before either of them could turn his attention to reversing the statutory surrender of control over monetary policy.
One day, there may be something like the Forde Report into the coup against Johnson. Like the Forde Report, it would be utterly devastating. And like the Forde Report, aside from a few lies about it, it would be completely ignored. While I carry no candle for Johnson, he has been deposed by the forces and interests that were also behind Shrewsbury, Orgreave, Hillsborough, blacklisting, spycops, both the tragedy at Grenfell Tower and the cover-up that is being constructed before our very eyes, and so very much else besides, including the wars. Welcome to the Deep State. Or, as it is otherwise known, Britain.
Wednesday, 20 July 2022
Rishi Sunak is bloody awful, but at least he is not Liz Truss.
Both of these candidates want to realign with the Single Market and the Customs Union, which would be the only thing even worse than being in them and thus having at least some small say over them.
Both of these candidates dress up as former Prime Ministers. But Tony Blair is at least still alive, whereas Margaret Thatcher is dead, and Truss's Thatcher costumes must presumably have been ordered from very dodgy corners of the Internet.
And only one of these candidates intends to attempt regime change in Russia and China, with a view to partitioning at least the former, parts of which she already does not regard as under Russian sovereignty.
That would be laughed out in the Kremlin and in the Forbidden City, as the mere mention of Truss's name no doubt already is. But people would be sent to die for it, and they would not be her. She must be stopped. Even if that has to be by Sunak.
Paul Urey was the age that I shall be in September, and he had even more underlying health conditions than I have. How well did he expect to fare in the theatre of the war in Ukraine?
In any case, he went to fight for the Azov Battalion, which is as reprehensible as going to fight for the Wagner Group would be. An "aid worker"? Pull the other one. Next you will be saying that he was wearing a white helmet.
Nevertheless, his blood, like that of any other Briton who might be killed in that war, is at least partly on the hands of our Prime Minister in waiting, Liz Truss. She it was who encouraged our citizens to engage in the criminal act of going to fight in that war. She is intellectually and morally unfit for any office, much less the highest.
Morally and intellectually unfit. She does not know the Black Sea from the Baltic. She purports not to recognise Russian sovereignty over Rostov and Voronezh provinces, since she does not know where is in Russia and where is in Ukraine, although she does hold the former to have been invaded by everyone "from the Mongols to the Tatars". Yet she presumes to tell the Russians where in Russia they may station the Russian Army, and she is aghast at their insolent failure to obey her.
Everyone who was suffering from the cost of living crisis should move to Ukraine, where the British Government would have no difficulty spending limitless amounts of money on us, with no questions asked, and with Opposition parties demanding only even more of the same.
Yet there is no British strategic interest in any of this. We should recognise reality, and get down to freeing up the food and fuel supplies again, while we devoted ourselves to the long-term pursuit of energy independence and of greater self-sufficiency in food, the former a great deal easier than the latter.
Whether we like it or not, and we have no particular reason to care either way, Crimea has gone back to Russia. The parts of the Ukraine that the largely Ukrainian Soviet elite had put into the Ukrainian SSR in order to make its independence impossible are going to become Russian satellite states, although they are economically and culturally too Soviet for today's Russian Federation.
No additional state, including Sweden or Finland, is ever going to be allowed into NATO. A much more stable and coherent Ukraine will become constitutionally neutral, and all of this will require the denazification that no one any longer disputes is necessary to some extent, nor did anyone dispute that at all until very recently, although denazification is not being made a condition of potential EU membership, because it never is; being in the EU subjected us to the legislative will of many of the most terrifying people.
All of this was on the table before the Russian invasion. This war has been going on for eight years. But in the stage that the world has admitted to having noticed, it is now on the brink of turning out to have been completely avoidable even in its own terms. An enthusiast for it is the worst possible candidate to be Prime Minister.
"The criticisms of Diane Abbott are not simply a harsh response to perceived poor performance – they are expressions of visceral disgust, drawing on racist tropes, and they bear little resemblance to the criticisms of white male MPs elsewhere in the messages."
Strong stuff from the Forde Report, which is so desperate to do the "both sides" thing, as if the elected Leader and the hired help had equal authority, that it even speculates that there might have been an equally poisonous WhatsApp group in the Leader's Office on no grounds except that we cannot know that there was not.
Still, it confirms that allegations of anti-Semitism were "weaponised", and that is the word used, against Jeremy Corbyn. Pointing that out was exactly what lost him the whip that for some reason he seems to want back. Forde also confirms that the real problem was the anti-black racism of the Blairite staff, one of whom has been calling me a "Mulatto" for nearly 20 years, going back to when he was on the staff of the then Government Chief Whip.
Have these people been arrested? If not, why not? On top of everything else, they embezzled £130,000 for their unregistered political party, the maintenance of which means that they ought to be expelled from the Labour Party. Why is one of them still receiving the Labour whip in the House of Lords? And is the largest bank in the world comfortable employing another one as its Head of Media Relations? Going back to its days as Midland Bank, HSBC is still headquartered in Birmingham. It should be picketed by Angry Black Women. Led by Diane Abbott.
Tuesday, 19 July 2022
The Hard Right in all parties should always be posed the America Test: "Would that be permitted, or even tolerated, in the United States?" The answer is very often no.
