Monday 3 April 2023

Over The Finnish Line?

Did anyone ask you whether you wanted a further 832-mile land border with Russia, beginning nearer to Saint Petersburg than Saint Petersburg was to Moscow? As Finland joins NATO, in Bakhmut NATO has in recent hours been defeated by a private company that is largely staffed by dregs who are not allowed in their country's conscript Army.

In Ukraine, where it was casually admitted in December that British troops had been for a year and thus since long before the Russian invasion, the split between the Russian State and the Wagner Group is now taking shape in earnest. Having taken possession of the vast salt mines at Soledar, and now also of Bakhmut, will Yevgeny Prigozhin give up control of that territory, which also has gypsum? Remember, this is not the Russian Army, but a private military company.

These men's statues will one day be torn down, because their statues will have been put up. As the French and French-backed non-governmental organisations are expelled from Mali, Wagner Group arms and ammunition, up to and including four Mil Mi-17 helicopters, have arrived there. A base has been built near the airport of the capital, Bamako, a city of 2.8 million. The Group has also taken over the former French bases at Gossi, Kidal, Tessalit and Timbuktu.

Africa has been Wagner country for quite some time. The Group provided bodyguards to several candidates in the 2018 Presidential Election in Madagascar, even including the winner who had been favoured by China and the United States, thereby guaranteeing the Russian takeover of Kraoma, Madagascar's national chromite producer. The Wagner Group had also been guarding the chrome mines themselves. Its involvement in Mozambique has been extensive. Its participation in the never-ending Libyan Civil War remains so. Ignore anyone who tells you that that war is over.

More than anywhere else, however, the Wagner Group's African operations have been, and continue to be, in the Central African Republic. Again, that is in the French sphere of influence, although the Group originally went in there, in 2018, to fill the security vacuum that had been left by the French military withdrawal, in 2016, following the loss of three quarters of the country's territory to rebel control. By all accounts, it is guarding the diamond mines in regime-controlled and rebel-controlled areas alike, as it also takes a great interest in the diamonds, gold, uranium, and thus government of Sudan.

There has lately been an operation to take down cryptocurrencies, not that I am any fan of those, after the adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender in the CAR had posed a threat to the CFA franc, itself pegged to the euro and so on. The CAR is a front line in the Great Game as it is being played in the present age. There are anything up to 2000 Wagner Group personnel there, if not more, and it has a firm grip on a number of government institutions, including the General Staff, such that it supervises or directly commands most of the units of the Armed Forces, including at least one EU-trained battalion. Known as Black Russians, hundreds of Centrafricans, former UPC rebels who surrendered, are now fighting for the Wagner Group in Ukraine, or are awaiting deployment there from Russia.

All this, and Soledar and Bakhmut, too. Shades of the British and Dutch East India Companies. Or of the Crusader military orders, one of which still exists as a sovereign entity 924 years after its foundation, even without the territory that the Wagner Group is coming to control. We have no side between that and Svoboda, Pravy Sektor, the National Corps, C14, the Azov Battalion, the Aidar Battalion, the Donbas Battalion, the Dnipro-1 Battalion, the Dnipro-2 Battalion, the Kraken Regiment, or any of the rest of those.

Yet the spycops are already so convinced that one of their own, Keir Starmer, is going to win a General Election in December 2024 that they are openly staffing his office. The opinion polls bear no resemblance to Labour's abysmal electoral performance under Starmer, so ask yourself how the spooks could possibly be so certain. Yet they are. Think on.

But when I say that there is going to be a hung Parliament, then you can take that to the bank unless the thing is simply rigged. I spent the 2005 Parliament saying that it was psephologically impossible for the Heir to Blair's Conservative Party to win an overall majority. I predicted a hung Parliament on the day that the 2017 General Election was called, and I stuck to that, entirely alone, all the way up to the publication of the exit poll eight long weeks later. And on the day that Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, I predicted that a General Election between him and Starmer would result in a hung Parliament.

I say again that the opinion polls bear no resemblance to real votes cast, and even the Labour poll lead has halved since Sunak took over. Halved. The Labour vote has gone through the floor at all but one by-election since Starmer became Leader, with one of those recording Labour’s lowest ever share of the vote. Council seats that were held or won under Jeremy Corbyn have fallen like sandcastles, taking control of major local authorities with them. That is the bread and butter of the party's right wing, who are not the most employable of people.

With well over a year and a half still to go until the next General Election, Starmer's personal rating is negative not only nationally, but in every region apart from London, and it is still in decline. Starmer's dishonesty is becoming a story. He lied to his party members to get their votes, so he would lie to anyone else to get their votes. Unless there is straight ballot-rigging, then we are heading for a hung Parliament. To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not.


  1. You know far too much ever to be allowed in politics.

    1. For 20 years, that has been true. But elect me, and let's see.