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All in the Mind Power Dynamics

On the Brink of War

As we stand on the brink of World War Three over Russian involvement in the Syrian quagmire, our mainstream media feeds us with a steady diet of disinformation about the true causes of death and destruction in the Middle East while entertaining us with juicy stories of sexual misconduct of US presidential candidates. In one of the most controversial elections in recent American history, US voters face a choice between a flamboyant billionaire entrepreneur and a puppet of billionaire bankers and autocratic oil sheiks.

Sometimes in life you have to choose the lesser of two evils, make a pragmatic choice to prevent an outcome that could literally kill tens of millions and enslave billions. As the saying goes: better the devil you know than the devil you don't. The trouble is which candidate is more likely to lead us to unchartered territory? I've probably spent much of my adult life opposing the military adventurism of the world's strongest superpower, the United States of America, as well as the wasteful mass consumerism that its leading big businesses promote worldwide. In other ways, I was glad to see the demise of despotic Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the temporary triumph of the liberal values of intellectual freedom and personal liberty. It's hard to reconcile the apparent fairness of collectivism with the freedom of individualism, i.e. the right to keep the government out of your private life, a kind of personal or familial right of self-determination. A minimalist state simply ensures free people can conduct business in a peaceful and respectful way, namely it enforces property rights and outlaws obvious evils such as murder and theft. In practice Adam Smith's concept of a laissez-faire free market has never existed. Capitalism, as Marx correctly observed, tends towards oligopolies. Nonetheless, in theory at least during the Cold War years of my youth, Western countries allowed individuals, families and small communities greater freedom to do their own thing, provided they did not infringe the rights and privacy of others. If you want to live in a vegan naturist hippy commune, that's fine as long as you respect your neighbours' wishes not to hear your loud music or see you frolicking around your front garden stark naked. If you want to roam the countryside on your motorbike, that's also fine as long as you respect other people's privacy and lifestyle choices. A prosperous country with plenty of open space and resources can more easily afford to grant its people greater personal freedom and that includes freedom of religious and philosophical expression. My ideal world would maximise social justice, individual freedom and environmental responsibility. But only a fool would pretend that pursuing one goal, such as social justice, does not have trade-offs.

Some may wonder what the world would be like today if the Soviet Union had won the great battle of ideologies over Western Capitalism, as we called it. In truth it could not have won, because its inflexible command economy and coercive state administration stifled the kind of competitive technological innovation that spearheaded the micro-computer revolution and led to previously unimaginable levels of industrial automation and efficiency. Whatever its comparative advantages, the Soviet Union simply failed to deliver the goods. Mysteriously the Communist Party of China remained firmly in control as it embraced one of the most virulent forms of free market capitalism that has enriched a growing class of billionaire entrepreneurs reliant on a massive oversupply of obedient loyal workers accustomed to very low wages. Since the late 1980s, China has retained its status as one of the USA's most favoured trading partners. Big business positively loves the Chinese model with fewer inconvenient environmental regulations, but a much more compliant workforce. All the big North American and European players from Microsoft, Apple, Monsanto, VW, General Motors to Siemens have a big presence in China.

I've long remained largely agnostic about most US presidential elections. Both Democrat and Republican administrations have pursued the same meddlesome foreign policies. The Clinton Administration continued to enforce a no-fly zone over Iraq and impose sanctions that cost as many as a million lives during the 1990s and pursued disastrous interventions in the Balkans under the pretext of humanitarianism. I seriously doubt if Al Gore had won the 2000 Presidential Election, that hawks in the State Department would not have driven the US to invade and occupy Afghanistan and Iraq. Any disagreements between mainstream Democrats and Republicans were strategic, not substantive. In the event both Tony Blair and Hillary Clinton supported the invasion of Iraq. Then 6 years later when Hillary became Secretary of State, she oversaw the destabilisation of Libya and Syria by arming and funding rebel militias to unseat stable, but admittedly, autocratic regimes, with whom the West used to do business. The 1993–2000 Clinton administration successfully sold the concept of humanitarian bombing as part of a new era of global harmony, in which transnational corporations and supranational organisations would come together to build a better future. We need only look at their marketing campaigns. Barrack Obama simply campaigned on the need for change, without specifying just what such change might involve. Eight years later Hillary Clinton has seemingly recycled a slogan for the EU Referendum “Stronger Togetherâ€. In hindsight I suspect historians will rate Barrack Obama as ineffectual half-hearted president who let lobbyists make all his key policy decisions. He had to placate the strong strand of conservative opinion in his country while promoting a radical agenda of socio-cultural change that clearly suited other lobbies.

The first thing that caught my attention on my first visit to the States in 1994 was the country's unabashed nationalism. Patriot is not a boo word in America. Everyone claims to be a patriot and flies the Stars and Stripes with pride unconcerned about its possible association with a global empire. To an outsider the USA may be a hegemonic commercial and military superpower intent on projecting its influence on all other countries and cultures. To others it may be the ultimate bastion of freedom. Yet ordinary Americans, who often take great pride in their hyphenated heritage from other continents, seem pretty unconcerned about the rest of the world. The further you venture away from cosmopolitan metropolises, the more you become aware of the quaint traditionalism of many rural Americans. Do they want to bomb Syria to the stone age to impose a new regime that will allow multinational businesses unfettered access to new markets and spread the kind of consumer fetishism and narcissism that many religious Americans have learned to despise? The short answer is no, but they can be persuaded to support military action against the enemies of freedom, not least because many Americans are the descendants of those who fled autocratic regimes. These are the Americans who hesitated to support their government's entanglement in the European wars of the first half of the 20th century, but seemed to happy to support a vast expansion of the military industrial complex to defeat the Soviet Union. Most conservative Americans support policies they believe will keep the government out of their lives, except to maintain essential infrastructure such as roads and schools. Yet it saddens me to report that the great American Dream of personal freedom and civic responsibility is dying and fast yielding to a new culture of rampant corporatism that works in tandem with big government to bring the entire global populace under its yoke.

As I watch hardly any mainstream TV, Donald Trump meant very little to me until late 2015. He comes across as an arrogant showman entrepreneur, often appealing to the lowest common denominator. Clearly his rhetoric talks to vast swathes of American public opinion that have lost faith in the mainstream liberal media, but lacks depth and panders to numerous lobbies and entrenched American prejudices. I instinctively distrust anyone who promises miracles without explaining how they intend to bring them about. In American English the adjective liberal denotes what we might call leftwing or even socialist on this side of the big pond. American liberals may theoretically support sexual freedom, especially if it promotes non-traditional family structures, but they also advocate greater government intervention and social regulation to pursue their goal of social justice and build a new society liberated from anachronistic prejudices and social attitudes. Invariably American liberals support higher levels of immigration. The USA is genuinely a country built on migration, but also on ethnic cleansing, partial genocide, slavery and unsustainable levels of consumption. If Making America Great Again means returning to the 1950s heyday of Middle Class prosperity, stable families and gas-guzzling automotive freedom, resembling the innocent hedonism portrayed in Happy Days, then millions of Americans will be very disappointed whoever wins the presidential election. Those times ain't coming back folks, but one of Trump's slogans does strike a chord, “Americanism not Globalismâ€.

In the early noughties alternative media widely reported Donald Rumsfeld's Project for a New American Century. As we progress into the latter half of this century's second decade, the balance of global power has shifted away from the United States to China, India, Russia and a new emerging global world order. The 20th century saw the demise of the British and French empires and the rise of North American commercial and cultural power. Despite fluctuating commodity prices, every year the USA's share of the global GDP has declined. While it accounted 27% of the world economy in 1950, by 2020 the USA will have just 14% of the global GDP despite a fast-growing population. While the top 5 to 10% have grown richer, the great middle class has been squeezed. Tens of millions of US citizens depends either on social welfare or on low pay, as traditional manufacturing jobs have fled abroad. While once America seemed to have an unlimited capacity to share its natural treasures with new waves of immigrants, it now relies on imported resources to sustain growing demand that has to sustain more people. Yet the country's liberal elites do not care about defending the interests of working class Americans. They did not benefit from the three trillion dollars squandered on nation building in Iraq, except by delaying an inevitable transition away from fossil fuels to more renewable sources of energy and greater efficiency. They certainly will not benefit from the destabilisation of the Middle East and the never-ending flow of economic migrants and refugees desperate to experience the American Dream, only to be engulfed in a 21st century welfare ghetto.

Were I a US citizen, my conscience would probably tell me to vote for the Green candidate Jill Stein. While she opposes US military adventurism and overconsumption, like her European partners, she favours relaxed immigration and panders to the vacuous agenda-setting politics of social justice (which basically means more social workers and greater social surveillance). I sincerely hope she takes more votes from idealistic Sanders supporters who might otherwise support Hillary Clinton.

George W Bush did not represent the true American conservative tradition. He may have pandered to this constituency by delaying social engineering milestones such as not allowing embryonic stem cells or gay marriage (both were just a matter of time), but he oversaw record immigration levels while recklessly attempting to impose neoliberalism on the Middle East. Ever since the 2008 banking meltdown the US economy has been powered largely by a mix Keynsian quantitive easing and the creative accounting of its high-tech multinationals, whose operations are now global and thus not affected with the parochial concerns of unemployed blue collar workers.

