At a recent meeting of Union Movement old comrades we lamented the lack of a political party to propagate our views. Labour has deserted the working class, the Tories have gone from bad to worse, the Lib-Dems are leaderless, and the far-right parties are delusional. A comrade from South Wales summed up the situation:
"I am a working man who wants a fair deal for the British people, but I detest these extremists with their mad theories and their total ignorance of economics, we should make it perfectly clear that we have nothing to do with them."
He is right. The great economic issues will only be settled by international agreement, they cannot be resolved by shouting abuse at people, but reasonable men and women can be persuaded by argument and we must do our best to convert them.
We live in a changing world. We have seen the demise of the Soviet Union and the collapse of White rule in South Africa. Now, we are witnessing a trade war between China and the US. Britain is leaving the EU but the rest of the Continent is coming together. Mass migration is a global problem, and Keynesian economics is making a comeback. The world is sorting itself out along geopolitical lines, but whatever happens we must do our duty. Oswald Spengler was a confirmed pessimist but he summed up our situation in 'Man and Technics':
"We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door at Pompeii, who during the eruption of Vesuvius, died at his post because they forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honourable end is the one thing that can not be taken from a man."
Julius Evola - Revolt Against the Modern World
It is necessary to distinguish between nationality and nationalism. The Middle Ages knew nationalities but not nationalisms. Nationality is a natural factor that encompasses a certain group of common elementary characteristics that are retained both in the hierarchical differentiation and in the hierarchical participation, which they do not oppose. Therefore, during the Middle Ages, castes, social bodies and orders were articulated within various nationalities, and while the types of the warrior, noble, merchant, and artisan conformed to the characteristics of this or that nation, these articulations represented at the same time wider, international units. Hence, the possibility for the members of the same caste who came from different nations to understand each other better than the members of different castes within the same nation.
Modern nationalism represents in regard to this, a movement in the opposite direction. Modern nationalism is not based on a natural unity, but on an artificial and centralizing one. The need for this type of unity was increasingly felt at the same time as the natural and healthy sense of nationality was lost as individuals approached the state of pure quantity, of being merely the masses, after every authentic tradition and qualitative articulation was destroyed. Nationalism acts upon these masses through myths and suggestions that are likely to galvanize them, awaken elementary instincts in them, flatter them with the perspectives and fancies of supremacy, exclusivism, and power. Regardless of its myths, the substance of modern nationalism is not an ethos but a demos, and its prototype always remains the plebian one produced by the French Revolution.
This is why nationalism has a double face. It accentuates and elevates to the state of absolute value a particularistic principle; therefore, the possibilities of mutual understanding and cooperation between nations are reduced to a bare minimum, without even considering the forms of levelling guaranteed by modern civilization. What seems to continue here is the same tendency through which the arising of national states correspond to the disintegration of the European ecumene. It is well known that in Europe during the nineteenth century, nationalism was synonymous with revolution and acted in the precise sense of a dislocation of the surviving supernational organisms and a weakening of the political of 'legitimate' sovereignty in the traditional sense of the word. Yet, when considering the relationships between the whole and the single individual as personality, what emerges in nationalism is an opposite aspect, namely, the cumulative and collectivizing element. In the context of modern nationalism what emerges id the previously mentioned inversion; the nation, the homeland, becomes the primary element in terms of being a self-subsisting entity that requires from the individual belonging to it an unconditional dedication as if it were a moral and not merely a natural and "political" entity. Even culture stops being the support for the formation and elevation of the person and becomes essentially relevant only by virtue of its national character. Thus in the most radical forms of nationalism, the liberal ideal and the idea of "neutral culture" undergo a crisis and are regarded with suspicion, though from the opposite perspective to the one in which liberalism and the neutral, secular, and apolitical culture appeared as a degeneration or as a crumbling in comparison to previous organic civilizations.
Even when nationalism speaks of "tradition" it has nothing to do with what used to go by that name in ancient civilizations; it is rather a myth or fictitious continuity based on a minimum common denominator that consists in the mere belonging to a given group. Through the concept of "tradition," nationalism aims at consolidating a collective dimension by placing behind the individual the mythical, deified, and collectivized unity of all those who preceded him. In this sense, Chesterton was right to call this type of tradition "the democracy of the dead." Here the dimension of transcendence, or what is superior in history, is totally lacking.
