Daily Archives: June 13, 2014


Deadly Fiasco

The present problems of Iraq are 100% down to our murderous invasion and occupation. The idea that further western bombing will make things better is so deluded as to beggar belief.

I was surprised to find during my Burnes research that the imperialist powers of Britain and Russia were explicitly exploiting Sunni and Shia divisions to further their conquests of Islamic lands as early as the 1830’s. This has been the major tool of the neo-con Middle Eastern gameplan for some time, spreading disunity and crippling war throughout the Middle East, with the hope that this will benefit the interests of Israel.

The peculiar result has been that in general the West is very actively supporting Sunni armies and miscellaneous forces, but in Iraq is supporting the Shia. ISIS – which is heavily backed by the Saudis, who hate al-Maliki – brings this paradox into sharp relief. The current US and UK strategy is to persuade Saudi Arabia to get ISIS to reconcentrate their efforts against Assad, on the understanding they will be allowed to keep the Sunni areas of Iraq (the old neo-con plan of dividing Iraq is firmly back on the agenda).

The BBC News this morning said that ISIS would not be capable of using the billions of dollars of sophisticated western armaments they have captured. I think you will find the Saudis remedy that one quite quickly. It is quite possible we will see some token airstrikes to kill civilians in Mosul, in order to appease Obama’s domestic backers who are never happy if Americans aren’t killing enough people, but only after agreement has been reached with the Saudis that no serious harm will be done – except to the ordinary people neither Obama, the Saudis or al-Maliki care in the least about.

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Eastenders Threat to Scots

I am sitting now in Andalucia watching Andrew Neill on the Daily Politics. To do this will apparently be impossible in an independent Scotland.

The Guardian has just published its eighth article in three days pushing Gordon Brown’s views on independence. This one warns Scots they would not be able to watch the BBC after independence. Just as presumably I can’t be watching it in Andalucia, but am suffering some delusion. Apparently we won’t be allowed to read Harry Potter either.

This nonsense gives me the excuse I craved to link to this absolutely superb article from my friend Robin McAlpine of the Reid Foundation. I republish the start but do read it all through here.

Gordon Brown exists only in an intensive care unit manufactured for him by certain sections of the Scottish media. They keep him politically alive through regular injections of myth.

For example, a myth such as that he had a firm grip of the UK economy and knew what he was doing. Can we once and for all put this idea to bed? The UK economy was substantially weaker after Brown was finished than when he began. The decline in manufacturing (as a proportion of the overall economy) was actually three times faster under Brown than under Thatcher. It was this shift from skilled labour to a low-skill ‘post industrial’ labour market which caused the UK to end up as the second lowest paid economy among advanced economies. Brown was not a visionary but someone who adopted the opinions of whomever was the most powerful lobby (in his case the financial and equity industries – which did most to strip away the manufacturing economy). When there was a global economic shock (the US sub-prime mortgage fiasco) it affected countries in proportion to how robust their economy was. In Europe, Britain was in a gang with Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ireland (though none of those came out of the crisis anything like as heavily indebted as did the UK). We should have been in the gang of Nordic and Germanic economies which were only mildly affected – or even in a middle category with France and Holland that suffered a bit but not catastrophically.

The profile of the UK economy was less balanced, less productive, lower-paid and much less resilient when Brown was finished than when he began. That is on him

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