The public and private opinions of the controlled opposition
Prominent members of the Spiked Online gang, most notably Brendan O’Neill, Tom Slater, Joanna Williams and Claire Fox, have over the last few years gained some street cred among critically thinking anti-establishment types for their well-articulated critiques of identity politics, censorship and the demonisation of working class culture. They supported Brexit from the left and opposed many Draconian covid regulations, unlike much of the former Labour movement who have embraced the unattainable goal of zero covid. While Brendan, Claire and other regular Spiked talking heads pretend to be on your side in the battle against the remote elites, their deceptively subversive operatives have close ties with the biotech industrial complex. Out of the blue, Lady Claire’s sister, Fiona Fox of the Science Media Centre, writes a staunch defence of the quangos and scientists, such as the much-maligned Prof. Neil Ferguson, who masterminded the government’s deliberate overreaction to the corona crisis. It should come as little surprise that the Science Media Centre attracts funding from AstraZeneca, GSK and the Wellcome Trust among others. This is hardly out of character. The Spiked Gang have always embraced technocracy. Now you may wonder why Spiked promoted Laura Dodsworth’s excellent book A State of Fear? They never challenged the covid narrative, only the Draconian regulations like mandatory face-masks that accompanied it. Only a couple of weeks earlier Brendan O’Neill came out in support of making mass-marketed covid vaccines mandatory for care workers. Spiked’s new line is that we should fear neither covid nor mRNA vaccines, but the whole rationale for digital health passports hinges on fear of an invisible virus and its constant mutations.
In the great debate on the limits of technology, environmentalists warn us of the dangers of overconsumption and catastrophic breakdowns due to our over-reliance on complex interconnected systems few of us can understand. We could call such people techno-pessimists. In the real world, we tend to like technology that empowers us and dislike innovations that enslave us. Billions of us have fallen in love with motor vehicles and the dream of exploring wide-open spaces along empty highways. However, we may not be so keen on the inevitable traffic congestion, noise, pollution and countryside destruction. On the other hand, techno-optimists believe humanity can always overcome environmental constraints with new technology and want us to trust the friendly household names behind corporate behemoths to deliver the goods. While much of the notional left opposed nuclear power and distrusted big pharma, one small group of Marxist intellectuals stood out in their unabashed support for technological progress.
I first encountered the tiny Revolutionary Communist Party in the early 1980s. They seemed mainly interested in recruiting students at the top universities. I only briefly flirted with them but have intermittently kept an eye on this clique ever since. Although their leading light, Frank Füredi, grew up in Hungary, they defended the old Warsaw Pact countries as deformed workers’ states against Western aggression in contrast to the SWP’s position which viewed the whole Eastern Bloc as state capitalist. While many on the British left supported a United Ireland, the RCP went one step further and offered unconditional support for the IRA in their struggle against British imperialism, only expressing regret about the loss of human life. In the early 1990s, they rebranded themselves around their magazine Living Marxism, shifted their focus to culture wars and weaved a distinctive critique of the often reactionary and snobbish green movement. They helped form the smokers’ rights organisation Forest, defended football fans against accusations of racism and hooliganism and fully embraced the working class’s newfound love of cars, gadgets and foreign holidays. In stark contrast to most trendy lefties, they unashamedly backed nuclear power and ran to the defence of the controversial insecticide DDT. I caught up with them again around 1998 in the run-up to NATO airstrikes over Former Yugoslavia. LM Magazine did admittedly expose some media deception about the Yugoslav conflict and, more controversially, had questioned the mainstream narrative on the tragic 1994 Rwandan civil war, which attracted accusations of genocide denial. LM Magazine famously lost a libel case against ITN (Independent Television News) over Thomas Deichmann’s exposé of trick photography to make an open refugee reception centre in a Serb-controlled area of Bosnia resemble a concentration camp. 3 years later the LM Gang re-emerged as Spiked Online. Their stances over the years perplexed many casual left-leaning observers. Their critique of NATO’s role in the dismemberment of the Former Yugoslavia and of US/UK support for Tutsi insurgents in the Rwandan civil war followed in the best traditions of anti-imperialism and Lenin’s revolutionary defeatism. Yet at the same time, the LM Gang were forging close links with big businesses, especially in the pharmaceutical sector. Their wider circle of contributors now included a number of media-savvy academics and boffins. Dr Michael Fitzpatrick came to the defence of the MMR vaccine, dismissing any links with neurological disorders despite having an autistic son. The mainstream media loved him. In 1998 Channel 4 screened Martin Durkin’s three-part critique of the green movement Against Nature. Its theme was simple. We have nothing to fear from the growing encroachment of technology into every aspect of our lives and even of an eventual merger of man and machine. I recall a scene showing a full-body transplant of a chimpanzee with the narrator wishing for a near future when we could bio-engineer replacement body parts and even augment our intelligence. They claimed that with the wonders of genetically engineered crops and almost limitless cold fusion power we could easily sustain a world population of 32 billion and thus had no need to either reduce per capita consumption or worry about a growing population. On a superficial level, the utopian vision of communism where everyone has access to everything they desire is only conceivable via an idyllic techno-panacea. Yet the LM Gang’s new business partners had other ideas about the future progress of humanity.