So it is with responses to what might by British standards be considered extreme weather conditions. Any economic arrangement is a political choice rather than a law of physics, and no "free" market is responsible for Americans' successful negotiation either of their heaviest snowfalls or of their most scorching heat.
Contrast that with the responses to similar phenomena where State activity is minimal or nonexistent. Perhaps including Britain before very long at all, possibly under Rishi Sunak, and certainly under Liz Truss, Keir Starmer or Ed Davey.
The Forde Report is out, and it is now a matter of record that a then senior Labour Party official whom I have had the displeasure of knowing since September 1989 (we were both born in 1977) used the Angry Black Woman trope against Diane Abbott.
Since everything in that Report could have been in the public domain in April 2021, then consider at least one of my convictions, and at least one of the Restraining Orders against me, to be subject to appeal on the grounds that the supposed victim could, should and would have been exposed as an incredible witness, of thoroughly bad character, and specifically and pertinently as a racist political operator.
I tried to have my trial last year delayed until after the publication of the Forde Report, upon which at least one charge against me would have been dropped due to the complainant's proven dishonesty and racism, but my solicitor refused to countenance anything other than a guilty plea, and said that nor would any other solicitor.
In practice, you cannot be acquitted of harassment. The crime consists in having made the accuser feel harassed. What matters is that the accuser is well enough connected for the Crown Prosecution Service to take up the case. And just as if the penalty for anything is a fine, then it is a law for the poor and not for the rich, so if anything is to be tried before a Magistrates' Court, then the impossibility of acquittal is built in. The Court of Appeal may be a different story, but no one volunteers as a magistrate in order to acquit people.
That's Blairites for you. That's the Labour Right. And Forde has found beyond doubt that that faction sabotaged the 2017 campaign, as some of us always knew that it would. It is now back running the party, as some of us always knew that it would be. The only people who even pretend to believe that I am guilty of anything at all are exactly the same individuals who let Keir Starmer off. Let that sink in.
We are living through another "centrist" coup, by the Deep State if you will, and this time it is in the party of government.
Jeremy Corbyn's fundamental error was that he did not sack the entire staff on Day One and start again from scratch. Even if Corbyn had won, then the Parliamentary Labour Party would have swung into action during Election Night to tell the Queen that, while a Labour Leader might have been able to have commanded an overall majority, this one would not have been.
Far from becoming Prime Minister, Corbyn would still have lost the whip. The Prime Minister would have been Starmer. Don't vote Labour. Make our own arrangements. Here at North West Durham, where there is in any case no sign of a Labour candidate, vote for me.
How did we ever manage to conquer all those hot countries? And if you are just getting on with the heat as in 1976, then you can just get on with the strikes as in 1976.
Every one of those will end with something for the workers in struggle, despite the intransigence of an Official Opposition that has also announced a reversion to the last Labour Government's signature domestic policy of the privatisation of the NHS in England.
Sooner the bosses than the scabs, and if this is supposed to be making the Labour Party more electable, then kindly produce an elector whose vote it would sway. Or, at least, sway in the Labour interest.
They are never doing this again. Changing the rules to elect a Labour Leader would be, and repeatedly has been, a laborious process, but the Conservatives' are whatever the Executive of the 1922 Committee decreed at any given time. Herewith, the timetable for the next one:
9 am: Nominations open
11 am: Nominations close
12 noon to 1 pm: First ballot
2 pm: First ballot result declared
3 pm to 4 pm: Runoff between the two highest scoring candidates
5 pm: Final result declared
6 pm: Kissing of hands, thereby making any objection a treasonable act in the eyes of the Tory heartlands
In fact, why bother with the second ballot? They believe in First Past the Post. They may as well use it. Any complaints could be directed to the Queen.
Monday, 18 July 2022
With the Prime Minister talking at the despatch box about "the Deep State", I am reminded of this comment on a recent post in which I had referred to the presence of "the tribal elders of the Tory Deep State" at Rishi Sunak's campaign launch:
Asked to autograph Durham Miners' Gala programmes, asked to endorse candidates to lead huge trade unions, old ladies kissing your hand after Mass, young couples asking you to bless their children, young men asking you before they try and become priests, young men asking you before they try and become MPs, you're a fine one to talk about the tribal elders of a Deep State. What do you think you are?
Well, each of the first four of those has only ever happened once to date; in the fourth case, I did something in the vein of "Goodnight and God Bless" and told them to see a priest. But of which tribe might I be an elder, and why? And if I am part of any Deep State, then of which one, and, again, why?
I do not know whether the story of Rishi Sunak's schoolboy support for Gordon Brown has strictly been in the public domain before now, but it is not news to many of us. Not that such advice would have had much impact at Winchester, of course.
Sunak is starting to look like the only one who could even staff a full Government. His cohort is by far the single largest, and after the most recent debate, then none of them could credibly serve under any of the other candidates, or even be likely to be asked.
The ever-increasing showing for Sunak shows that they think that he is going to win, and that they think it in enough numbers to be self-fulfilling. I carry no candle for him. But this is the obvious reality. Any other Leader's tenure would be made a misery. The Labour lot did that to Jeremy Corbyn, and that was in Opposition. Imagine it in office.