Going Mainstream 103


For a decade, this blog has argued that democracy in the UK is dysfunctional because an entrenched party system offers no real choice. The major parties offer political programmes which are virtually indistinguishable. As I put it in lectures, if the range of possible political programmes were placed on a linear scale from 1 to 100, the Labour and Conservative parties offer you the choice between 81 and 84.

This exclusion of political possibility is reinforced by a corporate media structure, led by the BBC, in which ideas outside the narrow band of establishment consensus are ridiculed and denigrated. Therefore even political ideas which have the consistent support of the majority of the population, such as nationalisation of railways and other natural monopolies including utilities, simply cannot get an airing. Of all the broadcast coverage of the Iraq War, less than 3% gave time to anti-war voices, despite a majority opinion against the war.

This phenomenon explains why a large majority of both Conservative and Labour MPs are members of the Friends of Israel when public opinion consistently sympathises more with Palestine. It also explains the quite extraordinary media onslaught against Scottish independence.

I pointed out that Nicola Sturgeon’s appearance in the TV leadership debates was the first major airing of an anti-Trident argument on broadcast media in England for a decade. Actually hearing anti-austerity arguments led to a huge surge in support for the SNP in England as well as Scotland.

Now Jeremy Corbyn, having obtained a platform where on occasion he has been able to have his views broadcast direct without media mediation, is experiencing a massive surge of support. Ed Miliband’s lasting achievement is that he managed to put the ordinary people who marched against the Iraq War in charge of the Labour Party, not the careerist Blairite committee manipulators. The result is stunning.

The sheer panic gripping the London elite now is hilarious to behold. Those on the favoured side of Britain’s enormous wealth gap are terrified by the idea that there may be a genuine electoral challenge to neo-liberalism, embodied in one of the main party structures. This is especially terrifying to those who became wealthy by hijacking the representation of the working class to the neo-liberal cause. The fundamental anti-democracy of the Blairites is plainly exposed, and the panic-driven hysterical hate-fest campaign against Corbyn by the Guardian would be unbelievable, if we hadn’t just seen exactly the same campaign by the same paper against the rejection of neo-liberalism in Scotland.

I think I am entitled to say I told you so. Many people appear shocked to have discovered the Guardian is so anti-left wing. I have been explaining this in detail for years. It is good to feel vindicated, and even better that the people I have repeatedly shared platforms with, like Jeremy and Mhairi, are suddenly able to have the genuinely popular case they make listened to. Do I feel a little left behind, personally? Probably, but I would claim to have contributed a little to the mood, and particularly my article on the manufactured myth that the left is unelectable has been extremely widely shared – by hundreds of thousands – in the social media storm that is propelling the Corbyn campaign.

There has been very little comment on the impact a Corbyn victory would have on the SNP. Indeed, despite being unbendingly unionist, the Scottish media have been unable to avoid representing by omission the fact that the Labour leadership contest is taking place almost entirely in another country with another political culture. But there is no doubt that a Corbyn-led Labour Party would be more attractive in Scotland than the Tory lite version, although the paucity of Labour’s Scottish leadership would be a constant factor. Much would depend on the wider question of how the careerists who make up most Labour MPs and MSPs would react to a Corbyn victory.

At Westminster, I can see no reason at all why Liz Kendall, Chuka Umunna and their like cannot simply cross the floor and become Tories. Cameron is astute enough to find junior ministerial positions for them and the Tory ranks would be elated enough to swallow it. But most of the careerists will look at their new constituency members and suddenly discover left wing principles. It will be less bloody than people expect.

In Scotland, a Corbyn victory will bring some swing back to Labour from the SNP, but most of the old Labour demographic have now set their hearts on independence. Should Corbyn actually look set to win a UK general election in 2020, that would very possibly dent the enthusiasm for independence at the margins. It would in no sense reduce my own desire for independence, but even I would feel it less urgent. A Corbyn led UK would not cause the same feeling of moral revulsion. All of which is a good argument for having the next referendum early.

Should Corbyn not win the Labour leadership, the effect will be opposite. The SNP will be boosted by the death of the last hope that the Labour Party might actually mean something again, rather than be a vehicle for soulless careerists spouting management-manual jargon. If Corbyn loses, the Labour Party in Scotland really might as well wind up. The cause of independence will be furthered.

So what do I want to happen? I want Jeremy to win, of course, deeply and sincerely. I am an internationalist and not a Machiavellian. I want the chance of a just society and an ethical foreign policy for England and Wales. Like me, Jeremy wants to see Ireland eventually united. I have never discussed Scottish independence with him, but I am quite sure his opposition is not of the Britnat imperialist variety.