Meanwhile Hillary Clinton's handlers, such as banking billionaire George Soros, are much more concerned with neutralising strong nation states. The new bogeyman is Russia's Vladimir Putin. The same media that sold us wars in various Central Asian and Middle East countries have found their new Hitler, who some conservative leaders are accused of appeasing. If you believe the CNN, the Guardian or countless books bemoaning a resurgent nationalist Russia, then Putin is set not only march into the Baltic States and Eastern Ukraine, but to conquer the Middle East via an alliance with Iran. Except Russia has no need of privileged access to their resources. It already has vast territory and natural resources as well as a highly educated citizenry and very low population density. Corruption may well be rife in Russia, but it is hardly absent from North America or Western Europe. If you're concerned about grotesque human rights abuses, such as murdering gays or stoning adulterous women, look no further than Middle East or the Islamic parts of Africa and Asia. Why should American workers support their government's obsession with deposing the secular regime in Syria by funding terrorists and potentially triggering a nuclear conflagration with a regional superpower, Russia, that does not threaten the security of American citizens ?

Which presidential candidate is most likely to lead the US to an all-out war with Putin? None other than George Soros' s puppet. Whatever his faults, Donald Trump would be more likely to strike a deal with Russia to protect the US from the very real threats of Islamic fundamentalism and China's growing economic dominance. Whoever wins, the era of American exceptionalism is over. The global elites support Clinton, but I doubt they have the best interests of ordinary American people at heart.

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All in the Mind Power Dynamics

Expertocracy: the political Elites don’t trust you

Unless you believe their experts

Today people power, or democracy if your prefer a more Hellenic term, means little more than mood management. You may express your feelings on a range of options that other presumed experts and high-profile opinion leaders offer you. However, you are not supposed to have any original thoughts or seek alternative sources of information that have not been given an official seal of approval or at any rate deemed authoritative. In debates on scientific issues orthodox pundits love to reference peer-reviewed research, because obviously any findings that challenge agendas essential to vested corporate interests can be easily weeded out or toned down in the peer review stage.

Expertocracy, the power of establishment experts, affects all controversies, whether on scientific, environmental, historical or geopolitical matters. The establishment bias pervades not only news media, but entertainment, drama and above all educational programmes. Popular soaps regularly push agendas and reinforce our preconceptions on a whole range of issues so that highly disputable contentions become generally accepted truisms. I've tried to highlight some of these in previous blog posts. Some questions are loaded, i.e. they only make sense if we internalise a mainstream assumption, such as we need economic growth and therefore any policy that might hinder economic growth must be bad. If we realise we don't actually need economic growth and merely better, more rewarding and less stressful lives, we might reach radically different conclusions on many topical issues.

Two recent events in British media circus have highlighted the public's growing distrust with the establishment media and their preferred experts. First the EU Referendum showed much of public opinion shunned the overwhelming pro-EU bias of the liberal intelligentsia and academia. The BBC and Guardian reminded us every day that leading economists believed continued membership of the EU is essential for job security and extreme labour mobility is just part of our wonderfully dynamic 21st century globalised economy. Their message was clear: Stop asking silly ill-informed questions and leave big questions such as economic management and migration control to the experts. The subtext was even clearer: If you question the rationale behind unbalanced mass migration you must be racist.

Then on Wednesday 6th July another shock unsettled the Westminster establishment. Sir John Chilcot's long-awaited report admitted major failures in the intelligence, justification and planning of the 2003 US/UK-led occupation of Iraq, but naturally fell short of identifying the real reasons for war or accusing any politician of intentional mendacity. I use the word occupation because in the event Iraqi forces loyal to the Baathist regime offered only token resistance. The US-led military coalition easily conquered Iraq and effortlessly overthrew Saddam Hussein's hated regime. Yet three trillion US dollars and over 1 million dead Iraqis later, they have clearly lost the peace. Iraq descended fast into civil war and now much of the Sunni-dominated and oil-rich Western region is under ISiS control. In the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war most establishment experts, at least those favoured by the BBC and UK government, agreed that Saddam Hussein posed a real threat to world peace and failure to overthrow his despotic regime would not only lead to more deaths in Iraq, but would allow an unhinged Saddam Hussein, always referred to by first name in the Western media, to destabilise the region. Of course, if Iraq really did have functioning weapons of mass destruction it would have deployed them in self-defence. Alas in the invent of the US invasion the Iraqi military could barely muster a couple tank divisions. While it was never hard to find Iraqis who welcomed the deposition of their former dictator and Western sanctions had already made most Iraqis poorer, attempts to rebuild Iraq as a vibrant peace-loving democracy along the lines of West Germany in the aftermath of WW2 failed dismally. The rest is history. By any account the region is much more unstable now than it was before the ill-conceived occupation. Other interventions in Afghanistan and Libya have had equally disastrous results. They have made nobody safer and have unleashed a tsunami of refugees on neighbouring countries and Europe.

Yet had we listened to the warnings of specialists that that our mainstream media either ignored or dismissed as mavericks or wild conspiracy theorists, we could have foreseen the likely outcome of these military operations. The UN's official inspector in the run-up to the occupation, Hans Blix, failed to find any evidence of new WMDs, except for remnants of chemical weapons labs from the 1980s when Britain and US exported arms to Iraq. There is nothing the public learned in the Chilcot Report that had not been predicted in Scott Ritter's 1999 book Endgame, in which he suggests a way out of the Iraqi quagmire but warns of the danger of outright invasion. However bad Saddam Hussein might have been, he was far from alone in the long list of tyrants and mass murderers that the US once supported. Iraq is largely a creation of Anglo-American imperialism in the aftermath of the First World War. Lines in the sand were drawn with little consideration given to a territory's viability as a country. The US and UK were happy to support a dictator like Saddam Hussein to suppress Islamic fundamentalism and as a bulwark against Iran. Just as Western governments tolerated Saudi Arabia's human rights' abuses and Turkey's suppression of its large Kurdish population, they turned a blind eye to the Baathist regime's crimes until Saddam Hussein authorised Iraq's 1990 occupation of oil-soaked Kuwait. Those with a long enough memory and an inquisitive mind will recall Saddam Hussein felt it safe to occupy what most Iraqis of the era regarded as their 19th province after former US Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie said "We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960s, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America".

In a complex society nobody can reach logical conclusions on most subjects without deferring to the experience and technical competence of others. The challenge we all face is to judge whether or not to trust experts that appear regularly in the mainstream media or to seek alternative views. Dissident experts are not necessarily right just because the establishment shuns them. They may be pursuing another agenda, possibly funded by dark forces that do not have our best interests at heart, have deep religious convictions at odds with modern scientific theories or may simply retain faith in outdated beliefs that have lost favour with our new internationalist elite. However, all these charges are equally applicable to the status quo, except we might replace religious zeal with an unswerving belief in technological progress. The establishment does regularly change its mind, which is partly why some apparent dissident experts cling to the old consensus, but has to manage public perception in such a way as to not discredit its authority. When irrefutable evidence proves a product, once favoured by powerful lobbies, such as cigarettes to be harmful, many reputations are tarnished. Yet the marketing of tobacco products played a major role in the promotion of consumer hedonism. Cigarettes have arguably lost their usefulness as effective means of mood management. Modern technology has better alternatives.

Should we let our government build more nuclear power stations? Should we allow hydraulic fracturing in our neighbourhood? Are mercury amalgam fillings safe? Should all girls be vaccinated against human papilloma virus? These are all reasonable questions that affect the lives of millions. Yet which experts should we trust on these matters? Fortunately on all these bones of contention you can still find a diversity of well-researched expert opinion. The mainstream media bias, at least in the UK, is still broadly supportive of nuclear power with all the usual caveats about safety and security. The NHS still defends the use of mercury amalgams and will readily point you to copious peer-reviewed abstracts dismissing the concerns of anti-mercury campaigners. However, opponents of mass vaccination are often dismissed as little more than uninformed quacks likely to believe the scare stories of a few renegade clinicians. Just consider the vast sums invested in the vilification of Dr Andrew Wakefield, apparently personally responsible for each outbreak of measles. In truth Dr Wakefield has only ever advocated safe vaccination and only questioned the safety of the triple vaccine option. I don't want to revisit the MMR controversy here, but it surely highlights the problem with expertocracy. Once we silence dissident experts in the name of public safety, we then effectively only have a narrow set of sanitised policy options.

One of the most dangerous political currents is universal progressivism. Its adherents believe that despite many transient hurdles and occasional setbacks, we are on a one-way journey to a global utopia. In the words of D:Ream's 1994 hit that accompanied Tony Blair's upbeat 1997 election campaign "Things Can Only Get Better". For this illusion to appear true we have to keep rewriting the past and often the very recent past. Moreover, we have to keep discovering new perceived problems that require some form of proactive intervention. We no longer accept our natural limitations. Consider the sad fact that some women cannot bear children. In the recent past if a woman learned she could not procreate successfully for medical reasons, she would have probably felt some temporary despair. But surprisingly most women took such news in their stride, glad to be alive and able to contribute to their family and community in other ways. Now infertility is considered a tragedy, not just an unfortunate fact of life, because the fertility treatment industry have transformed people's perceptions of personal injustice and contributed to a growing culture of entitlement. This attitude emotionalises political discourse. The media present major issues in emotional terms. Thus if you oppose the European Union, you must hate European people. If are concerned about high levels of net migration, you must hate individual immigrants who may be good people. It's very easy to conflate the personal with the social. However, on a personal level we regularly express the most extreme forms of real discrimination. If a young woman rejects the sexual advances of a young man, she is not only discriminating, but may also hurt his feelings. This behaviour seems only natural and healthy until you internalise the crazy logic of social justice warriors in which every perceived personal misfortune is a crime against humanity. Thus if a fat person is entitled to expensive surgery to tackle their obesity and not expected to control their weight naturally through a healthy diet and exercise, there's no reason why a relatively ugly heterosexual male should not be entitled to expensive cosmetic surgery and generous welfare handouts to boost his attractiveness in the sexual marketplace. Employers often discriminate against incompetent or unqualified workers. I don't think many of us would like to be operated on by incompetent surgeon or fly in a plane commandeered by an unqualified pilot. None of this means we should not give everyone a chance to learn new skills or provide healthcare for treatable conditions. We just need to balance personal and social responsibilities, understand our limitations and limit our expectations.

