Monday, 9 May 2016

European Outlook # 30, June 2016

Us and Them

After the Second World War the class system in the UK began to break down. In 1970 Edward Heath, the son of a builder and a pupil of the local grammar school, became prime minister. He was followed by a succession of middle class people who made it to the top; Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher, and John Major. It seemed that things were changing for the better but now, under Dave Cameron, we have gone back to being ruled by upper class millionaires who know nothing about ordinary people.

                                    Oswald Mosley

Some aristocrats had a social conscience. Oswald Mosley was tipped to be prime minister but he resigned from the Labour Government in 1931 when it refused to adopt his proposals to cure unemployment. Harold Macmillan, like Mosley, had fought in the trenches of the First World War and understood working people. But Dave Cameron and his chums have no such affinity. They have been forced to drop changes to tax credits, disability benefits, and academy schools because of their ignorance of public opinion. They tried to go too far too soon.

The class system was eroded by generations of social engineering but the aristocracy survived taxation and death duties and has now been reinforced with pop stars, footballers, pornographers, drug dealers, financiers and property speculators.

In days of old our lords and masters were expected to raise regiments and lead us into battle but the present lot are under no such obligation. They still have their private armies but nowadays the pikes and muskets of their hired thugs have been replaced with the smartphones and tablets of their sharp-suited accountants and lawyers.

The recent Panama disclosures confirm that we are not "all in this together". Working people have to pay their taxes but the rich hide their money in overseas accounts. Our society is profoundly unequal and getting worse.

Major Tim Peake

Photo European Space Agency

Helen Sharman became the first British astronaut when she served aboard the Soviet Mir Space Station in 1991. NASA astronaut Michael Foale was born in Britain, but Major Tim Peake is the first Briton to serve on the International Space Station as a European Space Agency astronaut. He is due to return to Earth on June 18. 

We have long been at the forefront of scientific achievement but we can't afford an independent space program and it's vital that we contribute to the ESA and pan-European projects such as Airbus and Eurofighter - all of which would be threatened by our withdrawal from Europe.

A long list of British inventions have been sold to America for want of development capital. We pioneered television, radar, the jet engine, vertical take-off aircraft and many other scientific achievements only to see them sent abroad. We spent so much money on the Blue Streak rocket program that we were forced to abandon it and buy American missiles; first Skybolt, then Polaris and now Trident.

The Tory Party has sold its soul to McDonnell Douglas, the makers of Trident, but thousands of British jobs depend on our participation in joint European aerospace projects. Major Tim Peake's brave contribution to scientific research is the living proof of our commitment to Europe.

Spies and Traitors

Patriotic parties have always been infiltrated with spies and traitors. The pre-war movements collaborated with the State until it turned on them in 1940. They have been more careful since the war but according to Joe Owens the police have informers in all of them.

Bernard O'Mahoney states in his book Hateland that anti-fascist groups have no trouble recruiting discontented nationalists. So it's likely that the police and the anti-fascists have got every group covered.

A meeting of the Communist Party in America during the fifties was famously abandoned when it was realized that everybody there was a government agent. And a recent case against the NDP in Germany was thrown out when those accused of promoting racial hatred were unmasked as security policeman.

Ray Hill was an active nationalist who split British Movement in 1982. He stood as the BNP candidate for Leicester in the 1983 general election where he got 469 votes. But in his 1988 book The Other Face of Terror he boasted of his career as an agent provocateur and general nuisance.

British nationalist leaders are routinely accused of being  enemy agents, especially when their parties collapse following disappointing election results. Some of them might be guilty but we should remember that Adolf Hitler was assigned to military intelligence when he joined the German Workers' Party - the rest, as they say, is history.

What Can We Do?

British nationalist candidates did badly at local elections throughout the country. They didn't beat the record set by Commander Bill Boaks who got 5 votes standing as an Air, Road, Public Safety, White Resident in the March 1982 Glasgow Hillhead by-election; but they came close and they will now have to reconsider their tactics and policies.