You can be sure that the security services are heavily targeted on the Corbyn campaign. Allow me one last “I told you so”. I came in for much ridicule when I stated, from certain knowledge, that MI5 were targeted on Scottish Nationalists (I had actually been shown the tasking). This comes into the category of obvious truths which the media and political consensus seeks to deny. The ridicule even came from some within the SNP – which, like any other organisation deemed a threat to the UK, is itself penetrated by the security services. Well, now that truth has become mainstream too. I do not anticipate any apologies.


103 thoughts on “Going Mainstream

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  • lysias

    “Kakistocracy” (rule by the worst) is a more accurate term than “kakocracy” (rule by the bad). The superlative also corresponds to the inaccurate “aristocracy” (rule by the “best”).

  • lysias

    Ireland was a one-party state of the Parnell/Redmond nationalists in the years leading up to World War One, and, in the last years of World War One and the years immediately following, it was a one-party state of Sinn Fein. But Sinn Fein quickly split in two, and after that it was a two-party state, as is the natural condition of republics with a first-past-the-post rule.

    I imagine the same would happen in an independent or autonomous Scotland. Either Scottish Labour would revive, or the SNP would split in two.

  • Republicofscotland

    “All that’s changed since the referendum is that the price of oil dropped to half what the SNP White Paper promised us was the lowest it could go.”
    ___________________

    So what Scotland’s economy isn’t based on oil, oil is a bonus.

    By your logic, no country can be or should be independent unless it has a plentiful, supply of oil.

  • RobG

    Thanks Summerhead. I hope folks in the UK will be able to watch the programme via your link. Unfortunately I’m in France, and although your link loads, the programme won’t play!

  • Ben-Le Chanvre troumper

    Quaddafi or Khaddafi or Ghaddafi was just another egotist just like any other politician without controls like Parliament or
    congress, which controls lack a certain equality or democratic systemic protocols. Cue the international enabling of such behavior when it succors their interests and you have a dictator with some useful benefits for the Western interests.

    Now you have Mainstream politics.

  • bevin

    Chris Mullin was also, I believe, editor of Tribune which used to play an important role in keeping Labour’s left together. (Orwell had been literary editor there).
    As is obvious from the treatment meted out to Corbyn-not to mention the treatment meted out to students, the unemployed and other vulnerable sectors-it has to be taken as read that the Press and the media as a whole will be completely opposed to any challenges to the capitalist class’s agenda.
    It is no coincidence that the last remnant of Labour’s daily press- the Herald (Siegfried Sassoon had been literary editor there) which the TUC ended up buying-became The Sun and was then bought by Murdoch who promised that it would continue editorially to support Labour.
    The fatal error that the left made in the last third of the C20th was to fall into the error of believing that the synmpathy of left wing journalists in the media would ensure that Labour ideas and policies were decently treated. It was all part of the ‘mixed economy’ heresy, Labour’s own version of the End of History.
    Whether Corbyn wins or loses, the left has to invest in a good populist paper and accessible, interactive websites. Among the ideas that Labour should entertain for the future should be Community radio stations and web based TV networks. The left may not have any wealthy donors but it has amazing access to the brightest and most innovative technicians, writers, artists in society. Mobilising them to fight for the weak and rein in the rich would not be difficult, especially not in a society in which half of the young are condemned to debt peonage while those less blessed are left to the mercies of the labour market.

  • lysias

    Apologies if this has already been reported here, but I was unaware of this piece of news from Friday: ITV News: Lord Janner due to appear in court next month:

    Former Leicester MP Lord Greville Janner is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on 7 August in relation to allegations of historic child sexual abuse.

    Then, there is this from the Express & Star from today: Westminster paedophile ring claims: Campaigners closing in on truth, says Tom Watson MP
    Campaigners are getting ‘closer to the truth’ over allegations of a paedophile ring at the heart of Westminster, an MP has said.
    :

    If Tom Watson really said that, I suppose he is in a position to know.

  • Beth

    Craig—He may have been a nutter —I really don’t know enough to comment on that. But what about the other nutter who laughed after he was sodomised and murdered ? I believe she was welcomed at St Andrews University last year.

  • OldMark

    Black and Asian people make up a significant part of our population now, but this is in no way represented by the faces you see in the Houses of Parliament.

    Becky Cohen- that is a potentially explosive argument, particularly given your surname, and the fact that some demographic groups are seriously over represented in Parliament.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    Craig : “I met Gadaffi. A nutter.”

    How long did you meet him for, Craig? How many minutes of listening to a translator did you need to accurately assess his psychological state? I don’t know whether he was a nutter, and I doubt if you do either.

    The vast majority of his people benefited hugely from his leadership. Name another leader you can say that about.