A culture of entitlement leads to extreme interdependence. As we are not all equally gifted or equally able to pursue intellectually challenging jobs, it makes us more, rather than less, reliant on experts. These armies of official advisers are now responsible for every aspect of our lives from eating to shopping and leisure, lovemaking to procreation and child-rearing, communication to transportation, education to work as well as healthcare. Our freedom has largely been reduced to a choice of consumer goods and regulated leisure pursuits. Psychologists now view our opinions mere expressions of our psyche. If we stray too far from the narrow range of permissible dissent, sociologists may regard our views as dysfunctional or delusional or somehow incompatible with the kind of new society they wish to build. In their mindset if you believe, for instance, that fluoride in the water supply is a form of mind control, you are a victim of delusional thinking and the hypothesis that fluoride ingested in excessive quantities can cross the blood-brain barrier and inflict permanent brain damage is barely worth investigating. If you only ever rely on official reports from mainstream media outlets and respected scientific publications, you will probably only ever find out about any adverse effects of our current policies when it's too late. If you believe mass migration is the best way to achieve social harmony, you may have seen all manner of alternative explanations for events that may on the surface not fit your thesis. Could the rise in terrorist incidents in France and elsewhere be related to a growing Muslim population and record youth unemployment ? If you previously believed in something we rather misleadingly call multiculturalism, then you may only accept the latter part of that hypothesis. We know mass unemployment alone does not necessarily lead to terrorism, though it can naturally lead people to support political agendas that would otherwise be unpopular. However, a combination of extreme ideologies within a marginalised ethnoreligious group and neoliberal economics with limited job security could well destabilise delicate social cohesion when rival communities no longer share the same core values. As the universalist neoliberal dream, the idea that global big business can work in tandem with supranational organisations to bring about a better world, crumbles, we had better start listening to more subversive experts and learning, once again. to sort the wheat from the chaff.

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All in the Mind Power Dynamics

Forget Europe, Brexit was really a peasants revolt against smug elitists

Oddly this referendum has restored my faith in humanity

Just over a week ago the global establishment and their cheerleaders in the liberal intelligentsia got the fright of their lives. They had failed to persuade the British electorate to vote remain in the referendum on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union. When Labour lost in 2010 and again in 2015, the metropolitan elite did not seem all that bothered as the resulting coalition led by David Cameron and Nick Clegg offered more or less the same neoliberal politics, albeit with a little window dressing and hype about tackling the country's deficit through minor cutbacks in welfare and public services, which the left insisted on calling slash and burn austerity. Yet when the British public voted against their beloved European Union, hell had truly descended on earth. It hardly mattered that this supranational organisation had imposed real austerity on Southern Europeans, brought about mass youth unemployment through a one-size-fits-all currency and led millions to migrate across the continent in search of work destroying close-knit communities and widening the gap between rich and poor. Rapid globalisation may have benefited the upwardly mobile professional classes, keen to exploit new business opportunities and enjoy a wider selection of restaurants and more malleable foreign workers, but it has left behind vast swathes of the traditional working classes unable to adapt to our post-industrial present. Their voice has been largely ignored. Mainstream parties have merely pitied the remnants of the British working classes, talking glibly about new business investments in industrial wastelands, while defending welfare dependence and social interventionism. Whenever the topic of unlimited immigration of unskilled and semi-skilled labour from Eastern and Southern Europe cropped up, the pseudo-liberal elites would downplay its extent, misrepresent its economic benefits and, ever so subtly, suggest the native underclasses were too lazy and inept to fill vacancies in the country's booming service sector. To add insult to injury, over the last 6 years of Tory-led government, the phoney left has not only championed welfarism, but via myriad charities, has condescendingly treated growing sections of our communities as sufferers of mental illness. Rather than viewing the working classes as the true creators of the nation's wealth, the postmodern left now regards the underclasses as just another victim group alongside other underprivileged groups such as low-paid migrant workers, single mothers and ethnic minorities. In the new world of virtue-signalling, victimhood status matters more than hard work. If you're mentally ill, obese, gay, Muslim or a recent Bulgarian migrant, the bien-pensant left will pretend to champion your rights, but if you're just a low-paid or jobless native worker concerned about unfair labour market competition they will write you off as ignorant and potentially racist. Indeed many actually regard angry nativism as a form of mental illness, i.e. a phenomenon that must be managed and tackled, but not expressed in the ballot box. If working class white British males could rebrand themselves as a victim group, the trendy left may just listen. Indeed in many urban areas this ethnosocial category is already a disadvantaged minority.

The big Surprise

As the polling stations closed and the last opinion polls indicated a marginal lead for the remain side. I was braced for a big anticlimax. If the leave side could muster 45%, then maybe in five or ten years time, when the whole EU project goes pear-shaped, we might get another chance. In all comparable referenda, the public voted for the status quo, better the devil you know. I'm sure many remain voters were concerned about the EU's lack of democracy and unsustainable migratory flows. They just believed that the consequences of leaving the EU were much worse than any potential gains of greater national self-determination just as many proud Scots voted to stay in the UK just under 2 years earlier. The Remain side appealed to emotions, international solidarity, our love for our European neighbours and, above all, economic expediency. Indeed a common theme in the closing stages of the referendum, and one repeated endlessly by the bad losers now, is that simply leaving the EU will have little effect on migration. If the British economy continues to prosper, it will, according to free marketeers, attract more migrants than it exports. I think all this talk about trade deals and regulations bored most voters, partly because it's so hard to gauge how economic growth translates into a better quality of life for ordinary people, e.g. property speculation may drive GDP growth, but it also makes houses unaffordable for workers on typical salaries.

As the results piled in, we saw two clear patterns emerge. The United Kingdom was divided primarily along class lines, but also by ethnocultural identity. Outside a handful of cosmopolitan urban areas, in England and Wales the more affluent tended to vote remain. Much of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and the posher parts of Hampshire and Hertfordshire had remain majorities, while less affluent areas, especially those with more elderly demographic profiles, voted more heavily to leave the EU. The biggest leave majorities came not from the Tory-voting Southeast of England, but from Labour's traditional working class heartlands in the Midlands and North of England as well as Wales. In Northern Ireland the protestant community followed their English and Welsh cousins, while the Republican catholic community voted overwhelmingly for Remain, following orders from the Sinn Fein and SDLP leaderships. In Scotland the result was more mixed. If the UK had had a referendum on EU membership 15 years ago, I would have expected a healthy, but not crushing, majority for staying in the EU across the UK. That was before the Lisbon Treaty and before the EU's eastward expansion. Two factors swayed the vote for remain in Scotland. First all main parties, especially the ruling SNP, favour continued EU membership. Second, Scotland has seen much lower net immigration and only very limited population increase. For most Scots unfair Labour market competition is a side issue, but Scots compete with new migrants in the UK-wide labour market and are thus not immune from wage compression. Even in the areas with relatively homogenous populations like Fife, migrant labour is common in many sectors. The leave campaign here was very low key. I've seen more Stronger for Scotland stickers and posters, with their distinctive SNP branding, than VoteLeave signs. UKIP enjoy only limited support, but some cracks in the united front did appear when veteran Scottish independence campaigner, Jim Sillars, supported Brexit. After all if little Iceland, with a population of just 300,000, can manage outside the EU with its own currency, then so surely can Scotland. 62% of Scots supported the status quo, but a fair number not out of any love for Byzantine EU institutions, but simply to spite the English and trigger another referendum on Scottish independence. Alas 38% rebelled against their political elite and opted to protest against globalisation and gain greater control over fishing and agriculture.

People did not vote along party lines. Polls suggest only majority of conservative and UKIP voters supported leave, while most Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and SNP voters supported remain (Nonetheless 25% of Green voters and 30% of LibDem voters rebelled against their staunchly EU-phile party leaderships). A closer look reveals a different picture. Turnout was highest in many deprived areas that often see lower turnouts in general elections, the kind of backwaters where Labour or Conservatives take their voters for granted. Just consider Scunthorpe in North Lincolnshire. In the 2015 general election only 57.7% could be bothered to vote, but in the 2016 EU Referendum a whopping 72% turned out. In London and Scotland we saw almost the opposite scenario with lower turnouts than in general elections. Remain supporters clearly lacked enthusiasm despite all the scare stories about a post-Brexit abyss of economic stagnation and rampant xenophobia. The brutal murder of pro-EU campaigner and Labour MP, Jo Cox, just a week before polling day had enabled the globalist media to appeal to the public's emotions, especially by associating the mentally ill murderer with far-right grouplets. #VoteRemain thus became the ultimate virtue signal akin to the #refugeeswelcome hashtag just a year earlier.