Mosley's Union Movement in the fifties and sixties and the National Front in the seventies were forced to use marches and demonstrations because they were refused access to meeting halls and denied press coverage. But street politics has had its day and modern methods of communication are called for.

Union Movement marching along Dalston High Street in 1952

We are not living in the sort of revolutionary times that gave rise to the March on Rome or the election of the National Socialists to power in Germany. We haven't got millions of unemployed ex-servicemen looking for a leader. But things are not as good as the Tories would have us believe. Our economic recovery depends on cheap labour and government borrowing. Chancellor George Osborne is trying to balance the annual budget by 2020 but the overall national debt is £1.56 trillion, which costs us £43 billion a year in interest payments.

Populists parties are gaining representation throughout Europe as a result of mass migration but most of them have no idea of how to run a country.

Tony Blair realized that nationalization was making the Labour Party unelectable, so he dumped Clause Four and won the next three general elections in a row. If we want to succeed we must be just as ruthless. Marches, drums and banners will have to go, and so will long-winded articles on genetics and conspiracy theory that serve no purpose except to turn off the general public who are worried about their jobs and mortgages. 

China, Japan and the Gulf States now dominate global investment. The Jews are still influential and the Israeli occupation of Palestine is a brutal reality, but we cannot blame them for everything.

We need a party that respects race and nationality without being obsessive. We need a leader blessed with courage, charisma, intelligence and plenty of money. But first we must educate the public who are so confused by liberal propaganda that they are frightened of being British.

Law and Order

Home Secretary Therese May has been prevented from deporting terrorist suspects to Algeria by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission. This decision is being used by the popular press in their campaign against the EU. But they should be asking why we let these people into the country in the first place. We would risk our seat on the United Nations Security Council if we reneged on our international obligations. The usual suspects would celebrate our dismissal from the UN, Nato, and the EU but an island nation with an immigrant-swollen population of 64.1 millions needs to trade and communicate with the world.

Sovereign parliaments are no guarantee of democracy. Every tin-pot dictatorship has got a parliament but only an independent court can protect us against tyranny. This principle was suspended during World War Two when thousands of men and women were detained under Regulation 18B. And again during the troubles in Northern Ireland when detention without trial was used. 
                               European Court of Justice

The courts only uphold laws that are passed by politicians. If our government has got a problem with European legislation they should instruct our people in Brussels to do something about it. Jonathan Hill is our Commissioner, David Lidington is our Minister and we are represented by 73 MEPs. Admittedly, 22 of them are Ukip MEPs who seldom turn up and take very little interest, but that's the fault of the British electorate not the EU.

The xenophobic Tories and their allies should consider the consequences of their policies. Their distrust of foreigners could reduce our nation to a pariah state subsisting on the edge of Europe without friends or trading partners. Their North Korean mentality has no place in the modern world.

Global Capitalism

Every political system has been tried over the years from absolute monarchy to representative government. They all have their pros and cons but most people would prefer to live under a democratic system. A peasant in the good old days was probably happy enough unless he was drafted into the King's army or sold into slavery for being behind with the rent. A citizen of Nazi Germany was glad to have bread on the table after the Great Depression, unless he happened to be a Jew or a Communist. And a Soviet worker was better off under Comrade Stalin; unless he upset him.
The rich can survive under any political system but the poor are not so fortunate. Attempts to redistribute wealth were made by the command economy of the Soviet Union and by market forces in the West but both systems fell victim to greed and corruption. Governments of every persuasion are manipulated by big business but the rise of the Internet and a worldwide dissatisfaction with politics offers some hope for the future.

We cannot allow our industries to be wiped out by unfair competition but before we start erecting tariff walls we should remember that armies cross frontiers that are closed to trade. That's why we need international bodies such as the European Union and the World Trade Organization to stop nations from settling their disputes on the battlefield.