It’s a funny old world where the WEF (World Economic Forum,), the WHO (World Health Organisation), Prince Charles, Boris Johnson and the Greens all sing from the same hymn sheet. The covid narrative has conditioned many of us to view other members of our species as vectors of disease and thus to accept mandatory genetic code injections as a means to win back tightly regulated freedoms. More important, the authorities have ever so subtly pushed the message that we are not all essential and some of us may be superfluous to the needs of humanity as a whole. Now governments have set a precedent for virus lockdowns, the stage is set for climate lockdowns. Unsurprisingly, vaccine passports have been marketed as green passes in many European countries. Now people can be tracked everywhere they go and can no longer gain access to many essential services without smartphones, which despite fact-checker denials will soon morph into wearable microchips. Digital health passports are effectively temporary movement permits.
Environmental campaigners once distrusted our overreliance on complex technology and preferred local solutions to global problems. Many critics of neoliberal globalisation, such as French farmer and syndicalist Jose Bove or Indian novelist Arundhati Roy, defended the rights of smallholders, craftspeople and factory workers from the left in opposition to an emerging world controlled by a handful of multinationals. Most eco-activists also favoured holistic healthcare with a focus on diet, exercise and natural remedies over lifelong dependence on pharmaceutical products and invasive treatments such as chemotherapy. In many ways, the early green movement with its love of mother nature had much in common with social conservatives. Who would oppose new airports, motorways, high-speed railways and more suburban sprawl? Often concerned local social conservatives would join forces with affluent professional newcomers who had moved to the countryside to escape the hustle and bustle of the cities. The early green movement instinctively rejected both militarism and imperialism, the notion that one group of people, whether organised as countries or corporations, may impose their will on others through coercion. However, as green politicians gained office in regional and national administrations, they soon cast aside their new-age love for self-sufficiency and formed new alliances with tech giants who wanted to transition away from the old fossil fuel economy. In the early 21st century the main drivers of economic growth were no longer cars and other wasteful machines, but smart low-consumption gadgets and digital services. People had to be persuaded to pay for abstract services and ephemeral fashion accessories they did not know they needed.
When the climate change narrative first reached public consciousness around the turn of the millennium, the world’s largest car manufacturers and oil concerns seemed loath to adapt and funded the climate sceptic movement. While the growth in car ownership slowed and then declined slightly in Western Europe, it skyrocketed in much of the developing world. In 2007, Channel 4 broadcast Martin Durkin’s The Great Global Warming Swindle, much to the chagrin of the vocal army of climate change fundamentalists such as Guardian columnist George Monbiot. We soon learned the two pillars of the new religion of scientism, peer-review and the scientific consensus. Superficially, it makes sense for rigorous research papers to undergo methodical scrutiny before publication. If a scientist dependent on corporate sponsorship suppresses key evidence about the safety of her sponsor’s products, it seems fair for a more neutral academic to correct the bias. Science can only thrive with complete transparency and open debate on the interpretation of evidence. However, in practice, peer review often serves as a form of corporate censorship to ensure scientific publications do not contradict the preferred consensus. The latter term no longer refers to a thesis supported by almost indisputable evidence but to the received truth, i.e. a dogmatically enforced orthodoxy. On the MMR debacle, we saw most of the centre-left establishment, academia and the LM Gang adhere strictly to the preferred narrative that the triple vaccines were extremely safe and could not trigger regressive autism in a small susceptible subset of children. Opposition tended to come more from social conservatives, back-to-nature bohemian types and a handful of dissident medics, most notably Dr Andrew Wakefield and Dr Joseph Mercola. Yet on climate change, the LM Gang sided with the mavericks who disputed the IPCC’s scientific consensus. By 2010 any scientist, such as Australian meteorologist William Kininmonth or Canadian zoologist, Susan Crockford, who challenged the consensus would struggle to get their research papers peer-approved. Around the same time, the big energy cartels embraced the transition to a post-carbon economy. BP rebranded itself as Beyond Petroleum. All along their main goal had been to hold humanity to ransom by controlling the resources that regulate our material freedom. If all communities were self-sufficient in energy, water, food and essential raw materials, the big energy mafia would be out of business. On the fringes, two visions of our post-carbon future vied for our attention.
