Why Labour Lost

bolsover

Perhaps Labour deserved to lose.

The Labour Party  should have respected the 2016 referendum result, and campaigned and fought for a socialist Brexit from day one.

Instead, they decided that chasing middle-class Remainers was more important than holding on to working-class Leavers.

Labour stopped taking ordinary people seriously. Its metropolitan, socially liberal, ”woke” ethos led to the unedifying spectacle of Labour MPs telling Brexit voters they had got it wrong through ignorance or racism, and must vote again,

It also led, most ironically, to Dennis Skinner. a Brexit-backing ex-miner, and a campaigner against the EU since its inception, losing his seat in Bolsover, which he had held since 1970…….

SKINNER2

Corbyn’s Defeat Has Slain The Left’s Last Illusion : by Jonathan Cook

boris2The one thing I would add to this excellent analysis by Jonathan Cook is that the Labour Party should have respected the 2016 referendum result and campaigned and fought for a socialist Brexit from day one.  The BlairIte Remainers in the party ensured that a unique historic opportunity was lost.


Jonathan Cook is a British journalist and author based in Nazareth, Palestine.

Jonathan-Cook-photo1-199x300

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was an election of two illusions.

The first helped persuade much of the British public to vote for the very epitome of an Eton toff, a man who not only has shown utter contempt for most of those who voted for him but has spent a lifetime barely bothering to conceal that contempt. For him, politics is an ego-trip, a game in which others always pay the price and suffer, a job he is entitled to through birth and superior breeding.

The extent to which such illusions now dominate our political life was highlighted two days ago with a jaw-dropping comment from a Grimsby fish market worker. He said he would vote Tory for the first time because “Boris seems like a normal working class guy.”

Johnson is precisely as working class, and “normal”, as the billionaire-owned Sun and the billionaire-owned Mail. The Sun isn’t produced by a bunch of working-class lads down the pub having a laugh, nor is the Mail produced by conscientious middle managers keen to uphold “British values” and a sense of fair play and decency. Like the rest of the British media, these outlets are machines, owned by globe-spanning corporations that sell us the illusions – carefully packaged and marketed to our sectoral interest – needed to make sure nothing impedes the corporate world’s ability to make enormous profits at our, and the planet’s, expense.

The Sun, Mail, Telegraph, Guardian and BBC have all worked hard to create for themselves “personalities”. They brand themselves as different – as friends we, the public might, or might not, choose to invite into our homes – to win the largest share possible of the UK audience, to capture every section of the public as news consumers, while feeding us a distorted, fairytale version of reality that is optimal for business. They are no different to other corporations in that regard.

Media wot won it

Supermarkets like Tesco, Sainsbury, Lidl and Waitrose similarly brand themselves to appeal to different sections of the public. But all these supermarkets are driven by the same pathological need to make profits at all costs. If Sainsbury’s sells fair trade tea as well as traditionally produced tea, it is not because it cares more than Lidl about the treatment of workers and damage to the environment but because it knows its section of consumers care more about such issues. And as long as it makes the same profits on good and bad tea, why should it not cater to its share of the market in the name of choice and freedom?

The media are different from supermarkets in one way, however. They are not driven simply by profit. In fact, many media outlets struggle to make money. They are better seen as the loss-leader promotion in a supermarket, or as a business write-off against tax.

The media’s job is to serve as the propaganda arm of big business. Even if the Sun makes an economic loss, it has succeeded if it gets the business candidate elected, the candidate who will keep corporation tax, capital gains tax and all the other taxes that affect corporate profits as low as possible without stoking a popular insurrection.

The media are there to support the candidate or candidates who agree to sell off more and more public services for short-term profit, allowing the corporate vultures to pick hungrily at their carcasses. They are there to back the candidate who will prioritise the corporations’ interests over the public’s, quick profits over the future of the NHS, the self-destructive logic of capitalism over the idea – socialist or not – of a public realm, of the common good. The corporations behind the Sun or the Guardian can afford to make a loss as long as their other business interests are prospering.

It’s not the Sun wot won it, it’s the entire corporate media industry.