Back in 1975, it was mainly the left who opposed membership of the then EEC (European Economic Community). Leading Labour politicians such as Tony Benn, Barbara Castle and Peter Shaw as well as the bulk of the era's trade union movement all opposed the EEC just two years after Britain joined in the midst of an economic downturn. The key arguments were over democracy and trade. Immigration hardly figured in the debate because most viewed it as an issue only with people from Commonwealth countries. Apart from a few language students the UK did not see a massive influx of migrants from France, Germany, the Low Countries or Italy. There were few overriding economic advantages and citizens of other EEC countries did not enjoy the same acquired citizenship and welfare rights as British citizens until the 1992 Maastricht Treaty. Indeed in the early years more Britons may have taken advantage of work opportunities in the rest of Europe than vice-versa. EU migration only really became a bone of contention with the superstate's eastward expansion.

The result has sent shockwaves across the world as ruling elites become aware of the strength of opposition to global governance. In hindsight we may view such a reversal as a necessary adjustment to technological developments, which will soon allow a much smarter and more humane form of international cooperation to supplement viable compact nation states. Outsourcing production made sense when markets could take advantage of cheap and more malleable labour in other parts of the world. It makes little sense with the emergence of artificial intelligence, robotics and 3D-printing, which do away with the need for cheap semi-skilled labour or gargantuan manufacturing facilities. We will need more highly skilled software developers, engineers, designers and scientific researchers and fewer machine operatives, cleaners and hauliers. More important we can share expertise and cooperate closely without having to physically move to another country. Mass migration is driven primarily by economic insecurity and environmental instability, not by demand for low-skilled labour or a need to boost retail sales.

The referendum also shows growing conformism among the affluent chattering classes, all too willing to recycle orthodoxy. However, truly intelligent people do not blindly accept official advice from powerful institutions who may not have their best interests at heart. Everyday we are deluged with messages from advertisers and lobbyists, often masquerading as charities. Our high streets are teaming with professional awareness raisers, subtly pushing various hidden agendas that may not seem immediately obvious. This referendum has shown that ordinary people have lost their trust in condescending experts and pundits. There cannot be a soul in the whole wide land who has not heard the neoliberal elite's view on the benefits of the European Union and mass migration. Love of global institutions and multiculturalism are mandatory parts of today's school curriculum. The main TV channels have long subtly injected their universalist themes into popular sitcoms and soaps. Eastenders, the UK's most popular soap opera, portrays a fictional community where people from the most diverse backgrounds all get along fabulously in stark contrast to the reality of parallel communities that barely talk and transient agency workers replacing the previous bunch of underpaid labourers.

As a result opposition to the European Union was until recently a fringe concern. Affordable holidays in Southern Europe have given millions of working class Britons a taste of Europe's delights, although most tend to gravitate to tourist resorts and mingle more with their countryfolk than with the locals. I always make a point of venturing away from the madding crowd of British holiday makers. True diversity can only thrive when native cultures retain their homelands. Otherwise they become a mere flavour that blends into an indistinct melting pot.

Gradual change may be good, but rapid change is nearly always disruptive

Currently popular discontent with rapid globalisation and cultural change is filtered through a handful of tabloid newspapers with their sensationalist stories about benefits-cheating migrants and fake refugees. However much the wishful-thinking left may find these stories distasteful, they do seem to reflect the everyday experiences of ordinary Britons struggling to cope with rapid change more accurately than the sop stories one reads in the Guardian or sees in BBC documentaries. I have personally visited London housing estates where most residents are not only recent immigrants, but are also clearly in receipt of substantial welfare handouts. Otherwise they could not pay their rent and most do not pay enough taxes to compensate for the true cost of additional public services. Reassuring official reports attempt to contradict such anecdotal evidence, but often do so through selective data sets. However, midway through the referendum campaign not only did official statistics show another rise in net migration, but evidence also emerged of massive undercounting of temporary EU migrants owing to a large discrepancy between official immigration figures and new national insurance numbers. We thus have two contrasting narratives. One presents a progressive community of gradually converging European regions and view migratory imbalances as mere temporary and easily manageable phenomena that can only create minor inconveniences for local inhabitants. The other presents a failed superstate project that drives millions to seek work in high wage regions displacing local workers. The elites see these people movements as way of forging a new pan-European identity. While this international camaraderie may work in university campuses and affluent neighbourhoods, it has created new conflicts between natives and newcomers elsewhere.

The challenge ahead

In any case mass migration is a much more complex issue and certainly not confined to the European Union. Indeed the biggest challenge over the next decade will be to deal with growing migratory pressures from Africa and Middle East, two regions with high birth rates. I have long argued the best way to address these challenges is through sustainable development. That means helping these countries acquire the skills and technology they need to feed their people while transitioning to a more sustainable birth rate. China has already transitioned and India is well on its way to an ideal fertility rate of 2 children per woman (currently 2.45, but just 2.0 in Kerala). Greater migration to Europe or North America will do little to alleviate the environmental impacts of rapid population growth. Besides the real challenge will be to develop smarter and greener technology to reduce massive waste and inefficiencies.

Could the Native English have halted Cultural Convergence?

The Brexit saga reveals another irony. Today's globalisation is largely built on British and later North American imperialism. The English language has become one of the primary vehicles of cultural convergence. As a rule the more globally connected a place is, the more its people are likely to be fluent in English. Ironically as the European Union has morphed from a Western European free trade area to a pan-European superstate, the dominance of international English has grown. While paying lip service to French and other major European languages, Eurocrats have an unnerving habit of speaking a kind of Euro-English that alienates not only millions of continental Europeans who still prefer their mother tongues, but native English speakers too. Their diction, replete with neologisms, bears an an uncanny semblance to George Orwell's NewSpeak, namely it serves more to preclude unwanted thoughts than to expand mutual understanding. If the UK leaves the European Union, Ireland may be the only country where English spoken as the primary vernacular. (see English language could be dropped from European Union after Brexit) I'm beginning to feel the tide is turning on globalisation as people become more aware of what they are losing. We can actually harness modern technology to break language barriers without jettisoning our traditions and cultural identity. Will machine translation kill English as Lingua Franca?

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Power Dynamics

Is Another Europe Possible?

 implified  anguages of  urope map 0

The Democratic Delusion

Only a few days ago opinion polls showed a lead for the Leave side in the upcoming referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union. A growing cross-section of public opinion has been swung on key arguments on sovereignty and democracy so that the elected British parliament can regain control. From the outset the Remain side has had an inbuilt advantage as supporters of the status quo. They have practically the whole global establishment on their side. Everyone from Christine Lagarde at the IMF to President Obama as well as the most prominent economic research institutes supports the UK's continued membership of the EU. The leaderships of all the main parties represented in the British Parliament have also thrown their weight behind the Remain campaign. Even Labour's new leader Jeremy Corbyn, a longstanding opponent of EU expansionism and disciple of Tony Benn, came out in favour of the EU alongside the Greens, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and Scottish Nationalists. In the last general election only one major party, UKIP, stood clearly against EU membership. They may have gained 3.9 million votes, but only won one parliamentary seat. The referendum, it seemed, was a battle between the Tory Right, UKIP and a motley crew of mavericks from other parties versus everyone else, a clearcut fight between our interconnected global future and our insular past or between cosmopolitan universalism and reactionary nationalism. Yet to the astonishment of orthodox opinion leaders ordinary people no longer trust establishment experts or really care about nebulous concepts like economic growth (which just means a bigger GDP). People actually care about their country and social cohesion. Globalisation has largely benefited big corporations and the upwardly mobile professional classes to the detriment of the traditional native working classes.

The StrongerIn campaign has always emphasised Europe, something people associate with good cuisine, wine, beer, sunny holidays, fine art, literature, scientific excellence and a wonderful diversity of traditional cultural identities. How can we leave our European friends? Amazingly millions of ordinary working class voters are fully aware of the distinction between Europe and a superstate imposed on 28 of its countries. To confuse Europe with the EU is like mistaking Russia for the Soviet Union (although if you want to be pedantic at least the USSR comprised the whole of Russia, while the EU excludes European Russia).

Away from university campuses, corporate boardrooms and trendy international development agencies, most people still identify with their community, their home town, their region and their country much more than with hazy concepts such as Europe, increasingly indistinguishable from a broader universalism inspired by the American dream.

Real issue is not Europe at all, but unbalanced migratory flows

While the Remain crowd may have persuasive arguments on economics, the advantages of a common market and cooperation on environmental and security issues, they have always had one weakness in the eyes of many ordinary voters in England, Scotland and Wales, unbalanced migratory flows. To put things into perspective, in the 1970s approximately 100,000 moved to Britain every year, while a similar number left. Indeed in some years more left and entered. Net migration picked up in the 1980s, subsided slightly before growing gradually in the1990s along with global trends for greater labour mobility especially towards more prosperous countries. However, since 1998 net migration climbed steadily and has fluctuated between 200,000 and 330,000 since. The raw figures for 2015 show 630,000 moved to the UK for long term residence (counted as more than 12 months) and 297,000 went the other way. That's a phenomenal rate of demographic change if it continues over the next 15 years. See A summary history of immigration to Britain and Net Migration Statistics.

