Breaking the Depleted Uranium Ceiling 176

It is an astonishing fact that, despite near universal recognition now that the war in Iraq was a disaster, no major British social institution is headed by a single one of the majority of the population wo were opposed to the war.

Every Cabinet Minister actively supported the war. Of the fifteen Tory MPs who rebelled and voted against the war, not one is a minister. Civil servants officially have no politics but privately their opinions are known. There is not one single Permanent Under Secretary of a UK government department who was known to be against the war and most were enthusiasts. Simon Fraser, PUS at the FCO, was an active Blairite enthusiast for the war. Though no Blairite, the Head of MI6 Alex Younger was also an enthusiast.

The BBC was of course gutted following its revealing of the truth about Iraqi WMD, and the subsequent murder of David Kelly. Following the ousting of Greg Dyke, both Governors and Directors-Generals have been known supporters of the war. Of the 107 bureaucrats in the BBC who earn over 100,000 pounds pa, insiders estimate that only five were opponents of the war. Craig Oliver – who has now left the BBC for Cameron’s media operation – and James Purnell are absolutely typical of the BBC Iraqocracy.

Every current editor of a UK national newspaper supported the Iraq war. At the time of the war there was one editor opposed – Piers Morgan – who subsequently became a derided and marginalised figure. Not only are the editors firmly from the neo-con alliance, but the high profile commentators who cheered on the war – David Aaronovich, Nick Cohen, Melanie Phillips, John Rentoul, Rod Liddle etc. – have all seen their careers flourish. None has suffered from their appalling lack of judgement. There is no similar raft of commentators who were against the war who enjoy such constant media promotion and massive salaries. Many, like Peter Oborne, have suffered unexpected career glitches. There is no head of a major TV channel in the UK who was against the war in Iraq.

The theme runs through all the public professions. Of the hundreds of academics who took firm positions against the Iraq War, I cannot find a single example who went on to become a University Vice-Chancellor or Principal. By contrast actual war criminals Richard Dearlove and Valerie Amos were parachuted into academic leadership posts. The Chiefs of Staff of the armed forces were all true believers, compared to the massive scepticism that existed among senior officers.

The Iraq test even extends into the heads of institutions apparently quite unrelated, such as City of London banks and insurance companies. There are a tiny number of heads of FTSE 100 companies who were against the war.

It is not that there is an Iraq test. It is that Iraq is the touchstone for adherence to the neo-liberal consensus. All these professionally successful people share a number of attitudes, of which support for the Iraq War is a good indicator. There is a very strong correlation between support for the Iraq War and fierce Zionism. But there is also a strong correlation between support for the Iraq War and support for austerity economics. The strongest correlation of all lies in support for the Iraq War and for “business-friendly” tolerance of corporatism, TTIP, multinational tax avoidance, low taxation and marketization of public services including in education and health.

To return to where I started, the quite extraordinary thing is that there is a near-universal recognition in wider society that the Iraq War was both completely unjustified and a dreadful strategic blunder. Yet its support is a major pre-condition for membership of the governing elite.

The answer of course lies in its value as an indicator for a broad range of neo-liberal consensus attitudes. That is why both the SNP and Jeremy Corbyn provide such a threat to the Establishment, through denying those attitudes. The fascinating thing is that the SNP and the Labour Party could be the only public institutions in the UK of any note with an anti-Iraq War leadership. The significance is that, in slightly different ways, both the prominence of the SNP and of Jeremy Corbyn are the result of a public revolt which the Establishment has been trying, absolutely desperately, to cut off.

Ed Miliband did not actually vote against the Iraq War, contrary to popular myth. Having both the Labour and SNP parties led by people who reject the raft of values symbolised by the Iraq test, who have broken through the depleted uranium ceiling, is a massive, massive threat to the meritlessocracy. Institutional control appeared to be complete and impermeable. Suddenly they face the danger of the opinions of ordinary people carrying weight. Expect the media control mechanisms to whir into still greater overdrive.

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176 thoughts on “Breaking the Depleted Uranium Ceiling

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  • jkick

    What if no one voted for Corbyn.

    What if Corbyn came out and said don’t vote for me,the only way you going to get rid of this corrupt society you are part of is if you get rid of the politicians.

    If there are no politicians there’s no one to corrupt.

    The way to get rid of politicians is by mass consensus.

    Craig mentioned the majority of the population who were opposed to the war, why cannot the same population consent to getting rid of politicians who are the only people capable of starting a war?

    No politicians means no wars.

  • Macky

    @Geoffrey, thanks for pointing out the odd exceptions, that do in fact actually confirm the general rule.

  • Daniel


    Can you really forsee the day when resistance to human implantation of RFID chips becomes illegal?