As the Secretary-General has said, climate change continues to move faster than our efforts to address it. Amid record-breaking temperatures in parts of the world, and with the past two decades the warmest on record, the Secretary-General delivered a major address at UN headquarters on 10th September. Speaking to an audience of young people, business leaders, journalists and diplomats on the eve of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco and the annual gathering of world leaders for the opening of the new General Assembly session in New York, he outlined the danger, highlighted solutions, and emphasized the need for great ambition and strong leadership in addressing what he has called "the defining threat of our time." (UN report)
But President Donald Trump doubts that Climate Change is man-made, so he will carry on burning coal and oil and polluting the atmosphere. This is good news for coal miners and oil workers but bad news for the rest of us.
It took years of health education to persuade us that tobacco is dangerous, now we are having the same trouble with Global Warming. Donald Trump is promoting fossil fuels regardless of the consequences. The long-term effects of air pollution include melting polar ice caps and rising sea levels, but the immediate danger is to our lungs. If Donald Trump had grown up in London instead of New York he would remember the Great Smog of 1952 that killed thousands of people. The government of the day tried to cover it up but public health concerns forced the introduction of the Clean Air Act in 1956.
Donald Trump's denial of climate change is political, not scientific. He promised the coal miners that he would save their jobs. America has got massive coal and shale oil deposits, and the Paris Climate Change Accords are exactly the type of international cooperation that is anathema to the Republicans. The USA will not honour treaties made in Paris by foreigners.
The world's atmosphere is being contaminated in the name of narrow self-interest and short-term advantage. The Americans lead the world in technology but they are using nineteenth-century methods to generate power. President Trump wants to 'make America great again' but first he must earn the respect of the world by abandoning his protectionist policies.
Articles of Faith
When Henry V111 broke away from the Church of Rome he needed a set of rules to govern the Church of England. The Thirty-Nine Articles were issued in 1571 but they have been updated over the years to include such things as abortion and homosexuality. Like every other human institution, the Church of England is divided into factions, ranging from traditionalists that are hardly any different from Roman Catholics to Evangelicals who are more like Baptists. In other words, it's a 'Broad Church', and as such it's a model for most political parties.
Matters of dogma are set in stone but the Church of England prides itself on its diversity. An Anglican vicar would have to do something spectacular to get unfrocked. Being caught pants down with the Bishop's wife, or a choirboy, would probably be pardoned, after all, we are all sinners, but questioning the Resurrection is not allowed; not even in the most progressive of parishes.
There was a time when the Tory Party stood for King and Country. It existed to 'conserve' the existing system and protect the rights of landowners. Some Tories were decent men who looked after their tenants and labourers, but others were little more than slave masters. This political philosophy lasted until recent times but it has been so severely disrupted that nobody knows what the modern Tory Party stands for.
The Labour Party has also changed but it remains the party of the working class. There's a marked difference between the militant young supporters of Jeremy Corbyn and the mature parliamentary party, but, at the moment, they are keeping their act together.
The Lib Dems are handicapped by our blatantly unfair electoral system, and by the system of patronage. Big business supports the Tory Party, and the Trade Unions support the Labour Party, but the Lib Dems have to rely on their own members.
The far-right parties have captured the anti-immigration vote throughout Europe but our first-past-the-post electoral system works against them.
The time has come for us to review our 'Articles of Faith'. The Germans have a booming economy, an efficient health service and a world-class educational system. They don't have a fleet of nuclear submarines or two of the world's most expensive aircraft carriers, but they don't seem to mind.
There's nothing wrong with taking a pride in one's country but we should beware of petty nationalism. We must forget about untried economic systems and practice sound commerce moderated by good government, and we must forget about pretending to be a world power.
The IMF and the WTO
The Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944 established the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC. It tied the major currencies of the world to the US Dollar which was based on gold. And it gave loans to the shattered nations, including the UK which received $4.4 billion. This system backed the economies of the West until 1972 when America ran out of money fighting the Vietnam War and the Middle East oil crisis made the whole system untenable. Christine Lagarde (pictured) is the chairwoman of the IMF.
The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was founded in 1947 and became the World Trade Organisation in 1994. When we leave the EU we will probably operate under the rules of the WTO, and accept the authority of its Disputes Resolution Panel, based in Geneva.
We joined the old Common Market under Ted Heath in 1973. In 1976 we were forced to devalue the pound and seek an emergency loan of $3.9 billion from the IMF. In 1992 we crashed out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism. But our standard of living improved steadily until the global financial crisis of 2008. This crippled our banking system and forced the government to introduce austerity measures that are still in force. At the same time, our old manufacturing industries declined and disgruntled workers turned against the government. The result was the referendum of 2016 when 52% of the people voted to leave the European Union, and 48% voted to remain.
