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|From: Irish Political Review: Editorials|
|Date: August, 2016|
The Democratic Burden!
The Democratic Burden!
The United States Government must run the world. That is its pleasure and its self-imposed duty. A world that carried on without its active intervention in its affairs at every turn would not be right, and therefore would be intolerable to it.
There was a time, not very long ago, when it was Britain's duty, imposed on it by Providence, to run the world as its Empire. Somewhere about 1917 the small British homeland of the Empire realised that the task of making the world its Empire on behalf of a Higher Power was beyond it. It transferred its destiny to its offspring, the United States, and it undertook to place its wisdom at the disposal of Washington.
The political structure of the British state has, for 300 years, consisted of two parties. The constant party throughout that period has been the Tory Party. Since 1919 the other party has been the Labour Party. (Before that it was the Whig, or Liberal, Party.)
The British populace has always been organised for political action, and influenced in its opinion, by the two-party system. It has never been the case until this year that the populace formed its own opinions and acted contrary to the advice of the two political parties that shaped it.
The two-party system ceased, at least for a moment, to be hegemonic over the populace. It seems likely that the rupture will soon be mended on the Tory side. The Tory leadership was itself divided on the issue of leaving the European Union, and the part of it that was in sympathy with the rebellion of the Tory populace has now taken command.
On the Labour Side there has, however, been a basic disjuncture between the Parliamentary Party and the Party membership. The members have elected a Leader that the Parliamentary Party refuses to serve with. The majority of the Labour Parliamentary Party now sit on the backbenches and attack the Party Leader in chorus with the Tory Party.
Jeremy Corbyn was elected Leader under a new electoral system which gave a determining influence to the ordinary party members. The election of Corbyn is being compared to the action of a Trotskyist group, the Militant Tendency, which gained control of a couple of local Labour Parties in the 1980s. Stephen Kinnock, MP—son of Neil Kinnock, who scotched the Militant Tendency years ago—says: "We dealt with them before and we'll deal with them again" (Sky News interview on July 12th).
The Militant Tendency at its strongest was a small fraction of the Party members who voted for Corbyn last year—and it has long been extinct.
Corbyn was in no way responsible for bringing in the electoral system that elected him. That change was made by the Parliamentary Party majority, led by Ed Miliband, that now boycotts the Leader elected by it. Tony Blair welcomed the new system.
The reason given for the boycott is that the evidence shows that Corbyn could not win an election. But the boycott began as soon as Corbyn was elected, before there could be any electoral evidence one way or another. And the evidence since Corbyn was elected shows the Labour Party improving its position at every election.
The elder statesman of the Parliamentary Party is Neil (Lord) Kinnock, who had been vociferous about Corbyn's unelectability. Lord Kinnock is one of Labour's Leaders who never won an election—and he is the only Labour Leader who threw away an election victory that was all but in the bag when he made a reckless eve-of-election speech in 1992.
The Parliamentary Party, having boycotted Corbyn's leadership for 10 months, decided to force the issue in early July by forcing another leadership election.
The timing of the push coincided with the publication of the damning Chilcot Report on the Labour Party's war on Iraq in 2003, that destroyed the functional Iraqi State and reduced Iraqi society to a condition of murderous anarchy that remains ongoing. It can be assumed that the purpose of the timing was to divert attention from the Parliamentary Party's responsibility for the War by creating a Party crisis on another issue.
The Parliamentary Party might have chosen to deal with Chilcot's condemnation another way. Its new Party Leader was one of the small number of MPs who voted against the War on Iraq. The PLP might have regained its virtue by remaking itself around the fact.
It chose the alternative course of evading discussion of its responsibility for the War by threatening the Party with destruction if the Party membership does not reverse its decision of last year.
The Parliamentary Party hinted at declaring itself to be the Labour Party and electing its own Leader, in disregard of the Party membership, on the ground that its mandate was from the electorate while Corbyn's mandate as Leader was only from the membership.
If it believed its own debating point, there was a very easy way of putting the matter to the test. Angela Eagle, a senior member of the Party, with experience in Government, might have resigned her seat and re-fought it. Why did she not do so, and prove her point that she was electable and Corbyn wasn't? Because it was a virtual certainty that she would have lost her seat—and would have had difficulty getting herself nominated by her Constituency Party. In fact, she would probably have faced an official Labour candidate in such a by-election.