Talks are being held between the EU and the USA on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and between the Asian nations and the USA on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It's hoped that these talks will stimulate world trade and revive a flagging global economy. But whatever happens Britain must be engaged. Neoliberalism will eventually be replaced by geo-political self-sufficiency but until such time we need to keep talking and take an active part in world affairs. 

Five Questions Answered

Followers and contributors to Nation Revisited and European Outlook were asked five questions;

Who are you? – What do you believe? – If you could direct government policy what would you do? – What are you proud of and what do you regret? – How would you like to be remembered.

The following people have replied:

John Bean – NR #76, Feb 2011
Robert Edwards – NR # 77, Mar 2011
Bill Baillie – NR # 78, April 2011
Michael Woodbridge – NR # 96, Sept 2012
Eddy Morrison – NR # 97, Nov 2012
Robert Best – NR # 98, Dec 2012
Arlette Baldacchino – NR # 99, Jan 2013
Alexander Morana – NR # 100, Feb 2013
Rufus – NR # 101, Mar 2013
Pete Williamson – NR # 103, May 2013

Claire Khaw – NR # 106, Aug 2013
Jane Edwards – NR # 107, Sept 2013
Vic Sarson – NR # 109, Nov 2013
Jez Turner – EO # 13, Jan 2015

To read these replies go to the relevant blog and use the archive feature. Readers are welcome to submit their answers, not just leaders and writers but anyone with something to say. Please send your replies to -

A European Army

Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, has called for the creation of a European army. He said that getting member states to combine militarily would make spending more efficient and encourage European integration. This was immediately rejected by a British government spokesman who said that there was "no prospect of the UK agreeing to the creation of an EU army." He was followed by a succession of furious objectors. Ukip MP Douglas Carswell said: "Why would we hand over our defence to the EU, which cannot even properly manage its currency, the euro? The only way to guarantee we stay out of this EU army is to vote Leave."

Meanwhile, a report by the Royal United Services Institute has warned that thousands of soldiers, sailors and airmen will face the axe in the next parliament regardless of which party wins the general election. Rusi said that it was inevitable that Britain's defence spending would drop below the Nato target of 2% of GDP in the face of continuing austerity cuts and warned that the heaviest cuts would leave the armed forces with a combined strength of just 115,000 by the end of the decade. Even if defence spending is given the same level of protection being promised to health and schools, it said the forces are still likely to shed 15,000 personnel during the next parliament.

Few people outside of military circles appreciate the extent to which the British armed forces are integrated with our allies. The Anglo-French Defence Agreement of 2010 signed by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian provides for a Combined Joint Expeditionary Force capable of carrying out co-ordinated military operations.

Nato is 70% funded by the United States but Donald Trump has promised to quit the alliance if he becomes President, and the American public is becoming increasingly isolationist following a series of failed military interventions in the Middle East. Nato without America would be a European army.

If the major states of the EU each contributed 100,000 servicemen we would have an army of a million men and a formidable navy and air force. It will be difficult for those still fighting the last war to get their heads round this proposal but economic necessity will make it happen, and our soldiers, who are used to Nato exercises, will hardly notice the difference. They stormed the Normandy Beaches under American command, invaded Egypt in 1956 together with the French, and fought in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of an international coalition. There's nothing new about our armed forces serving with their allies.

The Referendum

This blog doesn't usually encourage voting but we will make an exception for the European Referendum. It would not be the end of the world if we quit the EU but it would be an unnecessary dislocation of the economy and a dangerous concession to petty nationalism.

In or out of the EU we would still be part of a global capitalist system that ships goods and people around the world to make a profit. Inside of the EU we have some social protection but outside, and under a Tory government, we would find ourselves back in the Dark Ages.

We have heard all the arguments for and against but the real question is whether we feel European or not? Those of us who do will vote to remain but those who reject Europe will vote to leave.

The personalities involved are evenly matched. The quitters are led by Boris Johnson and the stayers are led by his old school chum Dave Cameron. So whatever happens, we are guaranteed to have a prime minister sprung from the loins of the nobility and nurtured on the playing fields of Eton. God help us.

Nation Revisited

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