  • mr impossible

    Craig

    You can be sure that the security services are heavily targeted on the Corbyn campaign

    What are they likely to be doing? Some insight would be helpful.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    And migrant workers don’t stay for long, they work a summer for example and go home.

    I’m guessing you don’t live in East Anglia, then. Or perhaps summer has been redefined.

  • Mary

    Well remembered Beth. Then in the HoC Alistair Burt recommended the same treatment for President Assad. Appalling.

    ‘Burt insisted the British government “knew exactly what would happen if there was not a strike against Assad over chemical weapons.” He goes on. “And the only thing that would deflect this man and this regime is if they fear they are going to end up in a storm drain with a bayonet up their backside. If they don’t fear that, they will go on killing as many people as they need to stay in power.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/dec/30/alistair-burt-anger-syria-westminster

    He was a FCO minister until October 2013 and is now a Health Minister. God help us.

  • Rose

    Bevin at 10.48 – thanks for that lucid summary and your optimism. The points you make in your last paragraph offer some practical ways in which things can be changed and I’m sure you’re right: our best hope lies in the bright energetic kids now hopefully waking up to the dismal state of affairs that people of my generation allowed to happen.
    All the benefits we enjoyed in the post war years are being denied to our grand children and I despair.
    It’s how to counteract the sludge they are bombarded with that bothers me; preaching at them doesn’t work, and none of them read like we did. My pathetic attempts to mock the crap they watch are met with good-natured perplexed shrugs and knowing winks over my head. Grrrr

  • salvavenia

    A most interesting point of view and true to the last letter, Craig; thank you.

    Two books might be of interest here and in the wider context of UK’s two party system, as so far as they tellingly disclose the machinations of power behind political events, even if the birth of the New World Order cabal took place in 1891 already:

    “Hidden History – The Secret Origins of the First World War” by Gerry Docherty and Jim MacGregor, Mainstream Publishing, London & Edingburgh, 2013;

    and

    “Conjuring Hitler – How Britain and America made the Third Reich” by Guido Giacomo Preparata, Pluto Press, 2005.

    Economic historian Guido Preparata demonstrates how the two World Wars essentially were traps designed by London-based central bankers to destroy Germany as a national entity. As one diplomat said in 1914, “the web was spun and Germany entered it like a great buzzing fly.” (24) Later, the Bank of England created the conditions for Nazism and “devoted herself to supporting financially the Nazis and subsequently arming them to the teeth with the prospect of manipulating them.” (xvi)”This game of Anglo American supremacy came at the cost of approximately 70 million lives (two world wars); a holocaust whose nature is beyond words. Both conflicts were willed and set off by Britain…. there is something far worse than Nazism, and that is the hubris of the Anglo-American fraternities, whose routine is to incite indigenous monsters to war, and steer the pandemonium to further their imperial aims.” (xix)

    As regarding the “Hidden History”, just the following might be said here. Usually, the causes of the First World War are ascribed to a terrible accident of alliances colliding with Balkan intrigues and ancient hatreds or German ambitions that got out of hand. However, this book forwards the startling claim that the war was planned by a clandestine elite group of powerful men in London who successfully deceived Parliament and the country. The authors draw the history of the group founded by Cecil Rhodes by American historian Carroll Quigley. The talk will discuss this in the context of how ruling elites have used deception to advance their interests over the centuries including today.

    One wants to understand British politics today, one should know about its respective past – especially being British.

    Best regards from Germany
    Salva

  • Ba'al Zevul

    My pathetic attempts to mock the crap they watch are met with good-natured perplexed shrugs and knowing winks over my head. Grrrr

    Perhaps you’d do better to endorse the prolefeed they are watching. With calculatedly uncool use of their impenetrable argot, and extravagant praise of anything you find particularly repellent. Good for the soul, and they’ll be outside building a treehouse within days.

  • Mary

    Libya trial: Gaddafi son sentenced to death over war crimes
    5 minutes ago

    A court in Libya has sentenced Col Muammar Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, and eight others to death over war crimes linked to the 2011 revolution.

    They were on trial along with dozens of other close associates of the deposed leader, accused of suppressing protests during the uprising.

    Saif al-Islam was not present in court and gave evidence via video link.

    He is being held by a former rebel group from the town of Zintan that refuses to release him.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-33688391

    ~~~

    Cameron and the NATO bombers go free. Yesterday Cameron was promising to have another go at Libya. He seems to be conducting UK state affairs from a great distance in the Far East.

  • Beth

    Mary 9.06 —- I didn’t know that but that is pure evil. We seem to live in an upside down world that as long as you dress and speak in a certain way (and you don’t look like an obvious nutter) you can literally get away with murder or inciting violence. And now they want to finish off that great country of Syria where Muslims , Jews and Christians lived side by side for so many years.

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