It was only a matter of time before the waning US Empire and its loyal allies had to withdraw from Afghanistan. The US outlay over the last 20 years has been around $2 trillion. This astronomical sum may have empowered the likes of Halliburton, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin but it has brought Afghanis and military personnel alike nothing but death, destruction and more virulent strains of Islamic fundamentalism. Predictably much of the Western Media has blamed the current incumbent masquerading as the USA’s Commander-in-Chief for abandoning his troops and allies. The stage is set for Joe Biden’s exit for health reasons. The new Global Empire no longer needs American and European troops trapped in Central Asia. They can let China, Iran and India fill the vacuum. Besides, those troops may soon be needed much closer to home.
Have you noticed that some of the same high-profile opinion leaders who once evangelised humanitarian wars are now among the strongest advocates of our emerging bio-security state? They promoted the first kind of intervention to spread liberal democracy and overthrow tyrants and the latest kind to rid the world of a nasty disease. I’m thinking naturally of the likes of Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell in the British context, but Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Justin Trudeau and Jacinda Ardern are very much in the same mould. Younger leaders may have distanced themselves from past escapades that have since proven electorally unpopular. However, they are ideologically committed to the concept of interventionism to guide us towards their vision of a progressive utopia or rather to put the little people in their place.
Interventionism is the idea that large organisations should take over the management of individuals, families and communities. It may take many forms. Outwardly it may mean military actions against naughty local leaders who fail to cooperate fully with multinational entities. However, it may also involve government agencies taking coercive actions to regulate the behaviour of people who fail to comply with expected psychological, medical or environmental norms. While many wishful thinking lefties may have opposed recent military interventions in the Middle East, they often championed coercive social interventions against people in their own country as necessary means to a progressive end. Such interventions may include early years mental health screening, gender theory lessons in primary schools, taking children into care if their parents fail to comply with expected behavioural norms, monitoring politically incorrect speech on social media or in people’s private spaces and censoring media outlets that permit dissent from the dominant progressive narrative. More disturbingly, we have now learned such progressive interventions may also entail stay-at-home orders, mandatory medical procedures, digital health passports and total surveillance, allegedly to protect the public against ever-mutating nanoscopic genetic sequences.
What else do these policies all have in common? They all have powerful lobbies deeply embedded in the world’s media giants and administrations and require multi-billion dollar marketing campaigns to win public support, usually by spreading fear that a failure to take immediate action will result in greater human misery. By this logic, a failure to bomb Afghanistan could have, purportedly, condemned Afghani women to permanent enslavement under Taliban rule. A failure to invade Iraq could have let Saddam Hussein deploy weapons of mass destruction and continue torturing his own people. A failure to impose strict coronavirus containment measures could lead to a proliferation of vulnerable people dying from respiratory infections. And last but not least, a failure to track the movement of every human being on the planet through mandatory microchip implants could lead to more tragic child abductions, such as the much-publicised Madeleine McCann story. In all cases, technocratic lobbyists want us to trade personal responsibility and traditional cohesive communities for the engineered safety of their corporate partners.
The alternative to interventionism is not necessarily complete anarchy but rather decentralised management of our affairs or self-determination at a personal and communal level. In the normal course of events, the cultural and ethical choices of other individuals, families, communities and small nation-states should be none of our business. The last century of growing interconnectedness has shown us that more humane societies are also more successful in the long run. Societies with greater personal freedom attract the best and brightest minds and let their people unleash their creativity. Given a choice, nobody wants to live in tyranny, but some may wish to suppress the freedoms granted to the great unwashed to secure greater freedom in their own neighbourhood. Totalitarian regimes could only survive by granting cooperative key workers special privileges. Under international law, self-defence remains the only justification for military action. That’s why George W Bush and Tony Blair had to use weapons of mass destruction as a pretext for the invasion of Iraq back in 2003. The trouble with humanitarian wars is that all sides in a conflict can play the same game. As countries like Australia ban protests and keep their citizenry under house arrest, other regional powers may take the moral high ground. China may never need to occupy Australia militarily, but corporations with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party will find it much easier to acquire the country’s assets with a dumbed-down populace.
Just as the eye-watering sums squandered on the occupation of Afghanistan did not defeat terrorism or Islamic fundamentalism, the trillions of dollars spent worldwide on covid containment measures will not eradicate deadly viruses. Likewise, the colossal expenditures on psychiatric screening and surveillance of private lives will not free us of emotional distress or child abuse. They will serve instead to identify troublemakers and remove children from their parental homes. Strict censorship and tight controls on the free movement of ordinary citizens can suppress all evidence of sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by the privileged classes. Nearly all top-down interventions, however well-intentioned they may seem, serve to consolidate elite power. The phoney humanitarian wars of the early 21st century empowered the military-industrial complex. Now, the battle against elusive coronaviruses has facilitated the greatest transfer of wealth and power away from the affluent upper-middle classes to the biotech-industrial complex.
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, Dame 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 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 collective 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 as 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.
How the quest for greater independence is being usurped by power-hungry control freaks
I make no bets on the outcome of the snap General Election scheduled for 12th December. Last time a healthy Tory majority seemed almost certain until a couple of weeks before polling and after a disastrous Conservative election campaign. For the first time in recent history Labour did much better than expected. My hunch is Boris Johnson's party will win a comfortable majority of seats because the core working class electorate have lost all faith in Labour, but I doubt the resulting managerial team will do much to protect British workers from the excesses of globalism. I hope the government's ineptitude may oddly strengthen the resilience of ambitious youngsters as they realise the state will not help them fulfil their dreams and thus avoid succumbing to a prevailing culture of victimhood and entitlement.
We may well see another shift among the affluent managerial and business classes from the Tories to the misnamed Liberal Democrats (or the illiberal unDemocrats as I call them), while many traditional Labour voters either sit at home, strategically vote Conservative or flirt with the Brexit Party to keep out Labour, whom they now see as the party of unlimited mass migration, toxic identity politics and undeliverable spending commitments. However, in Scotland Labour will lose out not only to the Conservatives, but to a resurgent SNP capitalising on fashionable anti-English sentiment. They see Brexit as the brainchild of English Tories eager to resurrect the British Empire. If we assume current polling is correct, the political map of mainland Britain will be split into four. The Tories will dominate English shires and towns, the Liberal Democrats will do well in the most affluent neighbourhoods, while Labour will keep most of its metropolitan strongholds among its special victim groups, welfare-dependents, social engineers and trendy students. By contrast, owing to the vagaries of the First Past the Post system, Nicola Sturgeon's cult movement look set to snap up most Scottish seats, as the anti-SNP vote is too evenly split. The Brexit Party will be lucky to gain 1 or 2 seats in former UKIP strongholds, but they may succeed only in letting Labour hold on to a few more marginals.
The ongoing Brexit saga amid yet another General Election with very uninspiring choices has revealed two unwelcome realities. First most nation states have limited independence from global banks and corporations, supranational institutions and a well-funded network of nominally independent non-governmental organisations (NGOs) posing as humanitarian charities. Second, and perhaps more important, it has exposed what our ruling classes really think about democracy. If they cannot persuade the great unwashed masses to endorse their social engineering plans by electing a bunch of middle managers who will cooperate with the agents of change, they will destabilise your country and have you begging for their intervention.
Whatever the relative merits of the European Union may be, the outcome represented a huge kick in the backside for the metropolitan elite, who for decades have presided over the steady transfer of power from time-honoured local institutions to more remote international entities in the name of progress. Let us be under no illusions the EU is only a means to an end, not the end itself. There are many good reasons to welcome close cooperation among Europe's disparate peoples to protect our cultural heritage and defend us against the worst excesses of what we once viewed as neoliberal globalism, especially as a counterbalance to the North American and Chinese models with their extreme forms of plutocracy. Just 15 years ago in the aftermath of the joint US and UK occupation of Iraq, many of us wanted to distance ourselves from the British and American foreign policy establishment. Many of us hoped a Europe Community of independent peace-loving and democratic nation states with strong protections both for personal freedom and social justice could offer an alternative to Anglo-American capitalism.
While many other countries appeared insecure and in imminent danger of fragmentation, civil war and greater subjugation to imperial forces, Britain seemed impervious. Only the Northern Irish conflict ever posed a security threat, although behind the scenes the British Civil Service has long viewed the province as more of a burden than a strategic asset. Scottish and Welsh nationalism remained relatively tame disputes, quibbling mainly about the extent of autonomy within the United Kingdom. Few thought any major part of the UK would join another major superstate. The Republic of Ireland has since its inception remained steadfastly neutral, so even if Northern Ireland voted to join the Republic, there would be no fundamental shift in the balance of power. Leaving aside widespread opposition to the deployment of the Trident nuclear missiles in Faslane just northwest of Glasgow, Scotland has long been way too reliant on tight integration with the British military industrial complex for mainstream politicians to advocate military independence from the rest of the UK and from NATO, although this was the official SNP position until 2012.