These crude statistics do not reflect the socio-cultural reality people experience in their everyday lives. If the quality of life keeps improving and communities retain some degree of continuity, immigration can, for want of a better word, enrich society. However, the sustainability of high levels of net migration over a long period of time depends not only on the quantity of newcomers, but also on their quality in terms of age, skills an cultural compatibility as well naturally as the host country's carrying capacity. Thus a large country like Australia can assimilate a greater number of immigrants every year than smaller and more densely populated European or Asian countries. What people perceive is how their community evolves, most important will their children have good opportunities to prosper or will they have to leave their community or fall into a trap of welfare dependence and/or job insecurity? Where you stand on Britain's great immigration debate is likely to depend on your sense of social and economic security as well as your regional identity. This explains why the greatest opposition to mass migration tends to come from outlying suburban areas of indigenous white working classes, although it is not uncommon among second or third generation descendants of Caribbean immigrants who have had to compete with newcomers from Eastern Europe at the lower end of labour market.

The biggest tragedy is a political class increasingly out of touch with ordinary people and only concerned with special interest groups who serve other agendas. If you inhabit a metropolitan elite bubble, you may believe corporate globalisation (a hackneyed term, but what else should we call it?) has benefited everyone except perhaps a few losers who keep moaning about immigrants taking their jobs. The truth is usually much more complex, mainly because of rapid technological change and ensuing job insecurity. The millions of manufacturing jobs that provided a livelihood for the working classes before the 1970s will not return. They have already been outsourced and/or automated. If young workers cannot adapt to the demands of a forever more dynamic service sector or a rapidly metamorphosing tech sector, they are likely to be condemned to a life of unrewarding temporary jobs and long periods of unemployment falling victim to all the scourges of modern society, such as depression, social anxiety and drug addiction. Youth unemployment in the UK is masked by the growth in further education, zero-hour contracts and part-time jobs. In Southern Europe youth unemployment now stands well above 40%. Many countries experience a kind of piggyback migration with waves of migrants from North Africa and Middle East arriving just as locals move to Northern Europe or, if they're lucky, Australia or Canada. The demographic and migratory trends that have seen dramatic changes in the ethnic composition of many urban districts have reverberations across Europe. We see people move literally in all directions. British entrepreneurs and pensioners may move to Spanish, Portuguese or Bulgarian tourist resorts, while millions of Eastern and Southern Europeans have escaped high unemployment to compete in the Northern Europe's booming service sector, but now find themselves displaced by new migratory waves from further afield. Likewise the indigenous middle classes have tended to move away from cities to suburban retreats and this occurs as much in Sweden or Belgium as it does in England and parts of Scotland.

The real irony in this whole Brexit debate is that other Europeans want to thwart the Brussels behemoth just as much as we do. Everywhere grassroots movements from Beppe Grillo's Movimento 5 Stelle (5 Star Movement) in Italy, Podemos in Spain, AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) in Germany and most notoriously Marie Le Pen's Front National want to wrest power from a centralising superstate. While millions of Eastern Europeans took advantage of job opportunities in wealthier European countries, they have not been so keen to accept their share of recent non-European migrants and refugees. Most Europeans would be happy with a looser community of nation states with separate currencies, protected labour markets, but largely tariff-free trade. We need to cooperate on common environmental and security concerns, scientific research, cultural and educational exchanges. We just do not need an all-powerful superstate that suppresses traditional national and regional identities and exacerbates economic divides between rich and poorer regions by imposing one-size fits all monetary policies on everyone. Europeans are not North Americans. We value our national identities and let's unite to build a different kind of European Community with a fraction of the budget of the former EU. We do not want to see the return of yesteryear's national rivalries or national despotisms, but a mosaic of peace-loving independent countries each doing things in slightly different ways. Brexit is probably the quickest way to achieve this as it would prompt renegotiations and embolden EU-sceptic organisations across Europe to challenge Brussels' hegemony. However, even a narrow Remain win would send a clear signal people want the levers of power to be much closer to home. Sadly in the wake of the murder of Jo Cox MP, I doubt the leave side can win, except by the narrowest margins. A more probably outcome will be 55% for Remain on a lower turnout as many reluctant Brexiters will be burdened by guilt for the crazy actions of one mentally deranged loner.

However, even with a comfortable victory for the Remain side, the fundamental weaknesses of the EU project will not go away. The Euro is unlikely to survive the bankruptcy of the Italian state or ten more years of mass migrations from North Africa and Middle East. The question is whether we could build a pan-European movement to dismantle the EU project peacefully and democratically or if it's too late and we let Europe descend into civil war between rival native and migrant communities when the next global banking crisis comes?

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Power Dynamics

Rebutted: Top trendy arguments against balanced migration

  1. Immigration control is racist

    Unless you share your property with others less fortunate than yourself, you're racist too. Immigration controls ensure we can plan services and look after those already in our country. Besides our country has a limited carrying capacity and with an uncertain global economy it would be unwise to rely too much on imported food and raw materials to sustain our growing population.

  2. You're exaggerating, we have plenty of empty houses and green fields

    Only 13% of the world's land is arable at all. Most is very inhospitable, but we need countryside not only for farming, but for clean water, air and the replenishment of an ecosystem that took 3 billion years to evolve. England is already the most densely populated country in Europe and its population is growing at the fastest rate since 1800. There may be many empty houses, but they tend to be not fit for human habitation (a terraced house bought for £700,000 recently collapsed during renovation), are too upmarket (e.g. luxury flats for property investors) or are simply in the wrong place (e.g. in ghost towns, dangerous high-crime areas, in busy high-traffic zones not suitable for young children etc.). However, it's true around Europe there are around 11 million empty houses, most of which are naturally in Eastern and Southern Europe in areas of high unemployment and emigration.

  3. Our population is ageing.

    We need more nurses and carers to look after our parents and grandparents. You refer only to our native population. The UK now has one of the highest birth rates in Europe and this is much higher among recent migrants than the autochthonous community. Besides migrants age too, so unless we train our own young people we'll just end up importing forever more cheap carers and relying on imported goods and resources to sustain our growing population. The idea that net migration boosts the economy is a kind of ponzi scheme.

  4. Migrants pay lots of tax

    Partly true. However, migrants also consume services and require more infrastructure. Most reports claiming migrants have made large net contributions to the exchequor fail to take into account services that they use. An oft-quoted figure is that between 2001 and 2011 EU migrants paid £20 billion in tax. However, that works out at 2 billion year for approximately 2 million people leaving just £1000 per head to cover the cost of additional services required. An average worker has to earn over 32K per annum to cover services consumed. Yet despite this extra tax revenue, our governments is still running a massive budget deficit.

  5. Our country was too boring before the year 2000

    Actually many urban areas were already culturally diverse in 2000, but migration began to run out of control in the late 1990s. Before then we could manage and assimilate people from many countries into our home-bred communities, now we create parallel societes. Besides what do you have against native Britons?

  6. We have a skills gap

    Mainly because successive governments have failed to invest in key science and engineering education or provide young people with enough apprenticeships. Indeed despite record levels of immigration, the skills gap is growing rather than shrinking as we have a vast oversupply of unskilled and semi-skilled workers, but rising demand.

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Power Dynamics

In Defence of Red Ken

Ken Livingstone, former Mayor of London and Labour MP, is back in the news for having allegedly misinterpreted a politically sensitive chapter of the 20th century. John Mann MP, an avid supporter of all recent US-led wars in the Middle East and Central Asia, accused Mr Livingstone of rewriting history by suggesting Hitler's National Socialist Party supported Zionism. Yet the historical record is clear on the broad collaboration between Zionists and Nazis in the early and mid 1930s. On many other subjects Red Ken has had a rather liberal interpretation of reality, bending it to suit his left-leaning globalist agenda. While Red Ken has embraced the capital city's ethnic diversity, he has had to please two rival constituencies of support, which I will for sake of simplicity call Global Zionists and Islamic Fundamentalists. A greater challenge was reconciling the imperialist and theocratic views of these influential factions with broader social justice, anti-war and environmentalist ideals. Indeed I would argue a narrow obsession with Nazi Germany and the Palestinian/Israeli conflicts blinds us to a much deeper understanding of the far-reaching socio-environmental changes that have occurred over the last sixty years. The United States arms not only Israel, but has a very special relationship with Saudi Arabia too.

Global Zionists are not merely concerned with Israel or even with the Jewish community, but with geopolitics subservient to a US / Israeli axis of power. Part and parcel of this worldview is the continued need for proactive military intervention in many strategic regions of the world to superimpose governments friendly to their global vision. Other variants of Zionism merely advocate a Jewish homeland living in peace with its Arab neighbours. I don't know why these complex issues should concern British politicians. One of the main justifications for the establishment of the State of Israel, the 1947 expulsion of half a million Palestinian Arabs and continued Jewish migration to Israel is of course the memory of the Nazi Holocaust of European Jews. The basic narrative that Western media has promoted since the end of the Second World War is that the defeated Nazi regime represented an absolute evil and thus all world powers should collaborate to thwart the reemergence of National Socialism, whenever recalcitrant nationalism raises its anachronistic head. Every single recent military intervention has been justified in these crude anti-fascist terms. Hilary Benn's December 2015 speech on British participation in the bombing of Syria is a classic case in point, evoking the glories of the infamous Churchill / Stalin / Roosevelt pact against Nazi Germany (conveniently forgetting the Molotov pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany only 3 years earlier and widescale Anglo-American economic cooperation with Nazi Germany before and during WW2) and thus placing extreme faith in one's own ruling class to spread peace and democracy rather than sow the seeds of more discontent. All recent wars share one common thread. They enjoy the support of global Zionists, including those who pose on the humanitarian left, while Islamists usually oppose US / Israeli machinations and often disagree with orthodox interpretations of the murky events that accompanied World War Two. Here I emphasise usually because the US, UK and Israel have often supported Muslim fundamentalists such as the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria, and most notoriously the autocratic Wahhabist kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

While Ken Livingstone has usually opposed recent US-led interventions, in 1998 he supported NATO's bombing of the former Yugoslavia because the alleged victims of Serb ethnic cleansing were Muslim Albanian Kosovars. In truth the Serb minority had been shrinking for decades and in the aftermath of the NATO-imposed truce Orthodox Christian Serbs were forced to either leave Kosovo altogether or retreat to a few tiny enclaves. Moreover, only a naive fool would deny the disproportionate influence that the Zionist and Islamist lobbies hold over British, European and North American political discourse. Had Ken Livingstone chosen to downplay Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's role in the 1918–21 genocide of Armenians, I suspect few mainstream politicians or media pundits would have cared.