BBC’s role exposed

The real revelation at this election, however, has been the BBC, the most well concealed of all those illusion-generating machines. The BBC is a state broadcaster that has long used its entertainment division – from costume dramas to wildlife documentaries – to charm us and ensure the vast majority of the public are only too happy to invite it into their homes. The BBC’s lack of adverts, the apparent absence of a grubby, commercial imperative, has been important in persuading us of the myth that the British Broadcasting Corporation is driven by a higher purpose, that it is a national treasure, that it is on our side.

But the BBC always was the propaganda arm of the state, of the British establishment. Once, briefly, in the more politically divided times of my youth, the state’s interests were contested. There were intermittent Labour governments trying to represent workers’ interests and powerful trade unions that the British establishment dared not alienate too strongly. Then, countervailing popular interests could not be discounted entirely. The BBC did its best to look as if it was being even-handed, even if it wasn’t really. It played by the rules for fear of the backlash if it did not.

All that has changed, as this election exposed more starkly than ever before.

The reality is that the corporate class – the 0.001% – has been in control of our political life uninterrupted for 40 years. As in the United States, the corporations captured our political and economic systems so successfully that for most of that time we ended up with a choice between two parties of capital only: the Conservative party and New Labour.

Hollowed-out society

The corporations used that unbroken rule to shore up their power. Public utilities were sold off, the building societies became corporate banks, the financial industries were deregulated to make profit the only measure of value, and the NHS was slowly cannibalised. The BBC too was affected. Successive governments more openly threatened its income from the licence fee. Union representation, as elsewhere, was eroded and layoffs became much easier as new technology was introduced. The BBC’s managers were drawn ever more narrowly from the world of big business. And its news editors were increasingly interchangeable with the news editors of the billionaire-owned print media.

To take one of many current examples, Sarah Sands, editor of the key Radio 4 Today programme, spent her earlier career at the Boris Johnson-cheerleading Mail and Telegraph newspapers.

In this election, the BBC cast off its public-service skin to reveal the corporate Terminator-style automaton below. It was shocking to behold even to a veteran media critic like myself. This restyled BBC, carefully constructed over the past four decades, shows how the patrician British establishment of my youth – bad as it was – has gone.

Now the BBC is a mirror of what our hollowed-out society looks like. It is no longer there to hold together British society, to forge shared values, to find common ground between the business community and the trade unions, to create a sense – even if falsely – of mutual interest between the rich and the workers. No, it is there to ringfence turbo-charged neoliberal capitalism, it is there to cannibalise what’s left of British society, and ultimately, as we may soon find out, it is there to generate civil war.

Shrunken moral horizons

The second illusion was held by the left. We clung to a dream, like a life-raft, that we still had a public space; that, however awful our electoral system was, however biased the red-tops were, we lived in a democracy where real, meaningful change was still possible; that the system wasn’t rigged to stop someone like Jeremy Corbyn from ever reaching power.

That illusion rested on a lot of false assumptions. That the BBC was still the institution of our youth, that it would play reasonably fair when it came to election time, giving Corbyn a level playing field with Johnson for the final few weeks of the campaign. That social media – despite the relentless efforts of these new media corporations to skew their algorithms to trap us in our own little echo chambers – would act as a counterweight to the traditional media.

But most importantly, we turned a blind eye to the social changes that 40 years of an unchallenged corporate-sponsored Thatcherism had wreaked on our imaginations, on our ideological lives, on our capacity for compassion.

As public institutions were broken apart and sold off, the public realm shrank dramatically, as did our moral horizons. We stopped caring about a society that Margaret Thatcher had told us didn’t exist anyway.

Large sections of the older generations profited from the sell-off of the public realm, and policies that flagrantly disregarded the planet’s future. They were persuaded that this model of short-term profit, of slash-and-burn economics from which they had personally benefited, was not only sustainable but that it was the only possible, the only good model.

The younger generations have never known any other reality. The profit motive, instant gratification, consumer indulgence are the only yardsticks they have ever been offered to measure value. A growing number have started to understand this is a sick ideology, that we live in an insane, deeply corrupted society, but they struggle to imagine another world, one they have no experience of.

