A Woodworm Off the Old Block 230


I used to discuss foreign affairs with Tony Benn over tea in his kitchen in Holland Park when I lived a short walk away. I get a mention in his later published diaries in this regard. I was therefore saddened to hear his son, Hilary, at Labour Party Conference today align himself with the establishment in a way much more in tune with their aristocratic ancestors.

Benn was sending out neo-con friendly signals like there was no tomorrow. The first came from the very start, when he paid unnecessary and fulsome tribute to the really horrible wee Dougie Alexander who had “served his constituents extremely well”. That really was a pathetic lie. Wee Dougie paid no attention whatsoever to his constituents and took them entirely for granted. Labour’s lack in Scotland of any foundation in the people was what made it so easy for us to topple the Labour monolith.

Benn went on to advocate the “Responsibility to Protect”, the Blairite code for supporting United States military and especially bombing missions abroad. The thesis that Western bombing improves and stabilises countries appears tested well beyond destruction, but the neo-cons stick with it because of the corporate interests it does so much to boost.

Benn disgracefully then called in the body of little Alayn in argument for bombing Syria. He even noted that Alayn had fled Kobani, which “the BBC had reported as almost completely destroyed”, without mentioning – as the BBC did not mention – that some of that destruction had been caused by repeated American bombings of Kobani.

I am sorry that Tony’s son turned out to be a vicious, warmongering, lying, neo-con bastard.


230 thoughts on “A Woodworm Off the Old Block

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  • Macky

    @Craig, How rather odd of you regarding Tony Benn, given your abject failure to even mention his passing away, nevermind pay tribute, as many of his political enemies did, to one of the greatest politicians of our times.

  • Sixer

    I’m sorry, too.

    I’m just watching from the sidelines at the moment. Hoping and praying that the Corbyn intent is not for a damaging mass purge but a slow and steady attrition of these people. Clive Lewis is waiting in the wings, with a junior ministerial job, and did a tour of Afghanistan as a reservist. Imagine: an anti-war veteran at Defence or the FO.

    I think we have to stick with Corbyn for at least a year, while he rebalances a PLP that has nothing at all in common with its party membership.

  • Laguerre

    “that some of that destruction had been caused by repeated American bombings of Kobani.”

    You mean, nearly all of it. The town is pretty much destroyed. Nobody else had heavy weapons.

    But yeah, I quite agree about Hilary Benn. Tony must be turning in his grave.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Not sure that Tony Benn would agree with Craig.

    Remember when reporter Susan Crosland, wife of Anthony, wrote that candid account of Tony which he took such offense to that he forced her not to publish it.

    Perhaps he could have stopped this thread if you could have vetted it with him first.

  • Republicofscotland

    “I am sorry that Tony’s son turned out to be a vicious, warmongering, lying, neo-con bastard.”
    ___________________

    It’s not your fault Craig, the Red Tories are full of such people, especially in Scotland.

    Mind you the lies Jeremy Corbyn came out with yesterday, on Calmac, the privatisation of the railways and a few other matters, was to say the least, very disappointing.

    Even Corbyn’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, and his pledge, a Tory pledge for that matter, to wipe out the budget deficit before 2020, will only cause intense suffering for the poor, sick and disabled.

    London Labour in Scotland are effectively clueless, listening to Kezia Dugdales speech at the Red Tory conference, confirmed this, by her mutterjngs of reforming the Labour party branch office in Scotland. A farcical statement from a lowly branch manager.

    Earlier hearing Scottish shadow secretary Ian Murray laugh and joke about being the last man standing, as though it was some kind of badge of honour, only rammed home to me and probably others as well that Labour’s branch office in Scotland is occupied by idiots.

  • craig Post author

    T H Ford

    I am quite sure Tony would not approve of this article. He was very proud of his son, as is normal. I did not intend to imply otherwise.

  • Republicofscotland

    Labour has taken a small step closer to backing airstrikes in Syria, but only as part of a wider, UN-sanctioned diplomatic and humanitarian package.

    The shadow foreign secretary, Hilary Benn, who has been battling to maintain party unity on the issue of airstrikes, told the party conference on Monday that the party would support effective action in Syria, while ruling out backing UK troops on the ground.

    John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor and a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, has suggested Labour MPs may be a given a free vote if Cameron brings a fresh motion to the Commons supporting airstrikes in Syria alongside those in Iraq.

    Looks like they’ll be more blood on the hands of the Red Tories, you’d thought that they’d have learned their lesson from the carnage in Iraq.

    Boots on the ground generally follow airstrikes.