Far be it from me to leap to the defence of Ken Livingstone on anything, not least on his support for the anti-democratic European Union and unbalanced mass migration. I recall welcoming his radical policies of the early 80s when, as leader of the then Greater London Council, he slashed public transport fares in a large city with notorious traffic congestion. The GLC's Fare's Fair policy led to 10% decline in car usage in 1982 and let's not forget with a much lower population than today of around 6.3 million (now 8.5 million and growing). This policy was famously overruled by the Tory-dominated House of Lords before the GLC was abolished altogether. Ken Livingstone is basically a Euro-Communist. He passionately believes greater globalisation and interdependence can unleash the forces of progress towards a more peaceful, prosperous and equitable future. Yet as Mayor he oversaw a widening gap between rich and poor, spiralling property prices and a growing legion of international commuters with few roots in the city alongside a rising Muslim population, who now constitute his party's most loyal voters.

May I suggest Global Zionism and Islamic Fundamentalism are two sides of the same coin. They both seek to impose their dogma on a largely borderless world. They both support mass migration, the displacement of native peoples and the undermining of traditional nation states with a few notable exceptions such as Israel that may continue to select its immigrants on strict ethno-religious grounds. More important they both need each other to spread fear, destabilise traditional social structures and to impose draconian surveillance that liberal Westerners would customarily oppose. More disturbingly, the trendy left regularly turns a blind eye to overtly misogynist practices within Europe's growing Muslim communities.

Britain needs a common sense party standing up for ordinary people born and bred in this country, most of whom are neither Jewish nor Muslim, advocating both social justice, environmental responsibility and long-term socio-economic stability. We once called it the Labour Party. It has now become little more than a pressure group of naive no-borders campaigners, illiberal social engineers and warmongering Blairites posing as anti-fascists. We need an alternative to rampant corporatism and over-reliance on free trade and banking. Moreover, we need a political movement focussed on empowering ordinary people by letting us develop the high-tech skills we will need tomorrow rather than being a mere outlet for Chinese robots.

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Power Dynamics

Meet the new Universalist Establishment

Corporate Logos

Trendy leftwingers are the new ultra-conformists

Many observers still tend to simplify political analysis on a one-dimensional left / right spectrum. We might use many other scales such as state ownership vs private enterprise, libertarian vs authoritarian, individualism vs collectivism, local vs national, national vs international or environmental friendliness vs economic growth, equality vs meritocracy or cultural diversity versus social cohesiveness, but somehow we still try to place each opinion somewhere on the elusive left-right scale. One could be a libertarian capitalist or an authoritarian environmentalist or even a green advocate of private enterprise or, heaven forbid, a libertarian socialist (namely someone who believes people may one day freely choose to share the fruits of their labour with others). I could go on forever, but I find another key differentiator a much better gauge of political leanings, pro-establishment vs anti-establishment or conformist vs anti-conformist. Rebels just love to exhibit their anti-establishment credentials. But the new-age hipsters who rebelled against the old guard back in the 60s and 70s have become the new conformists. On issue after issue, the radical chic elite are at odds with the more conservative traditional working classes practically everywhere. Most people welcome higher living standards and better working conditions, but they do not necessarily want to redefine culturally entrenched concepts of family and ethno-religious identity. Indeed the most successful way of persuading people to abandon cherished social customs is to lure them away from local communitarian values towards global culture of atomised individual consumers, micro-managed and monitored by a new class of marketers, social workers and supervisors. This transition is beautifully described in Adam Curtis's 3 part documentary The Century of the Self Whenever you consider the merits of any policy, just ask what does the establishment want and why?

Of even greater importance is the real composition of today's power brokers. For some reason the wishful-thinking left clings to the outdated belief the UK establishment still comprises a bunch of White Anglo-Saxon Male Tories, Hereditary Peers and Church of England bishops. They imagine the British establishment would love to turn the clock back to some mythical Victorian golden age when women could not vote, the poor starved and much of the world was subject to racialist colonial rule. Based on this logic all reactionary conservative views are pro-establishment, while enlightened universalist policies are by definition anti-establishment or at least break with the ancien régime. If you measure progress by the demise of the Victorian British establishment and their antiquated values, then we have made huge strides towards a new era of ubiquitous consumer culture.

The spectre of a reactionary nationalist status quo may well have reflected reality at the turn of the 20th century, but today power is very much in the hands of a bunch of global corporations, banks, non-governmental organisations and supranational unions. Organisations as diverse as Tesco, Goldman Sachs, the London Stock Exchange, Microsoft, Google, George Soros's Open Society Foundation, the BBC, CNN, News International, HSBC and the WPP Group (world's largest advertising agency) are all infinitely more powerful that the last remaining British aristocrats and are fully committed to the universalist vision of a new multicoloured borderless world order of happy consumers managed by myriad local agencies. They speak the same politically correct, environmentally aware and culturally inclusive language as the aspirational left. Indeed many former leftists have ended up working for the multifaceted tentacles of our new globalist establishment.

Of the top ten billionaires in the UK, only one descends from the old British aristocracy, The Duke of Westminster at No. 9. Of the other nine, only one other, George G Weston, descends from a British, albeit Anglo-Canadian, family. The other 8 are foreign nationals, recent immigrants or stem from the wider Anglosphere (e.g. the Reuben brothers, Iraqi Jews born in Bombay and migrated to England). Britain's board rooms, media empires and financial institutions are chock-a-block with non-natives, i.e. people whose grandparents did not live in the country before 1945. Now you may welcome this great internationalisation of British society, but it still stands in contrast with most of the resident population, who identify as English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish and whose surnames dominated phone books in the 1950s and 60s. As late as 1997, 75% of the British population could trace their roots to the first settlers of these Isles after the last ice age (as evidenced by Stephen Oppenheimer in the The Myth of British Ancestry) and most of the rest had assimilated almost totally over several generations. Second or third generation Glaswegian Italians or Mancunian Poles have more or less the same outlook on life as their autochthonous neighbours. Naturally most migration before the 1950s occurred within the British Isles, especially since the advent of the industrial revolution. Our elites have always been much more cosmopolitan than their underlings (the Royal family is largely of continental European extraction), but the rapid pace of global convergence has swept aside even the old elites, descended from the Norman French with an admixture of later arrivals from the Huguenots and East European Jews.

Localism vs Globalism

However hard we may try, it is almost impossible to take an absolutist stance on localisation or globalisation, though the direction of travel has accelerated towards the latter. For instance I may argue that we should source food more locally and cut waste, but in many densely populated areas an absolutist interpretation of this policy could mean starvation or having to adapt to a narrow range of staple foods available locally. By contrast if a city were to depend wholly on imports from afar, people could starve within days in the event of a banking collapse or other natural or man-made calamities that may disrupt trade. Both total interdependence and complete isolation have their prices in terms of personal freedom, living standards and happiness.

Anti-Europeanism

The upcoming EU referendum in the UK exposes the growing divide between globalist elites and nativist working classes. In the UK this may manifest itself as oppsosition to the European Union, but elsewhere it is expressed as left or right-branded opposition to neoliberal mercantilism, whether in the guise of the French Front National or the Italian Movimento Cinque Stelle (5 Star Movement led by Beppe Grillo). Universalists claim to stand for progress and lend lip service to ideals such as democracy, womens' rights, sexual freedom and multiculturism, while overseeing the transfer of power away from local institutions to remote organisations that can override any decisions taken locally. Having sold the illusion of democracy to a sceptical public, the cosmopolitan elite now frown upon any expressions of popular opinions as reactionary, xenophobic, homophobic or just plain ill-informed. This is why elitists are keen to give voice to strategic victim groups, whether ethnic minorities, recent immigrants, disability rights' activists, transexuals or careerist women, as long as their aspirations serve a long-term agenda of global convergence with all power vested in a handful of universal corporations. This doesn't mean these perceived victim groups do not have valid grievances, just that the proposed solutions tend to empower remote entities at the expense of traditional institutions. Thus a globalist is more concerned about the rights of Muslim immigrants in Western Europe than those of Muslims in the Middle East or North Africa. If Muslims had viable, stable and largely self-reliant home countries, then they could seek their own path to social betterment. Their culture would evolve in parallel to Western European societies. They could choose which aspects of our culture they wish to adopt and further develop the aspects of their culture that best suit their needs and aspirations. Over a century of Western interference in the Middle East has destabilised the region, leading paradoxically to the emergence of a new more fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, while Christianity in the West has given way to a new atheistic consumer culture devoid of strong family values. The rising cost of parenting in the affluent world has led to a growing demographic divide between the fertile Islamic world and cautious European and East Asian worlds. Mass migration will almost by design create a culture clash that will further empower surveillance bodies. Some believe the end result will be the Islamisation of Europe and indeed in some European cities Muslim children already outnumber those of other religious affiliations. However, I very much doubt the same globalist elite that helped destabilise the Middle East and incessantly promotes fun culture among the world's youth would like to see the transformation of Europe into a new enlarged Caliphate. Rather they trust the immense emotional and technological power of the world's largest media conglomerates to undermine traditional values everywhere and usher in a brave new borderless world of happy consumers and international commuters. Democracy will be little more than petitions asking Starbucks or Apple to pay a little more tax to other global organisations over which we have no real control.