Before around 2012 the European issue seemed very much off the radar. Transnational bodies like the EU, NATO and the UN were just facts of our increasingly internationalised lives, but not things we felt affected our everyday lives. Broadly speaking most Europeans opposed further centralisation preferring to keep control of economic, social and military policy at a more accountable national level, but many still believed our politicians somehow represented our interests at various international gatherings. We saw this in referendums in Ireland, France, the Netherlands and Denmark where voters rejected new treaties (respectively of Nice and Lisbon) only to see their votes either ignored or to be forced to vote again after cosmetic changes. However, we could also argue that the public have grown so disillusioned with the sorry state of national politics that they'd rather place their trust in shiny new progressive institutions that transcend traditional boundaries. For decades the establishment media has tried to persuade Europeans that they can trust the EU and NATO more than their local regimes with their chequered history of corruption and despotism. In the early 1970s not only was most of Eastern Europe behind the Iron Curtain, but Greece, Spain and Portugal still had military dictatorships appealing to traditional Christian values to ward off the dual dangers of Eastern communism and Western decadence. Not surprisingly millions of younger Europeans welcomed the fall of these paternalistic regimes and embraced a new era of mass consumerism combined with a comfortable social safety net. While millions of Greeks, Spaniards and Portuguese may be critical of the budgetary constraints imposed on their governments to keep alive the Euro, they still tend to associate the EU with the greater prosperity they've enjoyed since the 1980s. The situation in Britain is very different. The golden era of the British working classes was the 1950s and 60s. Sure we lacked many of the modern conveniences made more affordable by recent technological progress, e.g. many had outside toilets, coal fires instead of central heating and cars were still a luxury for many, but what mattered most is that the relative quality of life was steadily improving with a high level of upwards social mobility. A typical school leaver could aspire to getting a decent skilled job as an apprentice and earn enough to be able to marry, buy a house and start a family by his or her mid to late twenties, all without welfare handouts. We hoped progress would empower families to lead more independent lives while still enjoying the fruits of a civil society with a high degree of social trust and mutual respect. Little did we know that many of our mission-critical jobs would be first outsourced and then automated as big business had to rein in the collective bargaining power of trade unions. The long-drawn-out demise of British industry, kept on life support during the 1970s, weakened the resolve and resilience of the working classes, blamed for demanding unmerited pay rises, being too lazy and lacking the industriousness of their European and Japanese colleagues. Yet to this day, many observers simply blame Thatcher for turning off the life support machine that squandered countless billions on trying to save outdated industries that could not survive the challenge of global competition able not only to tap into a seemingly limitless supply of cheap labour, but to quickly close or retool outdated manufacturing facilities with little regard to job security.
I noticed even as long ago as the 1979 General Election that saw Margaret Thatcher's Tories win a healthy majority of seats, Labour had begun to shift its focus from standing up for workers' rights to championing welfare and public services. Thatcher managed to appeal to the aspirational working classes, the kind of people who wanted to own a house, drive a car, holiday in Spain and earn a decent living through a career in the growing service sector. While some workers adapted and some new light manufacturing outfits took the place of heavy industry, many youngsters in Labour's working class heartlands outside the more prosperous South East of England inherited the helplessness of their parents who had failed to adapt and thus became trapped on welfare or short-term jobs in call centres leading inevitably to dysfunctional households and social dislocation. Nonetheless a major rebranding effort saved the Labour Party as it embraced Thatcherite reforms, the information revolution and pop culture while promising not to raise taxes. I was an early sceptic of Blairite Magic. Somehow his soundbites lacked substance or analytical integrity, but one slogan stuck in my mind "Education, Education, Education". If you believed the hype, we were on the verge of a quantum leap in scientific excellence. The next generation would become talented doctors, inventors, bioscientists, software developers and robotics engineers. Alas very few did, but many more became recruiters, public relations officers, graphic designers, creative directors or worked on the peripheries of emerging high-tech industries in new-fangled specialisations such as forensic science or environmental science, learning how to engage with technologies that someone else developed to monitor other people's behaviour, market goods or ensure minimum healthy and safety standards. With such a dearth of tech-savvy innovators and entrepreneurs, British professionals have focused mainly on people management and persuasion, a sector encompassing not only advertising, public relations and entertainment, but behaviour and attitude modification through charities and education. For every engineer developing new technology to help us solve practical environmental challenges, there are many more climate change awareness officers or busy bodies lecturing parents on how to deal with tantrums without smacking. The net result is a dual culture of dependence, either on state handouts or on corporate largesse, and greatly reduced personal resilience. The first Blair government famously rebranded Britain as Cool Britannia, more about rock stars than scientific pioneers. Now the last gasp of British cultural innovation has been co-opted by the multibillion dollar entertainment industry and blended into a global culture disconnected from the specific locales of post-imperial suburban Britain. In the same period Global English has begun its shift from a high-status international language modelled on standard British or American English to a rapidly mutating form of NewSpeak inspired by a worldwide intelligentsia with little reference to the speech patterns of the transient residents of London or New York City. Native speakers have thus lost the relative advantage they once had over those who acquired the language later in life.
As a historical paradox the country that has given the world its dominant lingua franca now suffers from an acute identity crisis as progressive opinion leaders attempt to deny there is such a thing as a native English person. This mirrors trends in other European countries with almost identical claims going mainstream in Germany and Sweden too. National identity for many in cosmopolitan areas has been reduced to mere temporary allegiance to your country of residence in occasional sporting events.
What's left of Britishness anyway?
Many Ulster unionists are none too happy about Boris Johnson's deal to keep their province in regulatory alignment with the EU's Customs Union and Single Market with customs checks in the Irish Sea rather than along the meandering border with the Republic of Ireland. Increasingly only the Democratic Unionist Party defend traditional values, while Sinn Fein, claiming to represent the Catholic community, has recently endorsed positions on gay marriage, LGBTQ-friendly sex education and abortion perfectly aligned with the cultural left, but at variance with Catholic teachings. However, a growing proportion of the younger generation identify neither with Protestantism nor Catholicism and are very open to unification with what has become a secular Ireland. The British Deep State seems more concerned about the perceived Russian threat than subsidising Northern Ireland.
The begs the question whether the CEOs of UK PLC really care that much about the constitutional status of Scotland, now they know a nominally independent Scotland would both stay in NATO and join the new European Defence Union. Universalist media outlets treat Nicola Sturgeon's SNP much more favourably than the Brexit Party or even the Tory Party.
However, I sense a split between the Atlanticist and Europhile wings of British intelligentsia. Recent statements from Emanuel Macron, Guy Verhofstadt and the EU's new President Ursula von der Leyen have revealed a gradual shift from a unified European military command working within NATO alongside the USA to a European Army taking over from the USA in global policing operations in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia. More disturbing is the growing hostility among the Western European elites towards Russia. In just a few years neo-conservative war hawks have shifted their lobbying operations from Washington DC to Brussels. To match US military spending, the Europe Union would have to double spending, something that would be very unpopular at a national level, but could only be justified by the spectre of a Russian and/or Chinese threat. Even if Trump is re-elected in 2020, US military adventurism has peaked. The federal government can no longer justify such a massive defence budget when they have bigger challenges at home with rapidly changing demographics. It's only a matter of time before someone like Tulsi Gabbard or Alexandria Ocasio Cortez becomes the president of a debt-ridden federation in a post-dollar world order, dominated by the Chinese and Indian economies.
Without Scotland and Ulster, England and Wales would be a very disunited place with London behaving more and more like a city state divorced from its geographic hinterland and parallel communities in many other towns and cities.
In all likelihood Boris Johnson's BRINO or Brexit In Name Only will avert Scottish Independence for a few years before other events overshadow it, Ulster quietly merges with a post-Christian Eire and the Scots turn against the SNP. Meanwhile continental Europe will struggle to cope with the fast pace of cultural and demographic metamorphosis, a looming banking crisis and an escalation of the civil unrest that has spread across France over the last year. We may just be able to salvage a federation of the British Isles, but with waning faith in traditional British institutions such as Monarchy (and far be it from me to comment on Prince Andrew's close friendship with American sex predator Jeffrey Epstein) this island seems ripe for Balkan-style destabilisation with the people's splat over Brexit serving as a trial run for a much deeper conflict over culture, identity and power.
I wish we could wish away any historical or geopolitical controversies related to Jews or Muslims and all live together in peace and harmony. As it happens, for many years Jews, Christians and Muslims managed somehow to reconcile their differences in countries like Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq where today Islamic fundamentalism threatens religious minorities.
As I write the world is undergoing technological and cultural change at such a rapid rate that makes it hard to foresee the future trajectory of human civilisation over the next couple of generations. Yet just as artificial intelligence colludes with nano-robotics to supplant human workers and biotechnology conspires to render motherhood obsolete, many remain obsessed with time-honoured theological disputes over allegiance to religious cults. Let us be in no doubt to discuss either Islamism or Zionism is to invite ridicule.
How can we interpret our modern world through the ideological lenses of Islamism and Zionism? This narrow obsession with the Jewish and Islamic questions can lead to some odd alliances that transcend the traditional left versus right split with severe implications for intellectual freedom.
One may rationally analyse the power of international cabals over traditional societies. If we look at the most influential movers and shakers in media, banking, literature, science, politics and academia, it's hard to deny that some ethnic groups are much more prevalent than others. For instance of 892 Nobel prizes awarded as of 2017, 201 or 22.5% went to Jews, despite being only around 0.2% of the world's population. Likewise Sikhs exert disproportionate influence on Indian business and administration.