  • Mary

    David Wearing’s in-depth report for War on Want on the UK’s arming of Israel.


    Nearly there.

    Benjamin Netanyahu to be arrested for war crimes when he arrives in London

    Benjamin Netanyahu is to hold talks in London this September. Under international law he should be arrested for war crimes upon arrival in the U.K for the massacre of over 2000 civilians in 2014

    Sign this petition

    93,588 signatures

  • Daniel

    “Here’s an inverse exception, that does fit the general rule, but strangely seems to have been missed by Craig !”

    Perhaps he “missed it” because he thinks it’s bullshit but you’ll have to confirm it with him. The influence of the far-right, and their presence in the new government, dangerous though it is, does not mean Yanokovych was the victim of a “fascist coup”, as not simply Russian nationalists but many on the Western left claim.

    He fell because oligarchs—notably Rinat Akhmetov and Dmitry Firtash—who had been key backers of his Party of the Regions reacted to the popular mobilisation by withdrawing their support and instructing the deputies they controlled to vote for his removal by the Ukrainian parliament.

    The reaction of the Western left to this enormous crisis has been, to put it mildly, confused. Far too many (including some who should know better) have been willing to cast a blind eye at or find excuses for Russia’s military intervention.

    The reasons for this attitude are, in ascending order of respectability, Stalinist nostalgia, exaggeration of the role of the extreme right in the anti-Yanukovych movement, and the search for some counterweight to American power. The net result is a revival of what used to be called campism in the days of the Cold War—seeing states in conflict with the US and its allies (then the USSR, now usually Russia and China) as in some sense progressive allies of the left.

    Imperialism is about more than American power. As professor Alex Callinicos in his 2009 book ‘Imperialism and Global Political Economy’ put it:

    “The classical theory of imperialism is, more than anything else, a theory of intra-capitalist competition. Imperialism is a system, the form taken by capitalism when the concentration and centralisation of capital bring about the fusion of economic competition among capitals and geopolitical competition among states.”

    Putin’s actions express exactly this imperialist logic, combining geopolitical preoccupations (above all, blocking NATO expansion) with economic motivations fear that Russian firms will be squeezed out of the Ukrainian market by European rivals).

  • Mark Golding

    The biggest proponent of the Iraq war, co-founder of PNAC and Zionist emissary to Israel in planning the terrorist attacks on WTC, William Kristol, has condemned through his roving, witless mouthpiece Congressman Mike Pompeo, the Iran nuclear deal.

    Unwittingly Pompeo inspied by a Henry Jackson Society perspective moved away from the Cheney narrative by admitting the Iran deal was more about “..emboldening the mullahs and providing the regime with the means to up its support for Assad and terror proxies Hamas and Hezbollah.”

    Cheney will speak on Sept. 8 — just a week ahead of the Sept. 17 deadline for Congress to vote on the deal’s authorization.

    Kristol, Chairman of the Emergency Committee for Israel, is the exponent of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, known as the Corker-Cardin bill, a barren, contemptible attempt to block the Iranian deal.

  • Macky

    Daniel;”Perhaps he “missed it” because he thinks it’s bullshit but you’ll have to confirm it with him”

    Well at least somebody has step forward to argue for Craig’s pov !

    So it all just another big massive co-incidence that those most involved, and most eager to attack Russia, are the same NeoCons ghouls who supported attacking Iraq, support Israel, supported attacking Libya, support attacking Syria, and all the other well known Necon traits ?

    Here’s a little introduction iro Necons & Ukraine;

    But to address your comments;

    “does not mean Yanokovych was the victim of a “fascist coup”, as not simply Russian nationalists but many on the Western left claim.”

    How about CIA carefully fermented & planned Coup, with the essential involvement of Ukrainian Nazis ?

    “Russian nationalists” ? Oh dear, your loaded terminology betrays you, try simply “Russians”, and as for many on the West, how about these commie Lefties; the head of intelligence firm Stratfor, (who knows about such things), calling it “the most blatant coup in history”, or Henry Kissinger, or Peter Hicthens, etc, etc

    “The reaction of the Western left to this enormous crisis has been, to put it mildly, confused.”

    Hardly, Craig is the only non MSM type person swallowing & echoing the blatant anti-Russian propaganda.

    “Far too many (including some who should know better) have been willing to cast a blind eye at or find excuses for Russia’s military intervention.”

    Why does that sound exactly like the same argument that apologists for “Humanitarian Intervention” use; I recall Nick Cohen saying the identical thing about “Lefties casting a blind eye or finding excuses for (fill in current Western Bogeyman) monstrous crimes” ?