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Out-of-touch Euro-phobic Elites

I love Europe, its peoples, its cuisines, its landscapes, its architecture, its music, its literature, its languages and its philosophers. Call me a nostalgic but I don't want the French to become German, the Germans to become English, the English to become Polish, the Italians to be Swedish or the Swedes to become Moroccan. I'm quite happy with the French being French and the Swedes being Swedish, just as long they do not impose their ways on everyone else. Now if the Swedes acquire a taste for Italian or Catalan cuisine, while the Portuguese hire Danish engineers to teach them how to build wind turbines, that's also fine by me. I think we could all learn a good deal from each other, as long as we can choose which bits of other people's culture and technology to adopt.

I truly, though rather naively, wish the best aspects of European culture could have been exported to the rest of the world through more peaceful and reciprocally beneficial means. Some European countries have held vast empires in other continents, often supplanting much of the indigenous population. The 19th and 20th centuries also saw some very dark chapters in European history, as rival imperial powers fought murderous wars to impose their economic and cultural supremacy. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all these disparate peoples could come together in a new club to resolve their differences and build a new shared future. The European Union would seem to have been created with the best of intentions, until you take a closer look at which vested interests its remote leadership really defends.

The Italians consider heaven to be a place where lovers are Italian, cooks are French, mechanics are German, police officers are English and it is all coordinated by the Swiss. By contrast hell is a place where lovers are Swiss, cooks are English, mechanics are French, police officers are German and the Italians coordinate it all. If we set aside national stereotypes, the European Union is beginning to resemble this satirical version of hell, except Europe's new rulers don't really like Europeans, at least not those who choose to stay in their own country and prefer their own national or regional culture.

Today Labour's mysterious shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, gave us an insight into the thinking of policymakers by claiming borders between countries will become irrelevant by the end of the century.

That gives us just 84 years to solve all the planet's social, environmental and economic imbalances, something we've been unable to accomplish since the agrarian revolution ten to fifteen thousand years ago. Without borders and local governments in some way accountable to their citizens, people will inevitably just follow the money and relocate to the most prosperous regions. This would turn the whole world into a giant version of London, but with much greater extremes of rich and poor. Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party merely offers a more naive and idealistic version of the Blairite dream of one-world government via intermediary stages like the misnamed European Union. They may pretend to oppose bombing or support a radical redistribution of wealth from rich to poor, but they are much more concerned with opposing any attempts to regain greater national sovereignty. As British steelworkers see their jobs outsourced to China and unemployed young Britons face growing competition from a never-ending stream of cheap migrant labour, Jeremy Corbyn chose to spend last weekend with migrants at the infamous Calais Jungle asylum seeker camp. In urging the government to accept more refugees, Jeremy Corbyn enjoyed the support of the BBC (who hosted Songs of Praise there in August last year), the Guardian, Independent, numerous NGOs such as George Soros' Open Society Foundation, David Miliband (now working for Rescue International, a refugee charity) and incredibly, Tony Blair, who as we know is a mere spokesperson for global banking and energy cartels.

Whether your tribal sympathies lie with the notional left or right, across Europe's diverse national communities one trend is clearly coming to the fore. Political elites, whether left or right, are ideologically committed to a process of gradual global convergence and will pursue these objectives irrespective of their electors' wishes. Some policies seem quite benign, e.g. promoting English language teaching to help youngsters compete in a global economy (though often undermining national languages). Other policies are often welcomed by progressive campaigners, e.g. enacting gender equality laws or enforcing new environmental and safety regulations, but lack any real grassroots support. However, some policies may attract wide-scale opposition and thus need to be carefully managed or simply explained as a necessary compromise for membership of the European Union. Millions of Southern Europeans working in small family-run cottage industries have found themselves out-competed as national governments have been forced to remove protectionist tariffs for traditional products. It comes as little surprise the two avowedly globalist British trade commissioners, Leon Brittan and Peter Mandelson, negotiated free trade deals on behalf of the European Union. They may have belonged to the British Conservative and Labour parties, but their policies did not serve the long-term interests of either British or continental European workers, but rather those of banks and multinational companies traded on the London Stock Exchange.

A quick perusal of the Guardian newspaper's job section soon reveals a plethora of relatively well-paid vacancies for transnational organisations (charities, NGOs, large corporations, consultancies, legal firms etc.) concerned with global governance, a concept which trumps traditional territorial institutions. One seriously has to wonder why so many well-funded NGOs actively promote mass migration as a solution to all known social, economic and environmental problems. To wit, if people flee destabilised war-torn regions, rather than oppose those responsible for funding rival militias or expose the sheer mendacity of our corporate media over the true causes of these conflicts, global progressives will just urge us to welcome more refugees and blame recalcitrant local leaders for all bloodshed. Over the last 20 years we've witnessed successive bogeymen in the guise of Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, Muammar Gadafi and more recently Bashar Assad. Whether these leaders were really as bad as our mainstream made out is immaterial as their power pales in comparison with that of the world largest banks and commercial concerns. They were all very local phenomena involved in complex regional conflicts, whose outcome inevitably empowered global institutions and led to more displacement of local communities.

Back in 1975 my father, a card-carrying member of the Labour party, campaigned for Britain to leave the European Economic Community joining many others of on the left of Labour movement from Tony Benn to Barbara Castle and Peter Shore. I seem to recall trade unions advocating import controls and supporting the Buy British campaign. Now the other politically active members of my extended family are all steadfastly pro-EU as are the leaderships of the SNP, Plaid Cymru, Liberal Democrats, the Greens and the Cameronite wing of the un-Conservative Party. Many on the left mistakenly view the EU as a progressive force for good on issues such as workers' rights and environmental protection. They suggest the only reason anyone could be opposed to the EU is because they hate Europe, are intolerant of migrants and want to leave poor UK residents at the mercy of a nasty Tory government intent on undoing everything good the EU has ever done. The EU is certainly fairly good at marketing its projects and achievements. I regularly see placards by car parks, historical buildings and playgrounds proclaiming the role of EU grants in their construction or restoration. Countless NGOs and research institutes also depend on EU grants. So not only do we let the EU decide how to spend our money, but much of it serves to promote the EU itself.

One would naively imagine the EU reflects the wishes of different European countries, some sort of compromise between the needs of Italian textile manufacturers, French wine growers, German carmakers, Polish coal miners, Spanish farmers and British media workers. Alas it's nothing of the sort. European regulations have prevented governments from defending the interests of their own electors and forced them to open up markets and even public tenders to all and sundry. The main beneficiaries of the EU are large corporations who need a dynamic, malleable and mobile workforce and an expanding consumer market. Moreover, Europe's elites do not even trust other Europeans. They seem hell-bent on managing a massive movement of people both within and from outside the current borders of the EU as well as expanding their megastate to Turkey and the Ukraine. If you love Europe, you should oppose unaccountable superstates. As the EU's dream of culturally homogenised brave new world order evaporates, we should build a new alliance of independent peoples, trading fairly where it makes sense, sharing ideas and technology, but also never forgetting the little native people who thrive in culturally cohesive communities.

Categories
Power Dynamics

Destabilisation on the eve of WW3

stop bombing

Opinion leaders in the West seem to take four positions on the fast-moving Middle East quagmire:

  1. Some favour more proactive military intervention against our purported enemies and welcome more refugees and economic migrants from the wartorn region allegedly to boost the economy. This group clearly believes not only in the concept of humanitarian wars, but also favour global governance over nation states. It's the classic Blairite position.
  2. Others seem quite gung-ho about bombing the Middle East to smithereens, but are not so keen on accepting refugees to appease popular opinion at home. This is a classic position of rightwing populists. They oppose para-state terrorism with superstate terrorism under the pretext of national security.
  3. Some are keen to welcome as many refugees and economic migrants as possible, but oppose more imperialist intervention. They are keen to do the right thing and blame any social and economic problems on the Western multinationals and US imperialism. However, this faction only ever seems to get its way on migration and despite years of antiwar demonstrations always loses when it comes to support for more military intervention. They claim to oppose destabilisation abroad, but welcome it at home often preferring outsiders to their own reactionary working classes.
  4. A fourth group, with surprisingly large support from pragmatic public opinion, opposes both more military intervention and more mass immigration. Some may characterise this as isolationist and you're certainly a hypocrite if you want to rely on cheap oil from the Middle East. Mind you, many small-c conservatives would also support protected markets, anathema to the largely globalist elites, whether left or right-branded.

Which position is least likely to harm more people and which position is most likely to prevent more terrroists outrages in European cities? Here's another secret: While political elites favour high-risk strategies, often billed as progressive, ordinary people on the ground tend to favour stability. Any policy that's likely to heighten tension, jeopardise job security or cause large population movements tends to meet with popular disapproval. The masses have to be persuaded to support either war or radical socio-environmental change.