We may also objectively study the causes of the current conflict between the Zionist State and Palestinian peoples and attempt to sift through a sea of claims and counter-claims about heavy-handed Israeli suppression and Islamic terrorism. I've listened to both sides of the debate. I shared a flat with three Palestinians in Italy and my former Jewish landlady in North London kept complaining to the BBC and the Independent whenever they highlighted Israeli war crimes. I know the arguments off by heart. The Palestinian version is that the Zionists stole their land and created an apartheid state in all but name, using American and European (mainly German) money to build new Jewish settlements in territories assigned to the Palestinians in 1948. The pro-Israeli version is that Palestinian Arabs are Jordanians who can easily move to any of the surrounding Arab countries, while Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorist organisations who want to drive Jews into the sea. However, this tittle tattle ignores two other indisputable facts. First Israel is about the same size as Wales and even if we add the Palestinian territories its total land area is still just 28,000 km2. Second the population of this combined area has grown from just shy of 2 million in 1948 (with 800,000 in Israel proper) to 13 million today, that's 7.7 million in Israel proper and 4.9 million in the Palestinian territories. Yet much of the land is semi-arid or desert. It's only through the miracles of modern irrigation and trade that Israel not only feeds its people, but is now a net food exporter. Life is much tougher for most in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but in part due to overcrowding and larger families. The fledgling Jewish state was built on two historical injustices, the expulsion of around 700,000 Palestinians from its newly assigned territories and, of course, the Nazi-era genocide of European Jews. By no stretch of imagination does the latter justify the former, however hard some revisionist historians try to blame Palestinian collaborators, such as the former Mufti of Jerusalem Al-Husseini, for the Nazi Holocaust, as one could just as easily highlight the 1933 Haavara agreement between the Zionist Federation of Germany and the new National Socialist regime. The classic mistake many part-time historians make is to blame ordinary people for the machinations of their ruling classes or for atrocities in far-flung lands over which they have no control. Some Arab Palestinians may well have sympathised with the Axis powers for the same reason that some Irishmen did, on the misguided grounds that my enemy's enemy must be my friend. Nonetheless the current demographic reality of the former British mandate precludes an easy solution that can please all parties concerned and guarantee lasting harmony. Unless all parties concerned are prepared to compromise, I do not foresee an easy solution that does not inconvenience a large section of Israeli / Palestinian inhabitants.
Why should Western bystanders care about the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories or the proliferation of Islamic fundamentalism any more than many other prickly disputes around the world? How did this small plot of land become an ideological battleground between rival factions of anti-Zionists and fanatical friends of Israel. It's a cause célébre that somehow manages to unite anti-imperialist leftwingers and Muslims against Israel-firsters, who now include not just influential American Neocons, but many social conservatives. Much of the new right across North America and Europe is avowedly pro-Israel. Geert Wilders, Katie Hopkins and Tommy Robinson have all expressed their unconditional support for the Jewish State and have condemned Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organisations. Benjamin Netanhayu was not only the first head of state to congratulate Donald Trump on winning the US presidential electoral college, but has fostered close relations with prominent social conservative politicians in Eastern Europe such as Viktor Orban.
The Holy Land conflict acts as a proxy among shifting alliances. Few are really interested in the plight of Palestinians or the protection and self-determination of religious Jews in a hostile world. Of greater interest to me has always been the influence of leading Zionists on international politics and their role in fomenting endless internecine wars in the Middle East and further afield. Of note is substantial collusion between Saudi Arabia and the Israeli government, both staunch allies of the United States. If Israeli leaders really wanted to secure a prosperous Jewish homeland living in peace with its neighbours, why would they arm and train the most fanatical Islamic fundamentalists? Just as US-led military adventurism does not serve the interests of ordinary working class Americans, covert Israeli support for Islamic militias in Syria actively imperils Orthodox Jews in Israel with nowhere else to go, while affluent global Zionists with dual nationality can easily relocate. How odd it must seem that the latter group are now befriending proponents of the growing nationalist counterculture. Back in the day many on the real far right, by which I mean those who openly sympathise with the fascist or national socialist dictatorships of the mid twentieth century, would oppose Zionism, sometimes seeking common cause with Islamists. Indeed a propensity towards Shoah revisionism often served as a litmus test for far-right thinking as country after country banned denial of Hitler's death camps. More important than the tragic historical episode itself, which sadly we cannot undo, is the exploitation of its memory to justify modern wars or stifle rational debate on key scientific and historical issues. Today's Judaeophobic right has shrunk to a hardcore of Third Reich nostalgics mainly found in a few areas of Eastern Europe such as Lithuania and Western Ukraine where the memory of Stalinist betrayal and ethnic cleansing lingers on. The Soviet Union invaded the Baltic Republics as part of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Fast forward 70 years the German intelligentsia not only champions a federal European Union with the eventual dissolution of traditional nation states, but has welcomed a massive influx of Muslim newcomers with very different views on morality and twentieth century history.
Why people choose to believe one version of history
In a perfect world we would critically analyse all historical and current events in a cool, calm and collected way. Yet we tend to decide many key controversies on emotions rather than with any regard to facts on the ground, which are often complex or open to multiple interpretations. How many people died the US kill during the Vietnam war or indeed how many did it murder during its occupation of Iraq? It all depends how we count and attribute deaths.
How political factions squabble over the Semitic Question
The old far right, sympathising with twentieth century fascist regimes, often sided with Muslims as the enemy of their enemy and attempted to downplay the industrial scale of Nazi crimes.
The new populist right usually sides with Israel against Islamic expansionism as they want to defend the concept of compact nation states built on ethnic identity and shared cultural norms.
The old left defended the rights of all oppressed peoples to self-determination and often sympathised with the Zionist cause, viewing Israel as a bastion of social democracy.
Since the 1967 six day war the radical left has usually opposed the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and its role in supporting or driving US foreign policy. Noam Chomsky's The Fateful Triangle sets forth an exhaustive critique of Israeli foreign and domestic policy, but still advocates a two-state solution with a Jewish homeland as envisaged in the 1947 partition of Israel and Palestine/
The far left have openly sided with radical Muslims in their principled opposition to the very existence of Israel as a Jewish ethno-state. This takes two forms. One championed by some anti-Zionist Jews, such as Gilad Atzmon, foresee a united secular Palestine/Israel where Jews, Muslims, Christians and Atheists live together happily in peace. Others just want a complete Islamic takeover of the Levant. Some on the fringes of far left have internalised a radical critique of Jewish power and, like many Islamists, call into question the orthodox narrative of the Shoah.
Most Muslims denounce Israeli suppression of Palestinian self-determination, yet seem much less concerned about the plight of other Muslims living under repressive Islamic regimes. Divisions within the Muslim diaspora seldom adhere to the traditional Western left / right paradigm. The views of many radical Muslims may vehemently oppose US and Israel imperialism, while espousing a regressive ideology antithetical to the values of the liberal enlightenment.
Most Jews support Israel and often its wider neoconservative foreign policy agenda, i.e. instinctively distrusting Israel's enemies and ignoring its frenemies such as Saudi Arabia. However, many Jews do not, most notably Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein in the US or the late Gerald Kaufman in the UK. By contrast ultra-Zionist attitudes are prevalent among much of the new populist right in North America and Europe. You're much more likely to see blue and white Star of David flags at rightwing rallies these days than swastikas.
If you don't have close ties to the region, you may well project your own insecurities and prejudices onto the dispute in the same way as many Scottish nationalists may wish for any team but England to win in the World Cup. Yet one big question remains unanswered in the age of global convergence. Why do some influential Jewish billionaires, such as George Soros, support open borders with so much zeal, while Israel continues to enforce strict immigration controls? Here many make a fundamental error of analysis, conflating the interests of powerful international elites with those of plebeians with strong ethno-religious affiliation. Today we witness a battle between the unrooted professional classes or anywheres, who can easily move as long as they find accommodation within a secluded neighbourhood and stay in touch with other like-minded professionals, and the rooted somewheres, who often find their neighbourhoods and wider social support networks utterly transformed by rapid waves of mass migration, a thesis that David Goodhard has popularised in his recent book A Road to Somewhere.
How the British Foreign Policy Elite favoured its short-term commercial interests over the long-term security and wellbeing of its citizens.
Just in case you haven't read the news. Seven people were killed and 48 others injured in a van and knife attack on London Bridge and Borough Market, in which three suspects were shot dead by police. The perpetrators chanted This is for Allah. This comes just 12 days after an attack at the Manchester Arena with 22 fatalities and dozens more casualties.
When will we finally admit it? We can only enjoy the relative freedom to walk the streets of our cities in safety unperturbed by random terrorist attacks or oppressive policing, if first we manage our social environment sensibly and second we all share values of common decency and mutual respect. The fiction we prefer to believe is, despite many teething troubles, we are somehow all embarking on a new era of universal peace and love, breaking down barriers that once divided us and opening our hearts and minds to humanity's wonderful diversity. I agree cultural diversity may often be an asset because there's more than one way to interpret the world around us or organise complex human societies. The reality is too many of us are competing in a global rat race to acquire a bigger slice of the wealth created by a handful of global corporations to further our own subculture (whether it's postmodern narcissism or Islamic fundamentalism), genetic lineage or just satisfy our whims and fancies. In short, we may preach one-world love, but we practice selfish indulgence, which naturally lets others, smarter or more influential than we are, manipulate our desires and prey on our weaknesses.
Many wishful thinkers (a hackneyed epithet, I know) simply want to have their cake and eat it. They want to benefit from the wonders of dynamic, vibrant and fluid multicultural societies (which are really converging on a consumer monoculture) and a growing economy with plenty of technological innovation, yet complain when a few misfits spoil their party with acts of the vilest hatred imaginable. Whatever crimes our rulers may have committed, one can hardly blame carefree youngsters enjoying a pop concert, performed incidentally by an artist who has supported pro-refugee charities, or late night revellers in one of Europe's most ethnically diverse cities. The attackers did not care if you read the Guardian or Daily Telegraph, if you support open borders, if you oppose the Syrian government, if you hate Vladimir Putin, if you favoured gay marriage, marched against the Iraq War or dutifully displayed refugees welcome signs. To indoctinated Jihadis, you are all just infidels and will suffer the same fate as Orthodox Christians in Syria and Egypt. These attacks have grown in intensity over the last five years with hundreds of deaths every month and tens of thousands forced to flee their homes.