  • Salford Lad

    From the Guardian;
    ‘McDonnell, the new shadow Chancellor, will tell the Labour conference that Britain must always live within its means as he announces that the party will vote in favour of a new fiscal charter proposed by George Osborne.’
    Have we been sold out already.?

    Another clueless ,economic illiterate.
    An economy is not a housewifes kitchen budget. It requires investment stimulation. THe banks do not fulfil that requirement .It is up to the GOVT via the Treasury to provide that fiscal jumpstart by creating that money.

    A Sovereign state ,with the ability to create its own currency issue and invest in PRODUCTIVE INDUSTRY, CAN CREATE 100% employment. Fiscal deficits are irrelevant as in Modern Monetary Theory.

  • Sixer

    I confess, as an Englishwoman, I am somewhat disconcerted at the way both JC and JMcD have come out as so combative with the SNP. I understand they want to build Labour back up in Scotland but I would have thought aim would be better served by anti-austerity working partnerships. SIGH.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    I am sorry that Tony’s son turned out to be a vicious, warmongering, lying, neo-con bastard.

    “Professional politician” might be somewhat closer to the mark. And I don’t see Syria as being at all a straightforward issue. What, in your view, would a saintly and idealised Benn advocate presented with the current situation? I’m genuinely asking.

    The obvious way of defeating IS is to ally with Russia, Assad, and anyone else interested, and conduct a ground invasion of the territory they hold. Remote-control bombing won’t do it. Attrition doesn’t just affect IS, and negotiation is not possible – their choice, read the mission statement.

    Alternatively, the Republicans win the next US election and the Yanks steam in on their own (without a plan for what happens next, as usual)

    Taking the moral high ground, let’s say, the UK elects to stay out of it (its contribution may be high-quality or not, but is negligible in terms of firepower). Where does that leave us, other than a long way down the list of people getting favourable terms on Kurdish/Iraqi oil? And is that the moral high ground, anyway? We certainly helped to break it – shouldn’t we help fix it?

    My answer to all the above is damned if I know. But I’m in no position to damn Benn for being damned if he knows too.

  • Republicofscotland

    “A Sovereign state ,with the ability to create its own currency issue and invest in PRODUCTIVE INDUSTRY, CAN CREATE 100% employment. Fiscal deficits are irrelevant as in Modern Monetary Theory.”
    _________________

    Salford Lad, why would the Westminster government do that, create 100% employment, when it’s far easier to have a 2 million standing army of unemployed people to help keep, wages low, and thus create more profits for their wealthy business buddies.

    Infact the Westminster government has gone one step further and allowed big business, to roll out a low wage economy around the UK, combine this with Zero-Hour and the attempt to undermine union rights, and you have the perfect workforce.

    Poorly paid, always on standby and with no significant working rights….Third World here we come.

  • eddie-g

    Off topic, apologies, but I think this is important. The Red Tories are going to use this to go hard after Corbyn.

    In Craig’s excellent post last week on Putin + Assad + Other Issues, I wrote in response:

    “One issue that will at some point come up is whether People’s QE compromises Central Bank independence. The Pearl-clutchers are going to go bezerk on this, so you can be sure they are wrong.

    Firstly, central bank independence, when in a liquidity trap, is a problem. A politically motivated central bank actually helps. At all other times, I’d prefer a neutral central bank focused on price stability. But not at the zero-bound. And secondly, the PM already has the right to appoint the governor of the Bank. There’s already a political nexus, Corbyn wouldn’t be changing anything by appointing a guy who’s on the same page as him.”

    I can report today, right on schedule, the Guardian opined that, “Corbyn’s QE for the people jeopardises the Bank of England’s independence”.

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/economics-blog/2015/sep/22/jeremy-corbyn-qe-for-the-people-jeopardises-bank-of-england-independence

    Serious sounding people are going to hammer away on this topic, they are going to be treated as if they possess sound wisdom, so here’s a start on beating them back. Central bank independence is to an extent fictional, and not without its drawbacks. People who argue otherwise are either ignorant of these realities, or are trying to mislead.

    Don’t let them.

  • fedup

    Sad that the so called “representatives” are in fact representing their sponsors interests with corporate profits in mind. Even sadder, the fact that we the people despite the blatant betrayal of theses corporate vassals, time and again, force ourselves into the mindset that they may have a change of heart and serve our interests instead.

    One and one quarter of a trillion pounds debt, and the only ones tightening the belts are the poor here in UK, and dispossessed in the far lands. That is whilst the super rich are getting served better by a more favorable taxation rates and are paying less tax than ever before.