Although the General Election was only last year, a great change has happened in Britain since then. Brexit has happened and Blair has become damaged goods. Deference has weakened, and in the Labour Party it has broken because, in the extreme form it took under Blairite charisma, it became very brittle when it fell to ordinary careerists to operate it.
An element not much mentioned as influencing the conduct of the Parliamentary Labour Party is the Washington connection.
The Special Relationship is a relationship of British military and economic, and therefore, political, dependency of Britain on the USA. It operates through both British parties but it comes more naturally to the Tories than to Labour—since it conflicts with the socialist ideology which Labour cannot quite discard without ceasing to be Labour. Washington therefore needs to take extra special care of Labour to keep it in line.
Some details of the most recent Washington operation in the inner circle of British Labour have been brought to light recently by Robert Stevens. He explains:
“The murky world of the UK's Blairite anti-Corbyn coup plotters
The attempt to remove UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is being spearheaded by right-wing supporters of former Labour leader Tony Blair. These forces, who aim to either take over or destroy the Labour Party and set up a new right-wing party, are working in intimate collusion with the security services in Britain and the United States.
The plot was enacted immediately after the June 23 referendum vote for Britain to leave the EU. The organisers of the putsch seek to reverse the referendum result and re-fashion the Labour Party as the central tool to carry this out.
Among those playing a leading role against Corbyn is Labour MP Ruth Smeeth. She was elected as a Labour MP at the 2015 general election, after working in public relations at multinational food and facilities management company, Sodexo. She later worked in public relations for Nestlé. In between, she held a post with the pro-Israel lobby group, Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM).
On June 27, Smeeth resigned her position in Corbyn's shadow cabinet as Parliamentary Private Secretary for the shadow Northern Ireland and Scotland teams. This was part of more than 60 coordinated resignations from Corbyn's shadow cabinet organised by the plotters, with the aim of precipitating a no- confidence vote and forcing his resignation.
Corbyn refused to resign.
On June 30, Smeeth staged a stunt at a press conference where Corbyn was launching a report into the manufactured claims from Labour's right wing that the party under his leadership was anti-Semitic. Smeeth stormed out of the meeting, with her office later claiming she had been reduced to tears. She made an official complaint to the party after claiming, "a Jeremy Corbyn supporter" had "used traditional anti-Semitic slurs to attack me for being part of a 'media conspiracy'"—a reference to a statement that she was working with the Daily Telegraph.
Smeeth claimed that under Corbyn, Labour was not a "safe space for British Jews". She called on Corbyn to stand down as leader "immediately and make way for someone with the backbone to confront racism and anti-Semitism in our party and in the country."
Smeeth describes herself as "a lifelong Labour Party campaigner," a former trade union officer and activist.
What is generally not known is that she was identified by WikiLeaks, via a US embassy diplomatic cable, as a "strictly protect" US informant.
The cable, dated April 24, 2009, was one of more than 251,287 made public by WikiLeaks and is headed "UK POLITICAL SNAPSHOT". It notes, "Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Burton [the seat she contested and lost, prior to winning another in 2015] Ruth Smeeth (strictly protect) told us April 20 that [former Labour Prime Minister Gordon] Brown had intended to announce the elections on May 12, and hold them after a very short (matter of weeks) campaign season."
The cable ends: "(Note: This information has not been reported in the press.)"
The cable testifies to the intimate connections that Labour's plotters have to the US state and intelligence agencies. However, it is just the tip of the iceberg.
Ruth Smeeth is married to Michael Smeeth, a member of the executive body of the British-American Project (BAP). The BAP describes itself as a "transatlantic fellowship of over 1,000 leaders, rising stars and opinion formers from a broad spectrum of occupations, backgrounds and political views."
A November 2004 Guardian article noted that the BAP, which was essential in the formation of Blair's New Labour, "has been described as a Trojan horse for US foreign policy."
The article reported that following Blair's first election victory in 1997, BAP released a private circular headlined, "Big Swing To BAP." The circular stated, "No less than four British-American Project fellows and one advisory board member have been appointed to ministerial posts in the new Labour government."
These included Mo Mowlam, Chris Smith, Peter Mandelson, Baroness Symons, George Robertson, Jonathan Powell, Geoff Mulgan, and Matthew Taylor."