One involved the re-localisation of our economy through greater self-reliance and a more frugal existence with fewer but more durable machines. Some envisaged such a scenario might evolve as a natural reaction to a future worldwide economic collapse. When modern distribution chains fail to deliver the goods amid financial mayhem, people will have no choice but to learn once again to grow their own food. However, in many densely populated urban areas, this is simply not a practical option without substantial reallocation of land use and redistribution of population centres. Some have pointed to urban farms in Detroit’s sprawling suburbs as an example, but the city not only had plenty of disused land that could be repurposed, its population had declined.
The other vision of a green utopia harnesses advanced technology on a global scale to radically reduce our collective carbon footprint. It reduces human beings to the status of environmental hazards whose activities must be micromanaged to protect our delicate ecosystem. It’s almost the polar opposite of the loose network of decentralised self-regulating communities that early environmentalists had envisioned.
Green-labelled parties have long strayed from their original focus on ecological sustainability to champion other causes that require greater reliance on remote organisations. Over the last twenty odd years, green politicians have been more interested in welcoming unbalanced migratory flows, allegedly caused by climate change, and in promoting transgender ideology than in saving natural habitats. Such policies inevitably reduce self-sufficiency. If millions more people move to a region that is already a net importer of food and other essential resources, it becomes even more reliant on international trade and finance. Likewise, only male-female partnerships can reproduce naturally and raise the next generation with strong cultural bonds to their forebears. Alternative family structures with single or same-sex parents rely much more on state intervention and biotechnology. Here the new greens, as we may call them, have converged with the classic RCP position that technology would free humanity from the shackles of mother nature. While the LM Gang still lend lip service to free speech and carefree consumerism, the greens pretend to care about the planet and the rights of indigenous peoples. Behind the scenes, the same multinational corporations pull their strings.
The Great Reset
In the run-up to the corona crisis, the notional left in its social democratic, radical chic and eco-warrior garbs had abandoned the settled working classes and called for restrictions on free speech under the pretext of combatting hate crimes. This left a political vacuum for millions of disillusioned voters who felt totally betrayed by successive Labour, Liberal Democrat and Tory administrations and unpersuaded by the short-lived UKIP and Brexit parties. The LM Gang made a strategic decision to back the campaign to leave the EU. Claire Fox even won a seat in the European Parliamentary elections after Theresa May’s government had failed to respect the outcome of the 2016 EU referendum. In the same period, the likes of Brendan O’Neill would appear on new alternative media outlets, such as Dave Rubin Show, alongside American intellectuals on the libertarian right. Three core beliefs seem to unite these new media pundits. First state regulation, including limits on free speech, should be minimised. Second, capitalism has been a fantastic success story that has vastly expanded the horizons of billions of human beings. Third, Israel is largely a force for good, but Islam represents a major threat to liberal democracy. How exactly do we square the RCP’s historic support for Sinn Fein, its radical critique of Western meddling in Rwanda and in the former Yugoslavia with its newfound love of Israel and its abject failure to criticise the growing power of the biotech mafia? The answer is simple. The LM Gang are polemicists who co-opt causes that resonate with a large cross-section of their target audience to demolish the arguments of the principled opposition to the ruling elites. Their disciples could make a radical Marxist case for almost anything as long as they can conveniently distance themselves from their partners in crime. Brendan O’Neill is no stranger to the population debate. He has repeatedly argued against neo-Malthusianism. I find it hard to believe the LM Gang could not have been aware before 2020 that Boris Johnson’s father Stanley has long advocated radical depopulation. Boris himself penned a letter to the Times of London in 2007 urging the government to address the issue of overpopulation. Yet Boris chose to elevate Claire Fox to the House of Lords for her services to the campaign to leave the EU. Her critique of the lockdowns has always stopped well short of questioning the dubious science behind it and, more importantly, the government’s true motivations for spending countless billions of pounds on the mass administration of dodgy mRNA injections. Big Pharma can rely on Claire to provide controlled opposition to the more unpopular aspects of the covid psyop, which was always just a means to an end. The LM Gang treat free speech as an academic debate about toxic identity politics but fail to attack Big Tech’s blacklisting of leading scientists such as Dr Peter McCullough, Dr Mike Yeadon or Prof. Luc Montagnier because privately they agree with the censors.
The virus scare may have served to justify previously unthinkable policies such as antisocial distancing, forced isolation and face-mask mandates, but the medium-term goal has always been a radical shift to a centralised technocratic world order, marketed as the Great Reset. Its proponents will move heaven and earth to bring every human being into their surveillance grid. Both the green and black strands of the technophile left have failed to oppose the biggest transfer of power from the masses to the ruling classes in human history. One can only conclude they are complicit and their apparent differences over demographic sustainability, free speech or the Palestinian question are merely rhetorical. The descendants of the old RCP are in bed with the architects of the technocratic coup.