How can they contemplate what the working class achieved decades ago – how a much poorer society created medical care for all, an NHS that our current one is a pale shadow of – when that history, that story of struggle is rarely told, and when it is it is told only through the distorted prism of the billionaire-owned media?

A rigged political system

We on the left didn’t lose this election. We lost our last illusions. The system is rigged – as it always has been – to benefit those in power. It will never willingly allow a real socialist, or any politician deeply committed to the health of our societies and to the planet, to take that power away from the corporate class. That, after all, is the very definition of power. That is what the corporate media is there to achieve.

This is not about being a bad loser, or a case of sour grapes.

In the extraordinary circumstances that Corbyn had overcome all these institutional obstacles, all the smears, and won last night, I was planning to write a different post today – and it would not have been celebratory. It would not have gloated, as Johnson’s supporters and Corbyn’s opponents in the Conservative party, large sections of the Labour parliamentary party, and the right-wing and liberal media are doing now.

No, I’d have been warning that the real battle for power was only just beginning. That however bad the past four years had been, we had seen nothing yet. That those generals who threatened a mutiny as soon as Corbyn was elected Labour leader were still there in the shadows. That the media would not give up on their disinformation, they would intensify it. That the security services that have been trying to portray Corbyn as a Russian spy would move from insinuation into more explicit action.

Future on our side

Nonetheless, we have the future on our side, dark as it may be. The planet isn’t going to heal itself with Johnson, Donald Trump and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro in charge. It’s going to get a lot sicker, a lot quicker. Our economy isn’t going to become more productive, or more stable, after Brexit. Britain’s economic fate is going to be tied even more tightly to the United States’, as resources run out and environmental and climate catastrophes (storms, rising seas levels, flooding, droughts, crop failures, energy shortages) mount. The contradictions between endless growth and a planet with finite resources will become even starker, the crashes of 2008 more familiar.

The corporate party Johnson’s victory has unleashed is going to lead, sooner or later, to a truly terrifying hangover.

The likelihood is that the Blairites will exploit this defeat to drag Labour back to being a party of neoliberal capital. We will once again be offered a “choice” between the blue and the red Tory parties. If they succeed, Labour’s mass membership will desert the party, and it will become once again an irrelevance, a hollow shell of a workers’ party, as empty ideologically and spiritually as it was until Corbyn sought to reinvent it.

It may be a good thing if this coup happens quickly rather than being dragged out over years, keeping us trapped longer in the illusion that we can fix the system using the tools the corporate class offers us.

We must head to the streets – as we have done before with Occupy, with Extinction Rebellion, with the schools strikes – to reclaim the public space, to reinvent and rediscover it. Society didn’t cease to exist. It wasn’t snuffed out by Thatcher. We just forgot what it looked like, that we are human, not machines. We forgot that we are all part of society, that we are precisely what it is.

Now is the time to put away childish things, and take the future back into our hands.

The UK’s Macabre Final Election : by Craig Murray

scots

This is the final general election of the United Kingdom. The SNP has put Independence at the heart of its campaign, eschewing the dreadful error of the “don’t mention Independence” campaign of 2017 that led half a million potential supporters to sit on their hands on voting day. The SNP is going to win a thumping victory and eliminate the Tories from Scotland. Johnson’s hardline unionist pose, denying the sovereign right to choose of the Scottish people, would not be able to survive such a result. If the Tories were to think they would succeed in treating Scotland as Spain treats Catalonia, they would have a very rude awakening. Equally the SNP leadership will be politically unable to impose acceptance of whatever parameters Westminster attempts to impose. The divergence of politics and culture between Scotland and England is now so stark that the union is already over as a functioning political entity. It is now just a matter of arranging the obsequies.

It is essential to maximise the SNP vote at this election. Anything else is a distraction. It should be stated plainly that there is no seat in Scotland where an SNP vote risks handing the seat to the Tories. There are several where a Labour vote or a Green vote risks handing the seat to the Tories. To vote Labour or Green in Scotland in 2019 is an act of irresponsible self-indulgence. It must be SNP. After independence, which will be very soon, we can all go our own ways.