Let us face the ugly truth. Islamic fundamentalism is by any measure one of the most illiberal, intolerant and regressive ideologies that has ever cursed our planet. Its respect for human life and real cultural diversity is comparable in every way to Naziism. Yet today's self-declared anti-fascists, who in Britain organise under the banner of Hope Not Hate, prefer to march against fringe Little Englanders, UKIP or anyone else who supports stronger immigration controls, wishes to preserve traditional English, Welsh or Scottish culture or just uphold the kind of liberal values we had adopted by the 1960s and 70s in the face of Islamic fundamentalism and state-enforced suppression of intellectual freedom. If Hope Not Hate and antifa really wanted to combat totalitarianism, they would march against Islamic extremism rather than appease it.
Our government's reaction to these attacks has always been the same: to restrict everyone's freedom and privacy. It took Prime Minister Theresa May just 12 hours to announce higher levels of Internet surveillance. So we all have to have our social media and private electronic correspondence monitored just in case we express sympathy for proscribed organisations or even for political causes opposed to our rulers' vision of globalisation. I honestly do not buy the theory that Western governments want to impose Islam on Europeans and North Americans. If Islamic fundamentalism colonises the West, as Francophone Algerian writer, Boualem Sansal, foretells in his recent apocalyptic novel 2084: The End of the World, it could in my view only occur due to a systemic collapse of Western civilisation, which continues to spread in the form of mass consumerism and rapid technological innovation in most of the world. If Saudi Arabia represents a threat, it does so with weaponry we sold them and with the proceeds of our addiction to its abundant cheap oil, which just happens to lie under their sand. If there were easy alternatives to fossil fuels, our energy companies would have adopted them decades ago. Indeed Norway and Japan have already converted most of their cars to hybrid or all-electric engines, but that transition will only partially relieve our dependence on petrochemicals. The Middle East quagmire and the emergence of radical Islam or Wahhabism is a direct consequence of decades of US, UK, Israeli and to a lesser extent French foreign policy in the region.
Naturally the affluent elites can always buy greater seclusion from the masses and the kind of internecine urban warfare that inevitably follows the breakdown of social stability, especially in locales with divergent ethnocultural communities. The last adjective implies a difference in ethnic background and/or in cultural identity. One's ethnicity is largely transmitted through one's parents and upbringing, while one's cultural identity, such as religious affiliation or adopted lifestyle, tends to be much more fluid.
There are two ethical justifications for military interventions abroad. One is to defend your own country against foreign aggression. The other, known as humanitarian intervention, is to prevent mass murder or obscene human rights abuses. For most of our history, our rulers have presented these rationales as defence of the fatherland and spreading our superior civilisation. Thus the British Empire saw its role as civilising primitive tribes and backward societies. Yet these pretexts have a very bad track record as the outcome of one allegedly defensive war can soon justify another war, whose rationale depends on a selective interpretation of objective reality. While we can certainly cite examples where the bad guys, i.e. the side with the most repressive or murderous regime, lost (e.g. the defeat of Nazi Germany), there are countless others where the winning military power is so dominant from a cultural and technological standpoint that it can rewrite history to fit the narrative it wishes its new citizens to believe. Europeans did not conquer the Americas and Australasia in order to liberate the native peoples of those continents, but to expand their mercantile empires and colonise new resource-rich land.
As Britain transitioned from a colonial power to a modern European state, its foreign policy elite had to find a new role as mere vassals of a larger US-centred corporate empire. Yet the UK continued to exert considerable influence in the post-colonial era. The Foreign Office and secret services had acquired a good deal of expertise in forging strategic alliances with ethnic or religious factions with a grievance against their new governing authorities. This was especially easy in the many artificial states created by post-colonial planners or in the case of Iraq, hastily drawn on a map as the victors of WW1 carved up the former Ottoman Empire. The Foreign Office's has for the last 60 odd years endeavoured to make the world safe for big business and thereby to capitalise on Britain's post-imperial influence on one hand, while destabilising any regional powers that threatened the supremacy of global corporations. In a complex world, this is no easy task especially when you're competing with rival powers such as Russia, China or India or even settling scores with allies like France (e.g. UK support for the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front to embarrass France over its previous support for the deposed Hutu-led Rwandan government).
Since the late 1990s the Blair, Brown, Cameron and now May administrations have presided over two policy areas that favour Britain's commercial and geopolitical interests over the security of its own people.
Interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria have not only destabilised those countries, they have unleashed a large migratory wave from a region with a high birthrate and serious environmental challenges. If humanitarian intervention had been successful, we might expect the migratory tide to ebb.
Relaxed immigration controls from the Muslim countries with easier family reunions. Official immigration restrictions may have seemed rather strict and even unfair on a personal level (the liberal media loves to cite examples of Australian or US citizens whose work visas have expired despite being married to UK nationals), but in practice a well-organised army of migration lawyers manage to circumvent most restrictions, so the UK's Muslim population has continued to grow both through new immigration and a high fertility rate. Vast swathes of London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bradford, Luton and many other towns and cities across the country now have Muslim majorities who live as parallel communities. The so-called liberal media has tried its level best to downplay the scale of creeping ethnic cleansing, but I've experienced its reality first hand. Many state schools in these voluntarily segregated districts have no non-Muslim pupils at all. Worse still, Islamic schools, often funded with Saudi money, have proliferated in our larger cities. For all the talk of multicultural harmony and integration, communities have grown apart as the traditional settled communities vote with their feet and move to outlying suburbs and satellite towns. Yet to many globalists, even to mention this problem is tantamount to racism.
I wish I could rally behind one of the major or minor parties in Theresa May's Snap General Election. To be honest, I have only ever voted as a protest, to show that the citizenry is somehow politically aware, but unhappy with our rulers' mischievous actions and plans. The alternative is to spoil your ballot paper or simply abstain altogether. In reality it doesn't seem to matter which party or coalition wins a majority of seats. We get more of the same. All elected politicians can do is negotiate with the real power brokers in banking cartels, corporate boardrooms and transnational organisations and promise their voters a bigger slice of the global pie. However, thanks to automation, globalisation of trade and extreme labour mobility, large multinationals can hold national governments to ransom.
So who if anyone will I vote for in this election? To vote Conservative, as sensible as some of their rhetoric may superficially sound, would only empower their corporate backers, who are currently devising strategies to leave the European Union, but to keep us in an amorphous World Union, because they've probably realised the EU is failing as a regional brand of global convergence. The Conservative Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, is more interested in pursuing US and Israeli foreign policy in the Middle East and spreading disinformation about Syria, Russia and Iran than he is in defending British jobs except for a few thousand employed in manufacturing fighter jets for the Saudi Air Force. I had briefly and very naively hoped that Boris would steer the UK away from its irresponsible support for mendacious military adventurism, alas his oratory skills have thus far only served the interests of the same neocon cabal that welcomed the USA's escalation of military confrontation with its foes. The Tories can only play the national unity card because the main opposition parties show little or no allegiance to the cultural identity and long-term economic interests of the settled population. The Brexit means Brexit mantra has become a charade and merely an excuse to prepare Britain for a new global role in wake of the EU's inevitable collapse as it fails to deal with record youth unemployment, a migrant crisis, mass migration from North Africa and Middle East and culture clashes between native peoples and growing Islamic communities.
Rhetoric and Special Interests
Never before have the interests of the professional elites differed so much from those of the huddled masses. Until recently the affluent professional and business classes actually needed the working classes as we called the bulk of the population reliant on hard graft and mediocre wages. The 1950s, 60s and 70s saw a rapid improvement in the living standards and technical expertise of ordinary working people. The 80s and 90s saw many former blue collar workers transition to the new information economy, but then the seemingly unstoppable pace of technological and social transformation led to the outsourcing or automation of new jobs. The working class had become expendable. Meanwhile the professional classes fell in love with globalisation. It meant not just more affordable travel and holiday villas, but inexpensive nannies and plumbers as well as more attractive bar staff. Just as some upper-middle class Britons did well in the country's colonies before the 1950s, taking advantage of their perceived academic superiority and their ability to exploit the gullibility of locals, today's professional classes love cosmopolitan diversity as long as they can afford to protect themselves from its worst excesses and need not compete at the bottom end of wage scale. To succeed in today's dynamic job market you need some distinctive talents that set you apart from your competitors. Otherwise for all your efforts and perseverance your job can easily be outsourced or automated. Would you rather buy coffee from an impersonal vending machine that gets the job done or from a grumpy old man with little charisma? Just as low-end jobs have become more insecure than ever, our establishment politicians want to deregulate the labour market even more. Have they learned nothing from the EU Referendum? 52% of voters did not support leaving the EU superstate because we hate the French, dislike Italian food or mean any harm to the good people of Poland, Bulgaria or Portugal. No, we voted leave mainly to protect jobs for our people rather than letting big business turn the country into a rich man's playground interspersed with ghettoes of new migrant workers and workless native underclasses. However, it is important to understand that the belittling and deskilling of the working classes is not just a European phenomenon. Just as Welsh steelworkers can lose out to cheap Chinese imports, Chinese steelworkers will sooner or later yield to robotisation. Simply leaving the EU will not rebalance the labour market especially as successive governments have failed to invest in training key professional categories such as medical staff.
How does this unfolding global reality stack up with the rhetoric of the most prominent political parties here in the UK? Oddly Theresa May's support for tougher immigration controls, leaving the EU (a prerequisite for the former pledge), selective state education and common sense economics resonate with much of the English middle classes. Corbyn may score a few points on military adventurism (if given airtime in the mainstream media) and the NHS, but few would trust Labour on economic competence. Without a strong economy, the government would have to cut public services even more as millions of Greeks, Italians and Spaniards have learned in recent years.
Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons
Modern sociologists no longer split people into working, middle and upper classes. Instead they prefer A, B, C1, C2, D and E. A-grade individuals form an elite of high-earning top professionals probably less than 4% of the population. They're the kind of people who can easily afford to buy a property of an exclusive area of London and may have a holiday home abroad. E-graders are effectively the workless underclasses trapped in a vicious cycle of welfare dependency, low attainment and emotional insecurity. They form around 8% of British citizens. D-graders are unskilled or semiskilled workers, i.e. the kind of people most affected by outsourcing and migrant labour, but who also depend on in-work benefits. This larger group, currently around 15% of adults, could easily join E-graders if they fail to learn the more intellectually demanding skills of the information age. C1 and C2-graders may think of themselves as middle class, but are usually struggling to make ends meet. They may be better educated and better paid than D-graders, but often only a few pay cheques from bankruptcy and homelessness. Together this grouping accounts for half the population. That leaves only group B, approx. 20â€“25% of the population, a motley crew of intermediate managers, administrators and mediocre professionals, the kind of people who are doing alright and more likely to welcome recent socio-economic changes.
Traditionally Labour did very well groups E, D and C2 and well enough in C1 to win elections, while the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats did best in the top three grades. Whatever your tribal loyalties may be or whatever you may think of Britain's foreign policies, the basic question most of ask is "to what extent will a party's likely policies benefit my family and my community?" Labour advocates higher spending on social welfare, but looser immigration controls and hence greater labour market competition. Thus if you're stuck in group E, Labour may still seem the most attractive option. You will be the first to lose out from planned and future cuts of welfare provision and may not like the prospect of low-paid non-jobs. However, this group is also statistically the least likely to vote at all and the most likely to switch to anti-establishment candidates, especially those who can appeal to identity politics. Unfortunately, as Labour is seen as weak on extreme labour mobility, Labour have lost most traditional working class voters in groups D, C2 and C1, except those ideologically committed to socialism (very few these days) or whose ethnographic-cultural identity leads them to favour continued high levels of net migration. Under Tony Blair and later Gordon Brown and to a lesser extent under Ed Miliband, Labour could still rely on a large chunk of the wishful thinking middle classes, the kind of people who want a fairer society built on strong economic foundations. However, the Blairite roadshow has now migrated to Liberal Democrats (who once opposed a Blairite war) and pro-EU faction of the Tory Party. After a disastrous performance in the 2015 General Election, I suspect the Liberal Democrats will be the main beneficiaries of remoaner opposition to Brexit among the affluent classes disaffected with Corbyn's Labour and with an apparently Little Britain Tory Party. Indeed arch remoaners (fervent supporters of the European Union and globalisation in general) see both rightwing Tories and leftwing Labour as anachronisms from the 1980s, yet have little to offer ordinary working people except the opportunity to compete in a global labour market that an elite of robotics engineers are busy automating.
Last but not least we have the idiot fringe, best represented by the Green Party. This group seriously believes all our social and environmental problems are caused by greedy tax-evading multinationals and climate-change-denying xenophobes and non-Muslim homophobes. All we need to do is adopt immature green technologies, litter our countryside with wind turbines and solar panels, build more cycle ways and replace social welfare with the basic income. In short let's turn the whole country into a giant university campus open to all and sundry. Greens tend to think everyone else is just like them, pseudo-intellectual virtue-signalling do-gooders reliant on corporate or state largesse. It all sounds very nice until you dwell on the logistics of powering a modern hospital or importing all the resources we need for our homes, household appliances and transport system. With a fraction of our current population, we might adapt to greater self-sufficiency, but with the Greens' opposition to any meaningful border controls, their policies are bound to end in economic collapse and social unrest. At heart I support green policies, as in favouring great self-sufficiency of regions, lower consumption and stable sustainable population levels. But the Greens clearly support greater dependence on global organisation and less personal and community autonomy.
The Scottish Dimension
Before 2007 for decades Scotland had been a Labour-controlled fiefdom. Not only was corruption rife, but the party let lobby groups use Scotland as a social engineering playground, encountering opposition mainly from entrenched conservative forces within the Churches. Labour policies oversaw a continued brain drain of Scotland's best and brightest to better-paid jobs down south and turned this one proud country into a subsidy junkie, while North Oil profits flowed to multinationals and Central Government. For all their waffle about devolution, Labour and the Conservatives before them made Scotland even more dependent on the United Kingdom. The two biggest employers here in Fife are the council (20% of the workforce) and the Ministry of Defence as well as Rosyth Dockyards (now run by Babcock International) and Raytheon, both reliant on contracts either from the UK's armed forces or its military partners, principally the United States. It should come as little surprise that the SNP could capitalise on decades of arrogant subjugation and hand power back to the people of Scotland. Alas once in office the SNP behaved just like New Labour with a few grandiose infrastructure projects such as the new Queensferry Road Bridge, but even more social engineering. Their biggest failure has been in education, the one area of government intervention that can help bright children from deprived backgrounds aspire to more intellectually demanding and thus usually higher-paid jobs. Scotland's poor have faired worse than their English and Welsh cousins. They continued the previous administration's plans to merge high schools into mega-comprehensives with larger catchment areas, while surreptitiously introducing the Orwellian Named Person Act, treating all parents as potential child abusers.
Current and Future Dangers
The real divide is no longer between left and right or capitalist versus socialist, but simply between elitists vs populists. While populists may often appeal to nostalgia and offer simplistic solutions to complex problems (e.g. leave the EU, stop all Islamic migration or arrest all bankers), they do at least respond to grassroots feelings, however misplaced. Populists are unlikely to advocate lower wages or cuts in essential public services. They are also keen to support the lifestyle aspirations of their core voters, so populists tend to be sceptical of many green policies which may involve lifestyle changes such as cycling to work rather than driving. Elitists, on the other hand, believe they know what's best not just for themselves but for ordinary working and non-working people. Hence elitists will tend to support the often counter-intuitive conclusions of academic studies and reports commissioned by NGOs with a vested interest in promoting rapid cultural and economic change. Populist concerns tend to rely on the lived experiences of ordinary people. If you've just spent 3 hours waiting in a local accident and emergency department with chronic pain surrounded by patients and medical staff from other ethnic backgrounds, you might conclude that mass migration is putting the health service under strain. By contrast an elitist would blame any delays on underfunding or an ageing population, while noting the dedication of migrant medical staff. If a populist then suggests that more local lads and lasses should be trained as doctors and nurses, a typical elitist will merely shrug his shoulders and claim local youngsters simply don't want these jobs and are too busy playing on their game consoles. Elitists are basically alphas and betas, who prefer foreign gammas over native deltas and epsilons because they know the jobs deltas and epsilons used to do will soon be fully automated. Angry natives, especially from lower classes, are a massive people management issue. I suspect the real ruling classes, a small subset of alphas, are divided on this issue. They either plan to turn most of us into little more than docile consumers rewarded for our subservience while only a quarter of working age adults have paid employment, or they have more sinister plans. Either way the hallmark of elitists is their intellectual dishonesty. By pretending to help designated victim groups, whether single parents or refugees, they merely empower their own class of people denying everyone else of any economic or personal autonomy. Their policies inevitably lead to greater surveillance and monitoring of all, but a lucky few who can buy exclusivity and privacy.
It may come as a surprise to those who have read some of my other recent blog posts, but the party global elitists fear most is probably Corbyn's Labour, not because its policies are viable, which they are not, but because its leader challenges the lies and deception of the American and British foreign policy elites. Once Corbyn is swept away in the aftermath of a near certain slump in Labour's parliamentary presence (with just 25% of the popular vote Labour could lose 50 or more seats), we could witness a realignment of the elitists that brought both Blair and Cameron to office. If they see Labour as a lost cause, expect a few globalist Tories to jump ship and join a new alliance centred around Liberal Democrats, who may gain as many as 30â€“40 seats. In much of the Scottish Central Belt, Labour are the only party that can deny the SNP of another landslide leading to another fake Independence Referendum, but this time with the full support of the globalist establishment. In an uncertain world, the main losers of a post-UK British Isles would be ordinary working people, the gammas, deltas and epsilons the elitists no longer need. However, if Labour can hold on to a respectable presence by mitigating its losses in England and possibly regaining a few seats in Scotland owing to growing disaffection with the SNP), we may scupper the elitist gamble to silence all viable opposition to its plans.
On the Brink of World War Three Over Misappropriated Chemical Attacks.
Call me old-fashioned, but facts do actually matter even if they're inconvenient and do not fit with your preferred narrative. Your enemy may be bad, but your enemy's enemy may be even worse. That said, disinformation and emotive propaganda should concern us most when they come from the world's best funded media operations. Yet many choose not to learn the lessons of verifiable recent history and instead prefer to give our leading state and corporate broadcasters the benefit of the doubt. After all, who would like to be accused of swallowing Putin's propaganda?
However, now Russia Today plays a similar role in the West to the good old BBC World Service behind the Iron Curtain. Millions of citizens of Warsaw Pact countries turned to Western media outlets to learn the truth about their own ruling elites. Now more and more Westerners are turning to alternative news sources when they grow suspicious of a tiresomely predictable diet of agenda promotion and strategically timed media events that serve only to promote more war and greater erosion of national self-determination and democracy.