If you believe much mainstream propaganda from CNN, Fox News and the BBC and are prepared to forget the details of recent military interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, you may well believe only the enlightened West can save the Middle East from itself. You may be persuaded that this time our leaders support the good guys and will bring about peace and democracy. I think this would be an extremely naive position at odds with mountains of hard evidence, not least the collusion of US, UK and France in arming and funding rival Islamic fundamentalist groups and their massive arms and oil trade with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar and UAE.

However, beyond any shred of doubt the infamous Islamic State or Daesh (if you prefer) have committed unspeakable atrocities. We do not know if they are directly linked to the terrorists who killed over 130 innocent people in Paris on 13 November, but we do know large swathes of Europe's Muslim population have lost trust in Western enlightenment and a vast oversupply of cheap labour from migrant communities has exacerbated the deskilling of Europe's native working classes. More important just as the native birth rate has declined in much of Central and Southern Europe, the continent's Muslim population continues to grow both through greater fertility (or rather a greater cultural propensity to go forth and multiply) and through immigration. Whether this phenomenon is good, bad or neutral surely depends on the sustainability of the economic model that has driven such rapid growth worldwide and led so many to move to pastures anew. However, unless we can address the growing sense of helplessness of Europe's disparate parallel communities and keep growing the economy by extracting more resources (by outsourcing production to low wage regions and becoming more reliant on imports), any economic meltdown is bound to see a rise in tensions between rival groups.

In an ideal world we would not need to police borders or even lock our doors at night, but then in such a Shangri-La we would not steal resources from our neighbour's land or fund gang warfare to discredit our rivals. By pursuing a high-risk strategy of more military intervention in a volatile region, our ruling classes have failed in their primary duty to defend their electors. This strategy will only breed more distrust, limit everyone's personal freedom and lead more to escape the inevitable ensuing social mayhem. In a time of so much disinformation and emotive arguments, it takes courage to oppose a double dose of destabilisation.

Winning the War of Minds

Over the last 20 or more or years, one faction has usually won the day, proponents of military interventionism, open borders and global corporatism. Yet some armchair analysts may be forgiven for failing to notice how the media manipulate the traditional left/right divide to win favour with the electorate. Just before the 2003 US/UK occupation of Iraq, two million British people demonstrated against military actions, while public opinion remained steadfastly sceptical of the changing narrative of warmongers. Yet it hardly mattered, once a hardcore of activists had vented their frustration and parliament had staged a token debate with a few cabinet resignations, the then Labour government could rely on the Tory Party to offset any damaged caused by Labour rebels. The US would have gone ahead with or without UK support anyway. Yet within a week of the invasion of Iraq, UK public opinion supported the government again, for evil Saddam Hussein had been toppled. The mainstream left and right often play a game, taking it turn to advocate bold globalising policies and blaming their predecessors for any adverse effects of previous escapades. Thus the Tories blame NewLabour for running an unsustainable deficit and failing to make work pay by offering generous welfare handouts and encourage migrant labourers. Yet in power, the Tories seem just as happy as NewLabour to oversee the transformation of UK Labour market into an international jobs fair. Big business has long considered nation states with protective labour markets obstacles they have to overcome. They also need access to resources to drive economic growth, but are smart enough to appeal to universalism when they want to smash traditional nation state borders and to humanitarianism when they want to topple inconvenient governments in another part of the world.

Right now, Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party doesn't stand a chance in hell of winning the next general election. The Tories rub their hands in glee as the Labour Leader espouses a combination of international welfarism, shortsighted neo-Keynsianism, naive open-borderism and conscientious objection to incessant warmongering. Traditional labour supporters may well support Corbyn on the latter point, but actually care about defending their nation and livelihoods. Cameron has the Tory press and decades of subtle BBC propaganda on his side. He can pose as a responsible defender of Western values, forced to take action against foreign terrorists and despotic regimes. Yet both the Labour Left and the Tory Right have failed to address the primary concerns of most ordinary people, security at home. Your average working class person doesn't care about the details of the Syrian conflcit or whether ISIS/Daesh are a bigger threat to us than Bashar Al-Assad. They care about their neighbourhoods and jobs. If you want to bring terrorism onto the streets of Britain, then a combination of more airstrikes and more open-door immigration could usher in a police state much more authoritarian than anything Augusto Pinochet or Erich Honnecker could have envisaged.

Categories
Power Dynamics

Confusing arguments about Refugees

refugees

Some of us are fully aware of the semantic differences between refugees and migrants. A migrant is anyone who moves from one region to another. All people classed as refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants, emigrants, settlers, travellers or nomads are migrants. Migration is a wholly neutral term that implies nothing about our motivations or plans or indeed whether we are moving to another continent, country or just another region of the same country. By contrast a refugee is a special category of migrant fleeing persecution, war and/or environmental calamities. A refugee has little choice but to move to a place of safety. Helping refugees is an act of human solidarity, not a business transaction. You don't help refugees to boost your economy, provide a convenient source of cheap labour or transform your country into a dynamic multicultural mosaic of ethnically diverse communities. You help refugees because you can and because you hope one day your act of human solidarity will be repaid in kind. Yet the mass-migration lobby recycle many of the same arguments used for increased economic migration. Indeed I agree in some circumstances economic migration can benefit the native population, but that has nothing to do with refugees, unless you are prepared only to help those who can enrich you and not those who need your help most.

More important, refugees do not choose to abandon their homeland for selfish economic betterment, but to seek safety until they can return to their homeland. Sometimes this may not be easy, but good samaritans help others to help themselves.

In 1973 Ugandan dictator Idi Amin expelled Indians as part of his Africanisation programme. Indian Ugandans formed a distinctive business community who did not fully integrate with African Ugandans and were often seen as lackeys of British colonialism. They were caught in a limbo between Britain, whose language they spoke fluently, and India where most had never lived. Some moved to India, but the UK accepted some 30,000 as many recognised the British Empire's primary responsibility for their plight. This is often cited as an example of successful accommodation of refugees, largely because they were relatively well-educated and had a strong entrepreneurial spirit. However, in most emergencies wealthy Western countries do little to help. Compare and contrast the way the British government welcomed 30,000 Asian Ugandans to the way only a few years earlier it resettled around 2000 Chagos islanders to temporary camps in Mauritius at the behest of the US State Department so they could build a strategic airbase there. To military planners the Chagossians represented little more than an inconvenience that had to be dealt with in the name of progress, a little like rehousing the residents of dwellings demolished to make way for a new motorway. British colonial history is littered with examples of resettlements and ethnic cleansing. Concern about refugees beyond one's immediate border zones is a very modern phenomenon, facilitated by 24/7 news and easy long-distance travel.

Now the mass-migration lobby have decided to exploit the very real Syrian refugee crisis. The 4 way civil war was caused largely by US and UK military intervention and funding of opposition militias, who later split and joined ISIS. Before the war most Syrians wanted to remain in their home country. Now over half the population has fled. Yet many of the same globalist forces that supported intervention first against the Assad regime and then against ISIS, also want European countries to welcome more refugees. The same is true for Libya. Before the overthrow of Colonel Gadafi, migratory flows from North Africa to Europe were relatively small, because for all his faults Gadafi stemmed the tide by accepting a fair number of Sub-Sarahan African immigrants to work in his oil-rich republic. After his regime fell and rival militias took over, the country has descended into chaos allowing a huge rise in people trafficking.

Migration is all about checks and balances

Until recently we talked mainly in terms of immigrants and emigrants, because before the age of cheap long distance travel such movements tended to be permanent. Europeans would emigrate to the Americas to start a new life and we would assimilate immigrants from other countries, often former colonies. However, many birds regularly migrate, a natural adaptation to seasonal and climatic variations. Common starlings will winter in Iberia or North Africa, but fly north to the British Isles in summer. We call this migration because it involves periodic round trips. We may assume if the Ice Age returned starlings would adapt their migratory patterns accordingly. Likewise some human communities still lead a nomadic lifestyle, especially in sparsely populated regions with inhospitable climates for much of the year. For most of humanity's existence, we were hunter gatherers organised into tribes who would regularly move within their known habitats. We lived more at one with nature. Our movements would adapt to natural ecological changes, but would usually lead us to familiar territory, unless overriding environmental vicissitudes motivated us to risk life and limb in search of new lands, which often meant traversing hundreds of miles of unchartered territory before discovering a new hospitable habitat. Again this process is correctly called migration because we had no foreknowledge of any human communities that might live in our new homeland. We did not migrate to colonise other people, but to find a new home for our community. Then around fifteen thousand years ago the agrarian revolution led more of us to abandon our nomadic lifestyle in favour of more permanent settlements that would become fiefdoms with armies and eventually lead to the first city states and expansionist empires. When you move from one country to another, you shift your allegiance and adapt to a different set of customs. That's why we talked of immigration and emigration.

By stressing migration rather than immigration, opinion leaders hoped to shift public perception away from the social and environmental challenges of accommodating more people with different cultural backgrounds into their neighbourhoods to the normalisation of free movement as a fact of post-modern 21st century life. Just as British people holiday in Spain or Turkey and even buy second homes there, others choose to move here for work. This seems fine as long as it's balanced and, dare I say, sustainable. Unfortunately, opinion leaders have only succeeded in persuading us to say migrants rather than immigrants. They have failed dismally in persuading us that mass movements of people and transient communities with rapidly changing ethnic compositions benefit longstanding native communities. They have merely impoverished the English language by removing important semantic distinctions.

Now the mass-migration lobby wants us to call all migrants refugees. Not only is this factually incorrect, it does a disservice to genuine refugees, who have to compete with economic migrants for access to the more prosperous safe havens.