It is karma for the Lib Dems role in austerity that, just when the opportunity should arise for them to make massive gains as the major Remain party in England, they are saddled with Jo Swinson as leader. Her instincts are entirely right wing. When asked at her campaign launch why she said Jeremy Corbyn was unsuitable to be Prime Minister, by a journalist seeking more Corbyn knocking copy, her first and most immediate response was that Corbyn would not be prepared to give the order to British submarine commanders to fire nuclear weapons. Swinson combines inanity, delusion and ambition in a deeply unpleasant mix. It should not be forgotten that the Lib Dems were down to a handful of MPs after the last election and Swinson became leader from a very small field. Now some careerist Blairites have joined the sinking ship, Swinson’s right wing instincts are further reinforced. I am sure there are a few decent people still left in the Lib Dems. But they are invisible.

Nevertheless, there are many seats in England where people need to vote Lib Dem to defeat the Tory. The best practical scenario for the end of the UK is a Labour/Lib Dem/SNP alliance, that will eschew hard Brexit and agree a second Independence referendum for Scotland. An other scenario will also end in Independence but be messier and more dangerous. Even if we achieve Independence through a second referendum (and other options are available), that referendum would be a much dirtier fight even than 2014. We are already seeing in this election just how unrestrainedly pro-Tory the British media now is, and another Scottish referendum campaign would suffer not only that, but every dirty trick in the playbook of the British security services. Nevertheless, I have no doubt of the result.

Of course it is true that the media has always been biased, but it has got much worse. There has been a radical shift in the culture of the media in exactly the same way there has been a massive shift to the right in the Tory Party. While plutocrats always owned almost all of the media, in the complex relations within media institutions there were countervailing currents. Of course it was never true that editors and journalists had perfect ethics or integrity, but there were some notions of decency, balance, fairness and simple respect for the truth which did actuate, to some extent, editors and journalists. Even though these cultural factors might on the whole be outweighed by deference to the wishes of the bosses, by party allegiance or by personal ambition, these notions of proper conduct did on occasion provide some influence on behaviour and thus on media output.

Those journalistic standards have been almost entirely abandoned and you will scan the media in vain for evidence of fairness and balance. It is not a coincidence that at this time two of my good personal friends in the media, with whom I have major political differences but who are good professionals and decent people, John Sweeney and Peter Oborne, have left their posts at BBC Panorama and the Daily Mail respectively.

The state media is as bad as the plutocrat owned media. The BBC’s complicity in the Tory attack on Corbyn has been absolute, including the Tory set up interviews with Ian Austin and yesterday’s long anti-Corbyn plug by Sajid Javid on Marr. The Tory campaign is a disgrace. Johnson like May before him is being kept well away from any actual voters, and the BBC lights and frames his entirely artificial events with the careful precision of a Leni Riefenstahl. Kuenssberg and Robinson are simply Tory propagandists.

When realism does break through it is through citizen journalism, not the media. The outrageous statements of a ranting Boris Johnson in Northern Ireland, contradicting the EU withdrawal agreement, would never have been mentioned by the media if they had not gone viral from an individual’s mobile phone.

The claims that Johnson did not understand his own deal are wide of the mark. He is not stupid; he knows what is in it. If you listen very carefully to what he said then and subsequently, he is not claiming his deal does not specify any checks between Northern Ireland and the mainland. What he is stating is his assurance that there will be no checks. This confirms the fears I have been reporting within the FCO, that Boris Johnson simply has no intention of actually implementing the withdrawal agreement. He has been negotiating in bad faith with the EU, and signing up to things he has no intention of doing in order to “Get Brexit Done”. He has no moral scruples over lying, it is not his style to think beyond immediate personal advantage, and he is still enamoured of the idea that in the end the EU will always buckle because it needs the UK market.