The far-right saw the Bretton Woods Agreement as a conspiracy against the British Empire. It's true that we didn't have to accept the American loan and its conditions. We could have turned to the Soviet Union but there was no way that we could have survived on our own, We were bankrupt after six years of war.
We could have turned to the Commonwealth instead of joining the Common Market, but we tried that at the Ottowa Conference in 1932 when we attempted to set up a system of Imperial Preference. It never really got going because the Canadians and the Australians wanted to develop their own industries and seek their own markets. By 1972 the Canadian economy was linked to the United States and the Australians were striking massive trade deals with the Japanese. The Commonwealth solution was too late in 1932, too late in 1972, and definitely too late in 2018.
The pound is more than a national currency it's also a symbol of British sovereignty. But the International Monetary Fund (IMF) doesn't measure the wealth of nations in terms of national currencies but in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), a unit of account based on a basket of currencies; the US Dollar, the Euro, the Chinese Renminbi, the Japanese Yen, and the British Pound. We may celebrate 'getting our country back' but the real decisions will continue to be made in Washington DC and Geneva. By leaving the EU and joining the WTO, we are simply exchanging one bureaucracy for another.
It's sad to hear accusations of treason levelled against innocent people. William Joyce was technically a traitor because he broadcasted for the enemy in time of war. He helped the British Army in Ireland as a boy, and he campaigned for patriotic causes as a young man, but he made the fatal mistake of going to Germany in 1939. Here is his statement.
I take this opportunity of making a preliminary statement concerning the motives which led me to come to Germany and to broadcast to Britain over the German radio service. I was actuated not by the desire for personal gain, material or otherwise, but solely by political conviction. I was brought up as an extreme Conservative with strong imperialist ideas, but very early in my career, namely in 1923, became attracted to fascism and subsequently to National Socialism. Between the years 1923 and 1939 I pursued vigorous political activities in England, at times as a Conservative but mainly as a Fascist or National Socialist. In the period immediately before this war began I was profoundly discontented with the policies pursued by British governments, first because I felt they would lead to the eventual disruption of the British Empire, and secondly because I thought the existing economic system entirely inadequate for the needs of the times. I was greatly impressed by the constructive work which Hitler had done for Germany and was of the opinion that throughout Europe as also in Britain there must come a reform on the lines of National Socialist doctrine, although I did not suppose that every aspect of National Socialism as advocated in Germany would be accepted by the British people.
One of my dominant beliefs was that a war between Britain and Germany would be a tragedy and the effects of which Britain and the British Empire would not survive, and I considered that a grossly disproportionate influence was exerted on British policy by the Jews, who had their reasons for hating National Socialist Germany. When in August 1939, the final crisis emerged I felt that the question of Danzig offered no just cause for a world war. As by reason of my opinions I was not conscientiously disposed to fight for Britain against Germany. I decided to leave the country since I did not wish to play the part of a conscientious objector, and since I supposed that in Germany I should have the opportunity to express and propagate views the expression of which would be forbidden in Britain in time of war. Realizing, however, that at this critical juncture I had declined to serve Britain, I drew the logical conclusion that I should have no moral right to return to that country of my own free will and that it would be best to apply for German citizenship and make my permanent home in Germany. Nevertheless, it remained my undeviating purpose to attempt as best I could to bring about a reconciliation or at least an understanding between the two countries. After Russia and the United States had entered the war such an agreement appeared to be no less desirable than before for, although it seemed probable that with these powerful allies Britain would succeed in defeating Germany, I considered that the price which would ultimately have to be paid for this help would be far higher than the price involved in a settlement with Germany.
This belief was strengthened from month to month as the power of Russia grew, and during the later stages of the war I became certain that Britain, even though capable of gaining a military triumph over the Germans, would in that event be confronted with a situation far more dangerous and complicated than that which existed in August 1939; and thus until the very last moment I clung to my hope of an Anglo-German understanding, although I could see that the prospects thereof were small. I know that I have been denounced as a traitor and I resent the accusation as I conceived myself to be guilty of no underhand or deceitful act against Britain, although I am also able to understand the resentment that my broadcasts have in many quarters. Whatever opinion may be formed at the present time with regard to my conduct, I submit that the final judgement cannot be properly passed until it is seen whether Britain can win the peace. Finally, I should like to stress the fact that in coming to Germany and in working for the German radio system my wife was powerfully influenced by me. She protests to the contrary but I am sure that if I had not taken this step, she would not have taken it either. This statement has been read over to me, and it is true. William Joyce May 31, 1945.
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