    All that other goofy stuff you wrote about Imperialism is simply of no irrelevance to the real politic bottom line, that NATO deliberately crossed Russia’s existential threat red line; all that has followed was a direct predictable result; period.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Great post, Craig. I totally agree with you.


    Incidentally, I also agree with Macky (8:00pm post) wrt Ukraine. I think that NATO (and the various permutations of USA/UK/France et al and their regional allies) has been THE major security problem for the world post-1991.

  • Mary

    Letter from President Obama to President Xi on the 70th Anniversary of the End of WWII

    An Anonymous Senior Official at the White House provided the following confidential letter to us.

    by John V. Walsh / September 2nd, 2015

    ‘Dear President Xi,

    On September 3, your country is hosting a commemoration of the end of World War II on the 70th Anniversary of the day recognized as its termination in the Asia-Pacific. You have invited both me and President Abe of Japan. We both have chosen to refuse – just as we refused to attend the earlier commemoration of the defeat of Fascism in Moscow last Spring.

    As you very well know, Jinping, if I may use your given name, this makes the United States look pretty mean spirited. And to put it plainly, your cooking up these events with Vlad pisses me off. The world knows that the Chinese and Russians made unparalleled sacrifices to defeat Nazism in the West and Japanese militarism in the East. The world knows that China suffered almost 20 million casualties and great atrocities exemplified by the Rape of Nanjing.

    And the world knows that close to 30 million Russians gave their lives in that struggle. The U.S., in contrast, lost 460,000 souls, and so it looks pretty shoddy when I do not show up to acknowledge your victory and the great debt we owe China and Russia since your loss of life minimized our own. It looks bad for us. But you know that, and you know it damned well.’


    Multiple 🙂 s

  • Mary

    Remember Jacqui Jackboots Smith, Home Secretary!

    BLiar babe, Iraq war supporter, expenses wangles, second home was her sister’s house, etc etc
    Consultant at KPMG 2010
    She became Chair of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust in December 2013.

    Latest Sky News Press Preview: Jacqui Smith on Corbyn: “Good MP’s like Simon Danczuk & Tristram Hunt are going to stay as MP’s if I have anything to do with it.”
    September 3, 2015

    Presented by Lorna Dunkley. Jacqui Smith is joined by LBC hack, Iain Dale.

    (don’t stop the video during the Blair discussion, it segues right into another rant against Corbyn)

  • Mark Golding


    No! How can you with zero brain power!

  • Njegos

    This is why it is so important that Corbyn is elected leader of the Labour Party.

    The millions of us who opposed the war in Iraq are effectively disenfranchised by the cosy cross-bench consensus. For years there has been no one to represent our opinion on the matter in mainstream Westminster politics. A disgrace that grows by the day in the light of the worsening situation in the Middle East.

    I am really getting quite excited at the imminent return of genuine adversarial debate in the House of Commons. To think that nearly an entire generation of British citizens have no experience of it…..

  • Denis Mollison

    Good article, but you might have mentioned that the main parliamentary opposition to the invasion of Iraq was the Liberal Democrats led by Charles Kennedy. Perhaps the present low ebb of the LDs is another consequence of opposition to the Ira War?

  • Macky

    @Denis Mollison, the ebb started to recede from the LDs the moment they did a 180 degree turn to support a b/s illegal war, simply because it was being fought by “our boys”.

  • Denis Mollison

    Assuming you’re referring still to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the LDs have never wavered in expressing the view that it was illegal. Expressing support for the rank and file of our armed forces – as done by politicians of all parties including the SNP – is not the same as supporting the war itself. You can take a purer moral line – I like to think that if I had been in the armed forces I would have resigned rather than join in this war – but still express sympathy and support for those who remain in our armed forces.

  • Roderick Russell

    Re comment KingOfWelshNoir 2 Sep, 2015 – 6:08 am — “ My worry is, the elite—who in the past had to treat the populace with a wary eye lest the mob turned up at the palace gates with their pitch forks—have acquired the technological means of control undreamed of in former times. The surveillance state obviously, but also advent of the cashless society is particularly sinister. It could become very difficult to be a member of the awkward squad—the sort who writes blog posts like this—if your bank card continually stops working.”

    A very good comment indeed. I would add that if one wants to live in a democracy one will have to get rid of MI5, MI6, GCHQ and all those other organizations that operate outside the law and sell themselves as security/intelligence organizations, but in reality also carry-out secret police functions. In the UK and also in Canada (CSIS) the only terrorism that I have encountered has come from these organizations. It is not possible for any country to have a secret police (operating above the law) and also be a democracy

  • Mary

    Correct Macky @ 7.50am yesterday. Another myth has been perpetuated.

    The LibDems did NOT oppose the war
    A Green Party press office briefing
    May 2004

    See 19 March 2003 onwards.

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