The stars have aligned perfectly for those of us who support Scottish Independence, and I am delighted that both Irish unification and Plaid Cymru have been given a bigger boost than seemed plausible just a very few years ago. This election is sordid, tawdry, corrupt and uninspiring; a fitting end for the UK and its long history of callous exploitation. Never has a state been more adept at using its system of law to shift resources from the poor to the rich. Never has a state’s dissolution been more overdue.


CRAIG MURRAY Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.

It’s Climate Change, Jim – but not as we know it

”90% of scientists agreed” in the seventies, too !  😂

But then the idea that Global Warming is man-made was promoted by Ronald Reagan in the US when  OPEC sent the oil-price through the roof, and by Margaret Thatcher in the UK, as a means of promoting nuclear power and reducing the impact of strike action by the National Union of Mineworkers in the (then state-owned) coal industry. Nuclear power was extremely controversial prior to that time, but the demonisation of fossil-fuels inevitably led to its greater acceptance.

climate

Climate Change is nothing new and nothing unusual. For example, temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period, a time of great economic advance in Europe and elsewhere, were much higher than today — (ever wondered how Greenland got its name ?) – and a millennium earlier vineyards were commonplace in Roman Britain as far north as Northumbria.

The evidence presented in the film ”The Great Global Warming Swindle” (linked below) is that climate change is primarily due to processes in the Sun which impact – via the ‘solar wind’ – on cloud-formation – and NOT human activity.

Water vapour, not carbon dioxide, is by far the most important ”greenhouse gas”, and  CO2, man-made or otherwise, is NOT the driving force behind climate change now, and never has been in the past.

We can probably all agree that atmospheric pollution is not a particularly good idea, but on the other hand it really is alarmist nonsense to suggest that we are all going to drown under melting ice-caps – or something – if we continue to burn stuff.


But then again. if Saint Greta says that the science is settled, I guess it must be, so no more heresy please ! 😂

saint greta

 

Wokeness and Neoliberalism

woke.png”We really should stop seeing ‘Wokeness’ or ‘Political Correctness’, or any other aspect of the so-called New Left as being left-wing at all.

‘Wokeness’ is a key part of the neoliberal drive against social solidarity. Wokeness makes a virtue of the atomisation that is a key feature of life in capitalist society.

Wokeness doesn’t challenge the individuation and corrosion of social solidarity that neoliberal society brings about. It simply repackages it as PC and celebrates it. It commodifies our atomisation and sells it back to us as right-on politics.

Far from being a new kind of leftism, the woke ideology is really the militant wing of neoliberalism. It is a campaigning arm of the neoliberal outlook. This is why woke activists and big business make such comfortable bedfellows. Banks and hedge funds and other capitalist outfits love to adorn their buildings in the Pride flag. These days there are really only two places where you see woke nonsense in action : among the trendy, supposedly leftist political class, and in the capitalist class. These people profess to hate each other, but in truth they have a shared outlook…

The bravest and most ambitious political parties today will completely oppose the anti-community, anti-democratic, anti-solidarity, anti-freedom outlook of the woke elites and the business elites. and seek to provide people with that sense of collective belonging and collective influence that they are crying out for. A free and democratic and connected society – that is what we need now.”

~ extract from a speech by Brendan O’Neill at the annual party conference of the SDP, 28/09/2019,  (edited).

Full Text : https://www.spiked-online.com/2019/09/30/anti-woke/?fbclid=IwAR1xu_vHQBE6DhdaMD04uH8e1Rx_Qn58LN54D2OCu0ds8MxIPrRUCuvhz6w

The Amazon Fires : An Alternative View

amazon

”The idea that what is currently happening in the Amazon is shockingly unusual or apocalyptic, or proof of man’s fascistic disdain for his environment is an entirely politicised interpretation of a perfectly normal event….

Everything they say about the Amazon is wrong. Out-of-control fires, trees disappearing, oxygen in crisis, the climate being pushed to the edge – it is all wrong, all based in fear, not facts....”


The fires are not out of control. This is not ecocide. The Amazon is not the lungs of the world. And there are more trees on Earth today than there were 35 years ago.