Mandelson was Blair's closest adviser. Powell was Blair's chief of staff and was previously posted at the British Embassy in Washington in 1991. Robertson, now a life peer as Baron Robertson of Port Ellen, was Blair's Defence Secretary. He became NATO Secretary General from October 1999 to January 2004. Symons was Blair's Minister for the Middle East, International Security, Consular and Personal Affairs in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Guardian named another Blairite, Douglas Alexander, then Foreign Office and Trade Minister, as a BAP member. David Miliband, the brother of Ed Miliband, Corbyn's predecessor as Labour leader, was another BAP member.
The BAP includes a number of prominent UK and US journalists and broadcasters among its membership. A UK journalist, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, told the Guardian of one BAP conference: "The amount of drink, the way you were treated, the dinners with everyone who was anyone. ... Jonathan Powell [Tony Blair's chief of staff] used to come a lot. I remember having many an argument with him beside swimming pools in white towelling dressing gowns. ... It was money that I'd never seen at any conference before. We [the participants] used to joke, 'This is obviously funded by the CIA.'"
The BAP is certainly well financed. Journalist John Pilger wrote in a December 2007 article published in the New Statesman, "Since 1985, BAP 'alumni' and 'fellows' have been brought together courtesy of Coca-Cola, Monsanto, Saatchi & Saatchi, Philip Morris and British Airways, among other multinationals."
The BAP was established in 1985 under the US Republican administration of Ronald Reagan with a mission "to perpetuate the close relationship between the United States and Britain."
Labourite Nick Butler was central to the BAP's formation. The Guardian article states that he "was treasurer of the influential left-leaning pressure group the Fabian Society and a promising junior player in the Labour party." It cites Butler as saying, "The UK was in a bad state. ... America seemed much more dynamic, full of ideas, open"…" (22 July 2016, World Socialist Party website: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/07/22/smee-j22.html ).
Another member of the BAP circle is Sadiq Khan, recently elected Mayor of London, who resigned from Parliament on becoming Mayor and therefore was not required to take up a position on the Parliamentary mutiny against Corbyn. He has not declared support for Corbyn's rival, Owen Smith, possibly seeing that he is too shallow an opportunist to succeed.
He is saving himself for a future opportunity.
That David Miliband, the last Labour Foreign Secretary, had an extra special relationship with Washington came as no surprise. The surprise was that his brother, Ed, was not in that circle. Was he courted and refused, or was he just considered not worth courting? It was known that Ed disagreed with his brother about the significance of their father, Ralph (Editor of The Socialist Register), as a socialist influence. David rejected his father and Ed didn't, so perhaps Washington decided he was gormless and ignored him. And then Ed won the previous leadership contest with his brother by a nose—and he changed everything by changing the method of electing the Leader.
Ed was elected Leader by the old, balanced, electorate. The Trade Union vote helped him to win. Ruth Dudley Edwards (who was for a generation a member of the Tory elite in England but has now reverted to an appropriate mode of Irishness) took a side-swipe at the British Trade Unions in her Sunday Independent column of July 17:
"On a Sunday afternoon in May, I was sitting in a pub with friends when Len McCluskey, the Unite General Secretary, brushed past our table, saw on it the pub's copy of The Sun On Sunday and said quite aggressively, 'You shouldn't read that paper. It's fascist, sexist. You shouldn't be reading it.'
This self-important, far-left bully is the man who brought the Labour Party Ed Miliband, helped create the crazy voting system that elected Jeremy Corbyn, and is keeping in power an incompetent who can no longer even staff his front bench. The party's Kingmaker has become its Destroyer."
Edwards contrasts the "steeliness" with which Theresa May took command of the Tory Party and overcame the Brexit confusion with the way "the Labour party is being destroyed by the hard-left" but she doesn't explain the basis of the difference.
The Tory Party never lost touch with its fascist, sexist hinterland on the Right.
Tory leaders have always understood—with only one exception in recent generations—that they led a semi-fascist party and that an important part of their business in the Centre Ground role-playing of what is called Parliamentary Government is the handling of the fascist hinterland—not to suppress it or try to eradicate it, but to handle it while allowing it room for existence.