I have long ceased to watch conventional TV news, but I do monitor a wide range of online news. I no longer visit the BBC News site to find out what's going on in the world (though I doubt they'd lie about incontrovertible events such as natural disasters or the weather ), but to analyse how it presents breaking news stories. The BBC is one of a select group of global media organisations who can actually set the agenda. If the BBC reports something, it becomes news. An Italian journalist once explained to me that Italy's state broadcaster, RAI, just recycles BBC and CNN reports, hastily translated and adapted for an Italian audience. BBC reporters can add all the caveats they like to save their proverbial bacon should a claim prove unsubstantiated, but as soon as the BBC highlights an atrocity and attributes it to the enemy of the day, it has already served its propaganda purpose. Truth seekers can easily be dismissed as conspiracy nuts or Putin acolytes, but believe me the truth does matter. If only 1% of BBC news coverage were not just inaccurate or misleading, but mendacious, it would be a scandal. Authoritarian regimes have always used similar tactics. They do not normally have to resort to outright lies, they just embellish cherry-picked snippets of the truth to suit their narrative. Outright mendacity is an act of desperation, especially when alternative and more credible versions of events are available from rival sources.
I don't have either time or resources to go into great detail about the recent chemical discharge in rebel-held Idlib, Syria. That lethal sarin or chlorine gas may have killed as many as 70 civilians in a war zone controlled by fanatical Islamic militias remains the only certainty. It's perfectly possible that the Syrian government could have killed people by bombing rebel ammunition dumps. They US and its allies have long attributed all regretful civilian victims of their bombing missions to the common Islamic militia practice of hiding weapons and fighters in densely populated areas especially near schools and hospitals. As wrong as I believe recent US military interventions may have been, I do not believe they deliberately targeted innocent civilians, but merely considered them a price worth paying for a larger strategic prize, that should be avoided to win the battle over hearts and minds once they've asserted their control. If they wanted just to kill as many people as possible, imposing a complete trade embargo would be much more effective as few Middle East countries are self-sufficient in food. Indeed Syria, which still has thousands of square kilometres of fertile land, may be an exception in this regard. The country has managed to survive despite sanctions and foreign-funded militias. Before Tuesday's attack, the Syrian Army was winning the ground war against Al Nusra and ISIS. US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, had even suggested that the people of Syria could determine the future role of President Bashar Al Assad, the latest apparent reincarnation of Hitler. The surest way President Assad could guarantee his downfall would be to commit a heinous war crime against innocent civilians before the world's media. He must be surely well aware that the White Helmets will rush to the scene of any atrocity to transmit footage of civilian casualties to global media outlets keen to pounce on any excuse to derail the strategic victory of a Russian / Syrian / Iranian alliance against head-chopping Islamic militias. I this find it extremely hard to believe that a besieged leader of a small country in touch with the global media would authorise his own downfall, unless he were some kind of double agent prepared to commit mad and reckless acts that would end not only his own career, but reduce his country to a set of statelets controlled by illiberal fundamentalists and policed by foreign armies.
Conformists and Anticonformists
The emerging political landscape is even more confusing. When newly inaugurated President Trump tried to impose a temporary travel ban on globetrotters from seven mainly Muslim countries, the trendy left and Hollywood celebrities protested against this vile act of racism, although travel to the USA is a privilege, not a fundamental human right. When the same President bows to pressure from the Deep State and performs a 180Âº U-Turn on reconciliation with Russia over their joint efforts to combat ISIS and other Islamic extremists, the liberal media and Hollywood luvvies suddenly applaud the President's courageous actions. The masses of uninformed Americans who get their news from the mainstream media have swallowed their propaganda. Liberals support airstrikes because Assad and Putin are Hitleresque rightwing demagogues. Trump-supporting rednecks support airstrikes because we have to support our armed forces against our enemies. Opponents of more airstrikes are inevitably those of us who instinctively distrust the establishment media. We thus have the spectacle of alt-right former Trump supporters clashing with black block anarchists at a protest against air strikes. Hang on a moment. Both groups believe more military adventurism will only trigger more internecine violence and engender more hatred and religious fundamentalism. Both groups loathe global corporations and superstates. Both groups oppose more surveillance and restrictions of basic civil liberties. So faced with a choice between opposing the world's most powerful military machine and a bunch of European nationalists, the infamous black block decide the latter are the bigger problem despite their demographic demise and the emergence of China and India as the dominant centres of power in the 21st century.
Let's agree that the left-branded neoliberal dream best associated with the Clinton Dynasty in the US and with Tony Blair and David Cameron in the UK has failed their core working class electoral bases. Ordinary working people are fed up with know-it-all talking heads on TV lecturing them on what they should think and belittling their concerns about globalisation and social engineering. How could the working classes turn to political causes such as Trump in the US, Brexit in the UK or Le Pen in France?
At the end of the day most people just want stable communities, job security, safe neighbourhoods and some degree of personal independence. So what's the alternative to third way corporate globalisation ? Do we really have to re-learn the fallacy of the old adage that my enemy's enemy is my friend all over again? No, often your enemy's enemy is even worse than your local enemy. If you hate US imperialism, would Chinese imperialism be any better? However, the game has changed in the early 21st century. We no longer have the spectre of rival national imperialisms, as in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but rival visions of globalisation, which is not so much an inevitability as a fait accompli, a fact of life. Our high-tech lives depend on infrastructure that can only be provided by global organisations. Nobody is going to uninvent the Internet or mobile phone. Moreover, without efficient industrial systems our increasingly urbanised population would starve. If a national government attempts to break free from international banking cartels, it can soon be reduced to misery as imported products it used to take for granted suddenly become unaffordable in local currency. Venezuela, once hailed by many on the left as a viable alternative to neoliberalism, is probably one of the most depressing failures in recent history. While crude oil prices remained high, the radical social democratic government could tax energy companies to fund its welfare state. When they plummeted, the country faced the twin scourges of hyperinflation and rampant crime. Although very fertile and technically able to feed itself, Venezuela never developed an industrial base sophisticated and diverse enough to meet the needs and desires of its citizens. Hugo Chavez and Nicolás Maduro failed to raise the educational standards of the country's underclasses quickly enough to build an indigenous industrial base independent of global corporations. Meanwhile the social democratic experiments of Northern Europe have failed to cope with the growing demands of mass migration and job insecurity. Trade unions have become a mere shadow of their former selves, wedded to concepts of international workers' solidarity that made sense 50 years ago when governments could easily intervene to protect local workers from unfair competition.
Globalisation and automation have not only displaced millions of manual workers, they have made it almost impossible to organise strikes. Parties posing on the left have failed miserably to address any of the concerns of the remnants of the once great European and North American working classes. The best they can do is offer retraining for the new dynamic information economy but usually for ephemeral occupations. Many former factory workers ended up in call centres in much of Northern England, Wales and Scotland. For a few short years Scotland's Central Belt was the call centre capital of the world. I should know, I worked in one. We'd handle calls for the European and North American markets. That was before these jobs were outsourced first to India and then largely replaced by Web portals or advanced voice recognition software. Any boring and monotonous job is a prime candidate for smart automation. So after retraining as call centre operatives, our undaunted postmodern workers have to retrain as software engineers or care workers, both professions much in demand. Except programming requires a high level of abstract thinking and usually several years of thorough study and experimentation, while care workers are usually trapped on low pay with stressful and unrewarding jobs. Just imagine you're a newly unemployed call centre worker and former shipbuilder and you're contemplating retraining as a plumber or taxi driver, only to discover the market is saturated with competition from newcomers, apparently more diligent and enthusiastic than you are. Would you persevere and adapt? Would you accept a job in a meat packing factory as the only native worker? It's hardly surprising that many former workers end up trapped on benefits. Most employers will just ignore you if your CV provides no proof of recent employment. You can always embellish your CV, but in today's easy-come easy-go hire-and-fire culture if you cannot get up to speed within a few days your inexperience will soon become apparent. The globalist left do not have any answers for these questions, except vain promises to spend more on welfare, mental health, invest more in training and make sure large corporations pay more tax. Once in power former social democratic parties offer more of the same. The last great hope of the European left was Francois Hollande, whose French Socialist party now polls between 15 and 20% of the vote while the electorate will in all likelihood face unpalatable choice between a global extremist Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, despised by most of the global establishment. I suspect a Le Pen presidency, especially if she wins by a narrow margin because the old left fail to support Macron's Neo-Thatcherism, would disappoint as international investors flee France.
Americanism vs Globalism
While I lost no sleep over Hillary Clinton's loss, Trump has thus far only delivered feeble promises of bringing back jobs to the US and stemming the tide of illegal immigration. The Trump administration has remained consistent on only one area of US foreign policy, its unflinching support for the State of Israel. While some hoped a Trump Presidency would stop supporting Islamic militias and meddling unduly in the domestic affairs of sovereign states, nothing has changed. The US is still bombing Iraq and Syria and Trump has actually boosted US Defence spending, which will inevitably only lead China, whose economy will overtake the USA's in the next two decades, will follow suit triggering a new and dangerous arms race. While Trump may personally have the best of intentions, his policy advisors will guide him into the neocon camp, whose sole mission is to ensure their cabal lead the New World Order rather than rival gangs in China, India or Saudi Arabia.