But who is interested in facts nowadays, when apocalyptic ‘environmentalism’, a fundamentally anti-human creed, has effectively usurped the place once held by religion ?


nietzsche  

‘Here the ways of men divide. If you wish to strive for peace of soul and happiness, then believe; if you wish to be a disciple of truth, then inquire.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche



”The Brazil-bashers will not be convinced by reason. To them, the fact that there have been 74,000 fires in the Amazon between January and August is proof that human beings – well, stupid Brazilians – are plunging the planet into a fiery doom that will make Revelations look like a fairy story in comparison.
The Earth is ‘being killed,’ greens wail. ‘Our house is burning. Literally,’ says French President Emmanuel Macron, committing the grammar crime of saying ‘literally’ when he surely means ‘virtually.’
Unless the Elysée Palace really is on fire?
Leonardo DiCaprio says ‘if the Amazon goes, we the humans will go.’ So Brazil is killing us all. Bolsonaro, by giving a green light to development in the rainforest, is holding a gun to mankind’s head, apparently.
No wonder Macron has suggested holding an international conference on how to save the rainforest, while some greens have said we need to intervene.
Westerners going overseas to rescue natural resources from the ignorant natives? Yes, that went so well in the past.The discussion about the rainforest is not only unhinged, using Biblical language to describe fairly routine events.
It is also riddled with a colonialist view in which people in the developing world are presented as irresponsible and destructive, while Westerners, like the leader of France, are held up as the saviors of nature and mankind.
This expresses one of the key ideas in the environmentalist movement – that the developing world cannot possibly industrialize and modernize as much as the West has, because if it does the planet will die.
Hence eco-Westerners’ fury with ‘filthy’ China, their loathing of Modi’s promises of modernity in India, and now their rage against Bolsonaro for elevating economic development over natural conservation.
They cannot believe these idiot foreigners are defying green ideology and seeking the kind of progress we Westerners already enjoy.”

False Alarm : Almost Everything You’ve Heard About The Amazon Fires Is Wrong :  https://mailchi.mp/…/false-alarm-almost-everything…


MORE ”HERESY”….. 😂

‘What everyone gets wrong about the Amazon’ 

spiked.com interview with Michael Shellenberger, founder and president of Environmental Progress, who was listed as a ‘hero of the environment’ by Time magazine.

michael-shellenberger-800x480  ”The first thing people need to understand is that there has been a huge decline in deforestation since its peak in the early 2000s. Deforestation is still 75 to 80 percent lower than at this peak.

The other big issue is that the Amazon is not ‘the lungs of the world’. It does not produce 20 percent of the world’s oxygen. The idea that we need it for oxygen production is a myth. It’s just basic plant science: the Amazon uses about as much oxygen as it produces….

Thirty million people live in the Amazon. But whenever the Western media and environmentalists point to the people living in the Amazon, they only ever point to the indigenous people. But the indigenous people are just one million out of 30 million. There are a lot of normal Brazilians there. These tend to be descendants of slaves or mixed-race people who are trying to make a living. They are people developing the area in the same way Europeans developed Europe and Americans developed the United States,,,,.

In both of the two big environmental issues of our time – climate change and deforestation – you have the rich world saying to the developing world, ‘Oh, you know how we developed through deforestation and fossil-fuel consumption? You’re not going to be able to do either of those. And it just so happens that we have the science to show why you have to stay poor…..What a scam, right ?

The real ‘climate hoax’ is not that climate change isn’t happening. That’s ridiculous – of course, there is climate change. The real hoax is how climate change has been used to advance an agenda by rich nations to keep developing nations down, to deprive them of resources and to thwart their competitiveness internationally. It’s not a conspiracy, just a natural outcome of powerful countries acting in self-interest – but doing so in ways that you can talk about in polite company without sounding like an oppressive colonialist…..

And after the fall of communism and the failure of Marxism more broadly, the left needed a new apocalyptic religion. and that has become environmentalism.”

https://www.spiked-online.com/2019/08/30/what-everyone-gets-wrong-about-the-amazon/?fbclid=IwAR3-FyUPbIMORa64RT7T_D3m7SwL3ziSBhM562-RrZHI3WNG7udUykFWHok