The leader who did not know that, or who forgot it, was the naive, petty-bourgeois European, Ted Heath, who was the first elected Tory leader. Heath was given his head for the purpose of getting Britain into a Europe that was doing very well without it. But then, when he tried to adapt Britain to the European mode instead of using British membership to obstruct European development from within, he was got rid of, and the Tory Party reverted to the Churchillian mode under Thatcher.
The stability of the British system since the Great War has depended largely on the ability of the Tory Party to restrict the fascist element by representing it.
Churchill was a declared supporter of European fascism as being necessary to preserve capitalist civilisation amidst the elemental forces set loose by the Great War and the catastrophic Versailles Treaty. And he was frankly of the opinion that the Parliamentary system could not survive the emergence of a two-party system that was Capitalist versus Socialist in earnest.
The Parliamentary system was preserved during the 1930s by the effective suspension of party-politics by a series of National Coalitions: Tory/Labour/Liberal Coalitions, led first by MacDonald, who was as close to being a Socialist as any Labour Leader has ever been, and then by Baldwin, and Chamberlain and Churchill, Tories.
If that suspension of party-politics had not worked, and an explicit fascist movement had developed, there is little doubt that the Fascist Leader would have been Churchill.
There was no Party Government in Britain from 1931 to 1945. The third Tory leader after the restoration of party democracy in 1945, the all-knowing and studiously 'moderate' Harold Macmillan, reflected that, if explicitly fascist government had been found necessary in Britain, its enthusiasts would not have worn Brown Shirts or Blue Shirts but Norfolk Jackets.
It was bad of Len McCluskey not to have understood the historic significance of the Sun On Sunday lying on Ruth Dudley Edwards' table. But then again it is a necessary quality of the unique British party system that neither party understands how the other works—or does not admit to it if it does.
The system works best when it works by means of ignorantly abusive repartee between the parties. But, in the Northern Ireland region of the state, excluded from the system but subject to it, one was driven towards analysis and a degree of dispassionate understanding.
The problem with the British Labour Party is that the Parliamentary Party disowned its Socialist hinterland and tried to stamp it out. This work was begun by Neil Kinnock and carried to apparent success by Tony Blair's evangelical campaigns. It is said that British Socialism owed more to Methodism than to Marxism, and Blair was skilled at manipulating the Methodist residue for the purpose of negating the Party membership and re-making the Party into a replacement for the great Liberal Party that destroyed itself in 1916.
The Blairite regime treated the Trade Unions like dirt. But the Trade Unions retained a flicker of life and made a small gesture of dissent, which led to the unravelling of Blairism.
The wastelands of what was industrial England until Margaret Thatcher took it in hand rebelled against Blair's uncharismatic heirs.
The Labour Party is going to be remade one way or the other—whether by Corbyn himself or by an opportunist rival who recreates himself in Corbyn's image. The balance of English democracy may yet be restored in close approximation to its historic norm of contained Fascism on one side and contained Bolshevism on the other.
An item confirming the statement made in the opening paragraph of this Editorial has come to our attention. In a speech made to military graduates, made by President Obama on May 28th 2014, he said:
"The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come. … Russia's aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China's economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us, and governments seek a greater say in global forums… It will be your generation’s task to respond to this new world. The question we face, the question each of you will face, is not whether America will lead, but how we will lead—not just to secure our peace and prosperity, but also extend peace and prosperity around the globe..."
"America's willingness to apply force around the world is the ultimate safeguard against chaos, and America's failure to act in the face of Syrian brutality or Russian provocations not only violates our conscience, but invites escalating aggression in the future… We don't have a choice to ignore what happens beyond our borders."
The world conflict between the systems of Capitalism and Communism was won by Capitalism 25 years ago. The middle classes of the world were set free to follow their own inclinations. That was repeatedly said to be the purpose for which Communism must be defeated. But now it is revealed that the prospect facing the world as a consequence of the freeing of middle class development is chaos.
Capitalist freedom which will not result in anarchy is only possible under United States world dominance, "A most ingenious paradox!"
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Shorts from the Long Fellow (NAMA in the North; Housing Crisis; False Solutions: Repossessions; False Solutions: Selling Council Houses; Charitable Services;Italian Banks)
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Does It Stack Up? Michael Stack (Invasive Plants; Computer Coding; Monsignor Pádraig O'Fiannachta) 22
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