Yet dark forces are at work to destabilise not only the Middle East, but Europe and North America too. Before Trump's election any talk of a US State leaving the federation would have been dismissed as a joke. Sure, Texans love their Lone Star flag and Californians like to set themselves apart from their East Coast compatriots, but the dominant loyalty most Americans had, until now, was to the USA. The last election cycle revealed a massive gulf between metropolitan areas and America's redneck heartland. Trump won the support of some of the most disadvantaged people in the US, while the affluent urban elite voted overwhelmingly for Clinton. One section of American society welcomes recent social changes and growing interconnectedness, while the other clings to more traditional values of strong families and self-reliance. Now many Californians feel ashamed to be US Americans. The carefully choreographed protests following Trump's inauguration could be a sign of things to come if the US economy continues its in relative decline. In the not-too-distant future trade with the Asia Pacific region might be of greater importance to California than the rest of the US. Cultural convergence and extreme labour mobility have already reduced the USA's earlier cultural uniqueness. Tech firms can now easily relocate to India and attract high-calibre software engineers from across the globe. Miniature Californian bubbles can be recreated almost anywhere big business can set up shop with an almost unlimited supply of cheap labour to clean offices and serve coffee (until these jobs are fully automated). That's the point of globalisation, the whole world becomes one country with a maze of parallel communities, gated neighbourhoods, ghettos and hinterlands with displaced natives.
Likewise until recently any talk of Scotland leaving the United Kingdom would have equally been dismissed as wild conjecture. Then between 2010 and 2014 support for Scottish Independence rose from 23% to just under 45% in the last referendum. While the 2016 EU referendum exposed a growing divide between the interests of ordinary working natives and metropolitan elite in England and Wales, in Scotland most new SNP supporters voted to remain in the EU (although 37% voted to leave). This apparent divide has allowed Nicola Sturgeon to claim Scotland is being dragged out of the EU against the will of Scottish voters, though to be honest the EU has never been the foremost issue in Scottish voters' minds. Many social attitudes surveys would suggest if anything Scots are even more conservative than their southern neighbours on issues such as mass migration or social engineering. Differential voting patterns are swayed by deep identitarian emotions. Working class English northerners blame Brussels for their lack of job security, while working class Scots are keen to blame Westminster. In truth the real culprit for the disempowerment of the underclasses is neither the EU or UK administrations, but the rapid pace of corporate globalisation and technological change. But who would benefit most from the break-up of previously viable nation states such as the United Kingdom or United States? One would think the Anglo-Saxon world would lose out. When the former Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia splintered in the 1990s, few Western observers seemed surprised. After all these were young federations without a strong sense of shared identity. But now global corporations treat all countries as mere regions with historical quirks and quaint traditions. However, they distrust strong nation states for another more profound reason. Nation states are the only known viable unit for the kind of relatively free, democratic and prosperous societies that emerged in Western Europe and North America in the last century. I really have to stress the significance of the adjective relative before abstract concepts such freedom and democracy as no society can claim absolute freedom or pure democracy, but some societies can respond to their citizens' needs and desires better than others. As a result the citizens of prosperous nation states tend to expect their governments to defend their best interests in matters such as employment opportunities, education, training, workers' rights, welfare provision, policing, surveillance, free speech and migration. However, the corporate and state media have long managed public debate and expectations. Some subjects, such as military and political alliances, are taboo in countries that either lost the Second World War or were occupied by Nazi Germany or the former Soviet Union. To a large extent German national identity has been redefined in terms of loyalty to the EU project. The UK and USA have always differed from continental Europe in one important respect. Their citizens have not until recently been ashamed to show off their patriotic fervour. I can recall how Margaret Thatcher's popularity ratings changed almost overnight after Argentina invaded a windswept and sparsely populated archipelago in South Atlantic. Despite record post-war unemployment levels, the country rallied behind Thatcher's infamous Naval task Force to recapture the Falklands and liberate 1600 islanders. Such a reaction would be unthinkable in Italy or Germany, whose territorial assets had already been stripped down to little more than their core ethnolinguistic regions.
The New Labour years taught me a perspective-changing lesson. Initially I considered Tony Blair just to be a trendy Tory masquerading as a moderate Labour leader. As imperfect and compromised as previous Labour governments may have been, I have little doubt that its leading politicians actually believed they were acting in the best interests of their working class voters. Certainly even in the 60s and 70s corporate lobbies would find ways to promote their transformative socio-economic agendas. The cultural revolution of the swinging 60s turned out to be a big boon for big business. As long as national governments could protect local industries and retain job security with low levels of unemployment and gradually improving living standards, the welfare state had a largely benign influence providing a social safety net. However, by the 1970s big business no longer wanted to subsidise inefficient industries to maintain full employment and the great social democratic experiment began to unravel. In the beginning of the Thatcher era the left supported workers' rights first and foremost, however as the workless underclasses expanded and job security weakened, the left began to champion welfare dependency over workers' empowerment. It soon became clear the Blair government had little interest in helping ordinary working class kids escape the real poverty trap, which was not a lack of food or bad sanitation, but intellectual poverty and a lack of opportunity amidst a decadent culture of instant gratification. Meanwhile their foreign policy no longer followed the national interest, but reflected the demands of a globalist cabal deeply entrenched in the US, EU and UK administrations. I once believed the BBC had an institutional bias in favour of British imperialism allied with American imperialism. But British imperialism died shortly after World War Two. The US merely allowed Britain and France to retain a semblance of post-imperial grandeur with a few token overseas territories and special interests. Today the global elite does not seem to care if the United Kingdom loses Northern Ireland or Scotland. That's how far we've travelled in just 20 years. The unthinkable has become thinkable. While nostalgics of the British Empire fret over the status of Gibraltar (basically a money laundering centre with a special tax and legal regime) and the Falkland Islands, many English towns and cities have been ethno-culturally transformed out of all recognition. When I went to high school in Luton in the late 70s, fewer than 5% of the population came from visible ethnic minorities (many more were of Irish descent). Now the town's ethnic white British and Irish population has fallen below 50%, and the proportion is even lower among the younger generation owing to differential birth rates. Many will claim this is either not a problem or is just the price we pay for past British imperialism. The affluent cosmopolitan elite now regard the home-bred lower classes as ill-informed xenophobic scum unable to adapt to our Brave New World, despite the fact that in-group loyalty is much stronger among non-European migrant communities. The North American liberal elite show a similar attitude to their blue collar workers and rednecks, mainly of white European descent. Their wealth no longer depends on the hard work of their native working classes, who are now viewed as little more than an inconvenience or people management problem.
A basic rule of thumb is â€œIf it sounds to good to be true, it probably isâ€. Tony Blair mainly spoke in facile soundbites. On Iraq he would say â€œI did it because I believed it was the right thing to doâ€. How low does your critical thinking IQ have to be to believe such an explanation? The same goes for Trump. He just makes sweeping claims about how fantastic his job-creating and healthcare policies are. His vanity knows no bounds. Meanwhile he has outsourced his entire foreign policy to a bunch of neocon lobbyists such as Jared Kushner with close ties to Israel and US Deep State. He merely acts a mouthpiece for their hidden agendas.
Meanwhile the true ruling elites are busy preparing for a post-American world, where the USA is little more than a loose confederation of states. If Trump triggers a showdown with Russia, Iran and China, he will lose, but the globalist project will stay intact. Its epicentre will move on, but a China-led world will rely even more on high-tech surveillance and censorship to manage the underclasses. Together these superpowers can now hold the US to ransom. Its military might is built on debt. Its wars in the Middle East have failed and will soon backfire in hideously dangerous and unpredictable ways.
The establishment media have now coined a term for news sites that regularly challenge their orthodox narrative, fake news. This is rich for news organisations that have cheerled wars in the Middle East, turned a blind eye to atrocities committed by our allies and consistently supported the suppression of viable national democratic institutions by a cabal of global corporations. For the last 30-odd years a small set of worldwide news outlets such as CNN, BBC, Sky News and Fox News have literally manufactured the news we consume. They set agendas and decide which events, staged or otherwise, deserve our attention. Some wars go almost unreported, while mercenary reporters go out of their way to discover any evidence of atrocities committed by our official enemies. However, now CNN and the BBC have serious competition as more and more people switch off their TV sets and seek alternative sources for their news online.
Last week the UK government passed the Investigatory Powers Bill that requires Internet service providers and mobile phone companies to keep logs of customers' browsing history for a year, so that government agencies can gain access to this minefield of data. In the wake of Donald Trump's surprising electoral success, we have begun to hear calls for filtering and even outright censorship of alternative news sites such as Zerohedge, Drudge Report, Breitbart and Infowars. In the UK social justice warriors have campaigned to ban allegedly rightwing newspapers such as Daily Express, the Sun and the Daily Mail (which is now the most popular British online news site) from college campuses. My twitter feed has messages urging me to sign petitions to stop major corporations from advertising in these papers. Naturally without advertising they would lose their main revenue stream. Just a couple of weeks before the US presidential election, Barrack Obama lent his support to the concept of a truthiness filter that would rank information sources by their reliability. Indeed we've seen a number of initiatives, supported by NGOs, that claim to help us check facts, so much so that the verb fact-check has now entered the Oxford Dictionary. The mainstream media resorted heavily to fact-checking during the recent EU referendum and US presidential campaign. Presumably if you are unsure about a claim you should visit a purportedly non-partisan site that will set the record straight. Fact-checking services use a technique that the public relations industry has perfected over the decades. First they rely on a foundation of indisputable facts and common misconceptions that can easily be debunked. However, their real purpose is not to disprove unfounded claims, but to discredit any verifiable facts that challenge their integrity. To do this, rather than disprove incriminating allegations outright, they present selective evidence to the contrary intermingled with a few unfounded or wild accusations that can easily be disproven. e.g. Is it true that Hillary Clinton participated in satanic rituals involving children? Whatever the evidence on this claim may be, it was never the main focus of any investigation into the operations of the Clinton Foundation or Hillary's role as US Secretary of State. Such questions are mere diversions from the real issues such as Saudi funding of both the Clinton Foundation (confirmed by Wikileaks) and Hillary Clinton's awareness that Saudi Arabia funded Daesh / ISIS. Fact-checking has turned into a massive industry whose main purpose is to sanitise news and discredit alternative news sources.