    Hilary Benn seems to have not inherited the compassion gene from his father. The “responsibility to protect” is the dog whistle for the benefit of the many layers of spongers from we the people taxation. These easy to access funds for the super rich, are earned by stooping as low as taxing the poor for their extra bedroom, and sanctioning the many out of job unemployed or the sick. All the while the interest payments on the one and one quarter of trillion pounds is going unnoticed by all and sundry in the leadership tear, whilst the same bunch of carpet baggers are busy fomenting more wars, and repealing all the laws that protected we the people from the city sharks, all the while blaming the immigrants for all the ills imaginable.

  • Habbbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)

    “I am sorry that Tony’s son turned out to be a vicious, warmongering, lying, neo-con bastard”
    _________________

    A trifle harsh, surely, Craig?

    Personally I’m more attracted to “champagne socialist”

  • fred

    “I confess, as an Englishwoman, I am somewhat disconcerted at the way both JC and JMcD have come out as so combative with the SNP. I understand they want to build Labour back up in Scotland but I would have thought aim would be better served by anti-austerity working partnerships. SIGH.”

    Their point is that SNP policies aren’t actually anti austerity and are likely to increase austerity rather than reduce it. They are populist policies designed to get votes.

    From what I heard on the radio this morning Labour policies aren’t much better, they both rely on the expanding pie principle when economies are more like balloons than pies, you can expand them so far then they burst.

  • Habbbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)

    Macky

    “@Craig, How rather odd of you regarding Tony Benn, given your abject failure to even mention his passing away, nevermind pay tribute”
    _________________

    Pretty feeble, Macky, even by your confused standards. By the way, did you pay tribute (on here or elsewhere) to Hugo Chavez when he passed away?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Corbyn’s QE for the people jeopardises the Bank of England’s independence…

    Globalist-speak for “Corbyn’s QE for the people jeopardises my ability to screw them at every turn.”

    The BoE’s independence only dates from 2000.
    The main remit of the BoE is to maintain financial stability. In the wake of its utter failure to do so in 2008, we now have stable stagnation.

    The BoE’s loss of independence (to maintain the notional value of actually valueless financial products and assets) would be a small price to pay for an honest financial culture.

  • fred

    “A Sovereign state ,with the ability to create its own currency issue and invest in PRODUCTIVE INDUSTRY, CAN CREATE 100% employment. Fiscal deficits are irrelevant as in Modern Monetary Theory.”

    Moderate fiscal deficits are irrelevant but once they get past a certain point servicing the debt becomes unrealistic.

  • Habbbabkuk (scourge of the Original Trolls)

    The disllusionment with Hilary Benn perhaps make this an appropriate moment to repert a favorite saying of mine.

    I refer of course to “Do not go a-whorin’ after false gods”.

    I await with interest the course Mr Corbyn will follow in the couple of years to come.

    And, because I believe that the next general election should be a contest between radically opposing views of society so as to give the electorate a clear choice, I hope Mr Corbyn will not become a British Mr Tsipras.

  • Sixer

    Fred 3:35 pm

    Even so, Fred, I don’t think tribalism is a productive (or appropriate) strategy at the moment. They have enough intra-party tribalism to deal with.

  • Ben-Hemp Rules

    What can be done about the Neocons? We complain about taxes and the half-measures of changing legislative reps, but we appear to be flaccidly and flailingly flinging our cocks around as though raising our skirts to the enemy has tactical advantages. They always have the last laugh like Longshanks.

  • fred

    “Even so, Fred, I don’t think tribalism is a productive (or appropriate) strategy at the moment. They have enough intra-party tribalism to deal with.”

    I don’t think tribalism comes into it, Corbyn wants to put labour into a position where they can win the next election and to do that he has to beat the SNP in Scotland.

  • Republicofscotland

    “I don’t think tribalism comes into it, Corbyn wants to put labour into a position where they can win the next election and to do that he has to beat the SNP in Scotland.”
    ____________________

    You mean London Labour in Scotland don’t you? No such political party, named Scottish Labour exists.

    The Red Tories are so divided on a number of issues, that they’ll rip themselves apart long before any GE.

    Corbyn and McDonnell are desperate men telling desperate lies to try and influence voters in Scotland to come back to the Red Tory party, that’s why the old SNP BAD rhetoric is back on the Red Tory agenda.

  • eddie-g

    “The main remit of the BoE is to maintain financial stability.”

    It is one of the prime responsibilities now.

    But back in 2008, its main remit was price stability (i.e. inflation targeting), and reasonable people can argue how good they were at it.

    But Corbyn’s plan would, not to my eye, actually change the degree of independence the Bank has (or does not).

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