In some left-leaning circles it is now mildly trendy to lampoon anyone who lends credence to news reports from sites they inevitably dismiss as alt-right, pro-Putin, conspiracy-theorising, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, Neo-Nazi or possibly, if it suits their agenda, Islamic fundamentalist. Back in the day Western conformists would dismiss any unorthodox facts perhaps as Soviet propaganda. Most challenges to mainstream Western propaganda came not surprisingly from the left. The traditionalist right hated the Soviet Union so much they would support almost anything the US did to defeat it, including arming the Mujahideen or supporting repressive dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Chile or El Salvador.
The tide began to turn in the post-Soviet era as the US and its allies waged wars on humanitarian pretences against regimes they accused of despotism, nationalism or both. The old left-right divide on US-led wars faded as the new universalist establishment won the support of the conformist left and even some genuine radical thinkers such as the late Christopher Hitchens, who exposed the misdemeanours of Henry Kissinger and then went on to support the 2003 invasion of Iraq. We no longer fought wars to prop up anti-communist religious extremists and dictatorships, enforce neoliberal economic policies or defeat the USSR's allies. Rather we now intervened militarily to spread democracy, human rights and enlightened Western values against anachronistic nationalists and/or religious conservatives. As ever, the establishment media accused opponents of Western military intervention of siding with the enemy, who was no longer the Soviet superpower, but a motley crew of isolated rogue states that failed to cooperate with the new corporate world order. To counter mainstream war propaganda you have to be an expert on Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Russian history. You also need access to reliable sources of information that challenge the globalist narrative. As a result most of us with a limited budget and limited time have to rely on alternative news sites and try to read between the lines. I always have time for John Pilger and no serious scholar of turn-of-millennium politics would be complete without reading Noam Chomsky and Ed Herman's Manufacturing Consent. The latter made the important point that most of the information you need to reach logical conclusions about world events is freely available, but submerged by a deluge of manufactured news, based on selective factoids and staged media events. To hide the truth the mass media do not have to lie, merely omit inconvenient news.
Real Fake News
While the mass media has allowed some debate about the US role in the destabilisation of the Middle and Russia's recent intervention in support of the Syrian government, much of the news we have seen on our TV screens has been filtered by an allegedly humanitarian organisation, the White Helmets. If you only ever get your news from the BBC, Guardian, CNN or Sky News, you will be none the wiser. Even traditionally anti-war MPs from the SNP and the leftwing of the Labour Party have recycled the line that most deaths in the Syria can be attributed to Bashar Al Assad's regime and that the Russians have bombed civilians indiscriminately while the peace-loving White Helmets saved innocent children from an evil alliance of the Russian and Syrian barrel bombs. Journalists Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett have exposed the web of deceit behind the Syrian conflict, especially the strong ties between the White Helmets, Blackwater and Al Nusra, a Syrian opposition militia affiliated with Al Qaeda and with a record of brutal attacks on Christians. In 2013 the BBC broadcast Saving Syria's Children. The footage is no longer available from the BBC iPlayer and copies have been removed from YouTube. It purportedly showed Napalm attacks by Syrian government forces against civilians in a rebel-held area. Robert Stuart has analysed the documentary, which appeared fake from the start, and identified a number of actors used in other propaganda pieces. It was little more than a macro-simulation, yet served as the basis for widely publicised claims that the Syrian regime had deliberated targeted civilians with chemical weapons. Why would the Assad Dynasty wait forty years until the whole world was watching to start massacring its own people?
The more I learn about the Syrian conflict from people who have witnessed the operations of Western NGOs and opposition militias firsthand, the more I distrust the mainstream narrative and clearer it becomes that the US-led alliance destabilised the region. I want the freedom to read dissident news and challenge the truth that emanates from the corporate media. We are heading down a slippery slope to the kind of state-sanctioned censorship that China has imposed on its people.
If I had lived in the Soviet Union, as a natural rebel I would have probably listened to the BBC World Service or Voice of America to find out what's really going on in my country. The more the ruling classes censor the media, the more people begin to distrust it and the harder it is to sort the wheat from the chaff.
If we start censoring tabloid newspapers because they publish stories critical of mass immigration, itself a product of globalisation, we'll end up censoring dissident sites that challenge the disinformation of our mainstream media on matters of war and peace. In the end we will be unable to hold our governments to account because any hard facts that contradict their narrative will be taboo.
You cannot favour free speech only for a narrow range of opinions you deem acceptable. You have to defend people's right to express opinions you may find offensive or interpret facts in a manner you find at odds with reality. It seems our real rulers are playing the infantile left like a fiddle. They have now joined forces with the corporate left to demand censorship of opinions and news they deem as hate speech. Our future is uncertain. We may soon have the technology not only to monitor all human interactions and track people's movements, but to read people's minds and remotely administer psychoactive drugs. If we don't make a stand now against corporate interference in news gathering and intellectual freedom, it may soon be too late.
As we mourn the deaths of millions of young Europeans in a futile dispute between rival empires, British, French, Russian and American leaders perpetuate the myth of a simple battle between good and evil, freedom and tyranny, democracy and dictatorship. Yet without the deep scars left by the blood-stained aftermath of the Great War, much of Europe would probably not have endured revolutionary uprisings, which soon gave rise to much more grotesque expressions of tyranny in the form of Fascism, Stalinism and most catastrophically Nazism. Many younger people could be forgiven for believing Herbert Asquith, Winston Churchill and Lloyd George took the British Empire to war in order to defeat not just Prussian adventurism, but all the horrors later associated with Nazi Germany. Yet the Germany of 1914 was as democratic as Britain or France. Not only did Germany have universal male suffrage before the UK (which excluded not just all women, but also millions of poor men from the electoral franchise), it had the world's largest Social Democratic party and best organised labour movement. Far from being a beacon of social enlightenment, despite its wealth and intellectual talent, the United Kingdom still ruled over hundreds of millions of colonial subjects in the Indian Subcontinent and much of Africa. Openly racialist ideas justified the supremacy of small white minorities and local elites in most colonies. How could one country that had fought a long string of wars in locales as diverse as South Africa, Afghanistan and India lecture another with a much smaller sphere of influence and only a fledgling colonial empire? Just 44 years earlier Britain seemed quite happy for its ally Prussia to humiliate its long-time imperial rival France, by first seizing Paris and imposing its terms for peace with the transfer of much of Alsace and Lorraine to the newly formed German Empire. Only 55 before that in the infamous Battle of Waterloo, the British army under the command of the Duke of Wellington had helped Prussia defeat Napoleon and thus contain Britain's main maritime competitor as well as the dominant continental European power. For much of the 19th century Germany, not France or Russia, had been Britain's main ally on the continent. Britain supported the creation of the new Belgian state out of the southern Netherlands Provinces and French-speaking Walloon region to limit French ambitions more than those of Prussia. Indeed the British Royal Family descended from the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. In 1914 King George V's government effectively declared war on his cousin Kaiser Wilhelm II.
Standard schoolbook history usually emphasises the assassination of the Habsburgian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, which the Austro-Hungarian government blamed on Serbia, a small slavic state rising from the ashes of an Ottoman Empire in rapid decline. Sandwiched between the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires, Serbia naturally sought alliances with Russia and France. However, let us not forget France and Britain had temporarily joined forces with the Ottoman Empire to contain an expansionist Russia in the 1853â€“56 Crimean War.
In the century prior to the outbreak of the 1914-18 Great War, Britain had supported Prussia against expansionist France, France and the Ottoman Empire against expansionist Russia, before letting Prussia curtail the European influence of Napoleon III's resurgent Second French Empire. Why would Britain now side with Russia in its quest to gain a foothold in the Balkans via Serbia over the assassination of a foreign royal. While the German Empire had gained Alsace and Lorraine to the west and chunks of former Poland to the east, the Russian Empire had gobbled up the rest of Poland, the baltic states north of East Prussia and Finland as well as all the former Caucasian and central Asian Soviet republics that gained independence from the Russian Federation in 1991. Germany's main competitor in rapidly industrialising Central and Eastern Europe was Russia, who had in turn formed an alliance with its main competitor, and former occupier to the West, France. Britain, although now eclipsed by Germany and United States as an industrial power, had reached the pinnacle of its imperial power. Did it really matter if Germany settled a few scores with a despotic Russian Empire and once again put France in her rightful place as a medium-sized Western European nation? Could Britain not act as a mere mediator between Russia, the Ottoman Empire, France, Austro-Hungary and Germany. After all, it had both opposed and joined forces with all these empires to suit its imperial interests. As for neutral Belgium, it had just overseen the slaughter of possibly a million or more Africans in the Congo Free State (some accounts suggest as many as 10 million, depending on the accuracy of pre-colonial population estimates), while over half its European population would sooner reunite with the Netherlands than fight dirty wars in the service of Belgian colonialism.
However, Germany was certainly not blameless. It had been too eager to settle scores and strike preemptively against France via Belgium. Its military leaders sought to expand their geographic reach through their industrial power at a time when most of the world had already been carved up, except for one lucrative region whose recently discovered abundant fossil fuel reserves would enable unprecedented economic expansion later in the century. Kaiser Wilhelm's Germany had begun the construction of a ground-breaking Berlin to Baghdad railway, just as American and British geologists working for the Anglo-Persian Oil Company discovered black oil at Masjid-i-Sulaiman in the mountains of north-western Iran. Not surprisingly, though conquering the Middle East was never mentioned either as a pretext for war, much of Britain's military operations over the following four years took place not in continental Europe at all, but in Mesopotamia.